Reba McEntire Reflects on Tragic Plane Crash That Killed 8 of Her Band Members

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Nearly 20 years after losing eight of her band members to a plane crash, Reba McEntire is opening up. And she admits that the tragedy was almost too much for her to bear.

The accident took place on March 16 1991 following a concert in San Diego, CA. Reba’s tour manager and seven of her bandmates flew out ahead of her own scheduled departure. And poor visibility near Otay Mountain caused the plane to go down. Everyone aboard, including the pilot and co-pilot, died.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to continue,” Reba shared in an interview with PEOPLE. “But it showed me how precious life is. And by the grace of God and my faith, I realized that they went on to a better place.”

The Fancy singer, who carries a strong Christian faith, said she “never blamed God” for the accident. However, she still struggles to understand the situation and she has “questions” when she gets to the pearly gates.

But in retrospect, the great loss has taught her to appreciate life and the people she loves while she’s still on Earth.

“From that, I learned that you need to take it one day at a time and be very grateful for the things that you have,” she added. “Tell folks in your life how much you love and appreciate them.”

While Reba McEntire considered leaving her music career behind, she inevitably used her voice to process her grief. Immediately following the crash, the Grammy winner got to work on her album For My Broken Heart. And only eight months after the crash, Reba released the 10-track record. And it still stands as her highest-selling today.

Reba McEntire Said Starring in ‘The Gambler Returns’ ‘Saved’ Her Sanity

After pouring her emotions into her music, the singer starred with her friend and fellow country music star Kenny Rogers in The Gambler Returns. And she added that filming the movie “saved” her “sanity.”

Interestingly, that same film also helped her find happiness in the current day. Though, at the time, she had no idea.

It was on that set that she first met her now-boyfriend, Rex Linn. At the time, she was newly married to Narvel Blackstock, whom she divorced in 2015. So, when production wrapped up, she lost touch with the Rush Hour star. However, they met once again in 2020.

“I shot an appearance on the TV show Young Sheldon, which he is on,” she shared. “He said, ‘Let’s have dinner when you get through.’ And I said, ‘OK!’ He made me laugh my butt off on our first date, which we didn’t even know was a date.”

Reba McEntire and Rex Linn went on to weather COVID lockdowns together and come out even closer because of it. And today, they’re starring as husband and wife in Big Sky.

“He’s the love of my life,” she admitted. “We’re a wonderful team.”