Reba McEntire’s First Husband, Charlie Battles: A Rodeo Champion and Loving Father

Charlie Battles


Reba McEntire’s first husband was Charlie Battles, a steer wrestling champion and rancher. They married in 1976 when McEntire was just 21 years old. They divorced in 1987 after 11 years of marriage. He started steer wrestling professionally in the early 1970s and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 1974. He retired from steer wrestling in 1981.

Battles was born in Oklahoma in 1945 to Earl and Ocey Battles. Charlie comes from a household where everyone wants to join the Army or the Air Force. After completing his education, Charlie enlisted in the US Army in 1962. Charlie stayed in Missouri for a few months during the training. The Battles family also includes Roxy, his sister, and Jim, their other sibling.

Apart from Reba McEntire, Charlie Battles still led an entire life that included two children, a later marriage in 1998, a successful steer wrestling career, and two children. He grew up on a ranch and began competing in steer wrestling rodeos at a young age. He won the world championship in 1974 and was inducted into the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

Battles and McEntire met in 1974 when McEntire was performing at a rodeo. They married two years later and had one son, Shelby Steven McEntire Blackstock, born in 1990. The couple lived on a ranch in Oklahoma. Battles helped McEntire with her career, and they also started a family. They had a son, Shelby Steven, in 1980.

However, the marriage began to strain in the mid-1980s. McEntire’s career was taking off, and she spent more and more time away from home. Battles was also struggling with alcoholism. In 1987, McEntire and Battles divorced. McEntire has said that the divorce was one of the hardest things she has ever gone through.

Battles died in 2013 at the age of 64. He had been battling a long illness.

McEntire has said that her marriage to Battles was a happy one. They shared a love of music and rodeo and supported each other’s careers. However, the marriage eventually divorced due to pressure from McEntire’s career. This article will cover every critical moment in Charlie Battles’ life, including his marriage to Reba McEntire, his divorce from her, his time working as a cattle rancher, and his passing.

charlie battles
charlie battles

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Early Life and Career

Charlie Battles was born in Atoka County, Oklahoma, on July 28, 1944. He grew up on a ranch and learned to wrestle at a young age. He turned professional in 1963 and competed in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) for many years. He qualified for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 1974 and finished the season ranked 12th globally.

Charlie Battles’ military career:

He joined the US Army after answering “Uncle Simon’s call.” In 1962, he completed his soldier training and joined the military. He completed almost ten months of training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. They weren’t deployed to Vietnam like regular soldiers on training missions.

1965, his training was complete, and he was officially an army member. He was gently sent back to Oklahoma, where he was born. Charlie Battles was an expert in armor intelligence in Germany as well.

What Did He Do When He Left the Army?

After serving as an intelligence officer in Germany for several years, he returned to Oklahoma. He began to steer wrestling when his military stint was over. He competed in several sports and was skilled in steer wrestling and rodeo activities. From 1968 through 1971, Charlie won the title three times in a row.

As the champion steer in 1974, Charlie also competed in the PRCA National. At the time, he was not well recognised and was actively pursuing a career in cattle ranching. Events during rodeos started to become unsettling after a while. He continued to take part in rodeo events while working as a cattle rancher. He had just wed Sherrie for the first time at the time.

Marriage to Reba McEntire

Charlie Battles married Reba McEntire in 1976. They met when Reba was performing at a rodeo in Oklahoma. They had two sons together, Shelby and Todd. Reba and Charlie were married for 11 years before they divorced in 1987. Reba said their divorce was difficult but that she and Charlie remained friends.

Battles’ Life After McEntire

After his divorce from McEntire, Battles continued to compete in rodeos and work as a rancher. He also married again and had two more children. 2013 Battles passed away at 68 after a long battle with illness. He was survived by his wife, three children, and two grandchildren.

Battles’ Impact on McEntire’s Life

Battles had a significant impact on McEntire’s life. He helped her start her career and was the father of her first child. However, the marriage was unsuccessful due to McEntire’s rising career and Battles’ alcoholism. He was her first husband and the father of her only son. He also supported her early career and helped her become the successful country music star she is today. McEntire has spoken fondly of Battles in interviews and said that she still loves him. She has also said he is a big part of her son’s life.

McEntire’s Reflections on Battles

McEntire has spoken about Battles on several occasions. She said he was a good man, but they were not meant to be together. She has also said that she is grateful for the time they had together and for the son they shared.

In an interview with People magazine, McEntire said, “Charlie was a good man. He was going through his demons. We were just two young people trying to make it. We had a lot of good times together, and I’m grateful for the son we have.”

charlie battles
charlie battles

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The Second Marriage of Charlie

In 1998, when he was standing tall, he wed Donna Granger. She was his third wife, and they were together till his passing. Charlie and Donna never had kids. He moved to Sulphur, Louisiana, where he remained until his death.

Net worth 

Charlie’s estimated net worth ranges from $1 to $5 million due to his success as a businessman and rancher who also served as McEntire’s first spouse.

Last Days

His life was going well until he suffered a heart attack in 2006. He developed unique needs after becoming paralyzed. His family cared for him, and he struggled to survive for approximately seven years. He fought for years, but he lost his inner strength due to heart and stroke issues. He passed away in 2013 due to heart failure.

His journey is not just about his successes; it is also about the attitude of discovery and the spirit of perseverance. His tale serves as a gentle reminder that each person can forge their path, which adds to the overall fabric of human progress.

Battles’ Legacy

Charlie Battles was a successful rodeo cowboy and rancher. He was also a loving husband and father. His legacy continues through his son, Shelby, a successful music producer and manager. Charlie Battles was a significant figure in Reba McEntire’s life. He was her first husband, the father of her first child, and a major supporter of her early career. However, the marriage was unsuccessful due to McEntire’s rising career and Battles’ alcoholism.

McEntire has spoken about Battles on several occasions, and she has expressed gratitude for the time they had together. She has also said that she learned a lot from the experience, making her a stronger person.

Final Words

  • Actress and singer Reba McEntire’s first husband was Charles Battles. Despite being together for eleven years, they never had children.
  • He was a cattle rancher who won three consecutive championships.
  • Later, he established his own cattle ranchers and business.
  • He was married three times his entire life, and his first marriage to Sherrie produced two kids.
  • He left behind a wife named Donna Grangers, two sons, and heart failure when he passed away in 2013.
charlie battles
charlie battles

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Charlie Battles was a successful rodeo cowboy, rancher, and loving husband and father. He significantly impacted Reba McEntire’s life and is still remembered fondly by his family and friends.