Rex Linn, Reba McEntire; Photo Courtesy of Instagram
Rex Linn, Reba McEntire; Photo Courtesy of Instagram

Reba McEntire On Boyfriend Rex Linn: “He’s The Love Of My Life… We’re Pretty Much Inseparable”

Some people might say building a friendship before dating is more beneficial to the success of a romance. For Reba McEntire’s relationship, that could very well ring true. The country music icon has been dating actor Rex Linn for over three years, and the pair are still inseparable!

But, long before revealing their boyfriend and girlfriend status, McEntire says she and Linn took things slow and bonded on an emotional level before becoming intimate with each other.

McEntire, who will be featured in an upcoming issue of PEOPLE, caught up with the publication to talk about her relationship with Linn. She told the outlet the two have known each other through various projects they worked on since the ‘90s. But they never took things to the next level until they truly understood each other’s personalities, quirks, and ticks, which – in turn – brought them closer together.

“I’d known Rex since ’91, when we worked on the movie The Gambler Returns with Kenny Rogers,” McEntire says. “Then, in January 2020, I saw him again when I shot an appearance on the TV show Young Sheldon, which he is on. 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.”

Even though McEntire, 67, and Linn, 65, had a chance to spend time with each other in person – and ultimately developed a spark during their reunion – the World Health Crisis of 2020 forced people everywhere – including McEntire and Linn – to keep a distance.

After having developed a strong connection, not only were the two unable to isolate themselves together, but they also weren’t in the same city. They spent the early part of 2020 living in separate states.

“He was in Los Angeles, and I was in Oklahoma because my Mama had just died,” the three-time Grammy winner shared, adding that the two needed to get creative with their meet-ups. “We didn’t get to see each other from March to June, but we’d talk over Zoom and FaceTime four to five times each day. We created a bond and an intimacy that was getting to know each other without being physical.”

McEntire now calls Linn “the love of my life.” But it took her a while to get there. For over two decades the legendary artist, who now goes by the name of “Tater Tot” – a nickname Linn gave to her – was married to her former long-time manager Narvel Blackstock. The two announced their split in the fall of 2015 and finalized their divorce later that year.

Since going through her divorce and seeing how other couples have communicated over the years, McEntire has learned a few things, including the importance of paying close attention to details.

“The little things mean so much to me,” she says. “It’s also important to be attentive and listen to your partner’s stories, even if you’ve heard them 100 times. I’ll watch couples who have very successful marriages, and that woman will sit there and listen and smile at her husband’s stories, and I’m like, ‘How many times has she heard that?’ I learned a lot from that.”

McEntire and Linn’s relationship is so special it goes beyond reality. In fact, the real-life couple plays husband and wife on Big Sky, which airs on ABC.

“To play husband and wife, it’s natural for us,” McEntire, who also makes Linn coffee every morning, says. “Rex and I rehearse all the time to make sure that when we step on that set, we’re not wasting anybody’s time. We’re professionals. We have our stuff together, we show up on time, and we’re ready. We’re not holding up anybody because time is money on the TV set.”

Acting aside, McEntire is currently playing shows on the road as part of her Reba: Live in Concert tour, which launched on Oct. 13.

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