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Was The Bond Between Reba McEntire And Loretta Lynn That Of Friendship Or Family?

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Very often, powerhouses in their respective fields become collaborators. Beyond that, artists can quickly become friends. Such was the case for Reba McEntire and Loretta Lynn, two country music legends who worked well together and happened to count one another as close pals. But were they actually on the same family tree?

68-year-old McEntire began her career in 1975 and has since been dubbed the Queen of Country. Before her death in 2022, Loretta Lynn boasted a triumphant career that spanned six decades and she earned several awards acknowledging her formative role in country music. Where did these two prolific figures stand when it came to one another on and off the stage?

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Reba McEntire harbors immense respect for Loretta Lynn

Lynn was 90 years old when she died, leaving behind a lasting impact on country music and on those who counted her both an idol and friend. Lynn reminded McEntire very much of her own mother, four years older than Lynn, calling them both “strong women, who loved their children and were fiercely loyal.”

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RELATED: Reba McEntire Pays Tribute To Loretta Lynn Who Was ‘Just Like Mama’

McEntire even said she took comfort in knowing that her mother “could welcome Loretta into the hollers of heaven,” adding, “I always did and I always will love Loretta. She was always so nice to me.” According to Tomson Highway, the two country music icons do not share blood – but the feelings were strong regardless.

Collaboration and companionship

Reba McEntire credits Loretta Lynn with helping her in countless ways / AdMedia

Lynn would always hold a special place in McEntire’s heart thanks to the impression she made on the industry. A tribute to Lynn by McEntire says “I sure appreciate her paving the rough and rocky road for all us girl singers.” She carved out such a trail with enough grace that McEntire would celebrate it for years to come.

Lynn also reportedly gave McEntire the confidence to pursue country music, with a friend of McEntire saying, “She was the ideal for Reba — confident, talented, nobody’s fool and a woman who stood up for herself in her songs.” Lynn served as an invaluable mentor to McEntire the same way Patsy Cline had done for her when her star was shining bright.

Loretta Lynn, singing, circa 1980s / Everett Collection

That mentorship-turned-friendship began when McEntire went to see Lynn at a Ada, Oklahoma rodeo. McEntire, then 11, ripped off her belt and held it up for Lynn to sign, which she did. Years later, the love and respect would go both ways, with Lynn herself saying of McEntire, “I’ve caught myself trying to learn things from her — anybody that didn’t try to learn something from Reba, they don’t know much!”

So, no, these two are not on the same family tree. But the bond they shared transcended something so tangible as blood into something far more lasting.

McEntire honors Lynn as a trailblazer and a friend / Laura Farr/AdMedia

RELATED: CMAs Features Loretta Lynn Tribute By Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert

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