Facts You Didn’t Know About Charlie Battles, Reba McEntire’s First Husband

by Rosemarie Hardison
Charlie Battles

Charlie Battles is best known for his marriage to country music icon Reba McEntire. After all, Battles was a great part of kicking off McEntire’s career. Still, their relationship was like a rollercoaster ride.

Still, Charlie Battles led a full life outside Reba McEntire, with his career as a steer wrestling champion, his two kids, and his subsequent marriage in 1998.

In this article, we’ll go through all the key moments in Charlie Battles’ life, including his marriage and divorce to Reba McEntire, his life as a cattle rancher, and his passing away.

Who was Charlie Battles?

Charlie Battles is the well-known first husband of country music icon Reba McEntire, but he was so much more than that.

A great example of a true American man would be Battles. Born and raised in the Southern states, Charlie’s life had many key moments, including:

1. An Oklahoma Army Man

Charlie Battles was born in Oklahoma in 1945 to parents Earl and Ocey Battles. He had a pretty normal upbringing. Like all teenagers at the time, Charlie answered Uncle Sam’s call and joined the US army in 1962.

However, unlike many other army men, Battles wasn’t deployed to Vietnam. Instead, he received training for ten months at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Afterward, he spent the majority of his army career overseas. Namely, he was an Armor Intelligence Specialist in Germany. In 1965, Charlie was honorably discharged and returned to his hometown in Oklahoma!

2. Settling Down in Oklahoma’s Rodeo Scene

After his army days were over, Charlie took to steer wrestling, which he excelled at.

He started participating in rodeo events across the United States and became a champion for three consecutive years, in 1968, 70, and 71. He also further proved his talents by qualifying for the PRCA National Finals in 1974.

Charlie settled down in 1966 and married his first wife, Sherrie. From there, the Battles family grew. The couple had two sons, Lance and Coty.

Sadly, rodeoing doesn’t put food on the table. So, Battles worked as a cattle rancher while continuously participating in rodeo events.

3. Meeting Reba McEntire

Battles frequented the Rodeo circuit. And there, he met the woman he’d later fall in love with, Reba McEntire.

Though, the romance didn’t blossom between the couple right then. There were numerous stumbling blocks in their relationship.

For starters, Battles was ten years Reba’s senior. The singer was only 16 when the pair met. Not only that, but Charlie had a wife and two sons.

4. A Relationship Sparks

Still, love beats all odds. It wasn’t until 1974 that Battles and McEntire shared their first romantic gesture, a simple kiss. Soon after, Charlie would divorce his first wife, Sherrie Battles.

According to McEntire’s autobiography, Charlie’s protective and supportive nature is what sparked a romance between them.

Namely, McEntire recalls one incident that describes how protective Charlie Battles was. During a dance, McEntire’s ex-boyfriend gave her a rude remark, but it wasn’t until the night was over that Reba mentioned the incident to Charlie.

Later, Charlie and Reba ran into the troublesome ex in a hotel lobby, and without a word, Charlie threw him through the window.

5. Marrying a Country Music Icon

Battles left one marriage for the other. And at the age of 21 years, Reba became Ms. Battles. However, the singer shares that she had some reservations about their marriage.

Reba states “If I’d had any backbone at all, my relationship with Charlie would have ended right then and there. But it didn’t,” referring to an incident where she tried to break things off with Battles but couldn’t.

The couple stayed in their hometown in Oklahoma. There, they had a ranch that they shared with Charlie’s two sons.

6. A Wife Without a Family

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a connection between Reba and the Battles’ sons. Additionally, Charlie did little to encourage a relationship between his second wife and two sons.

The married couple had no children, so this led to Reba feeling like she wasn’t a part of the family at all. It got to the point that when she asked to join the father and two sons in some activities, Charlie completely dismissed her wishes.

Reba took solace in her music, and Charlie was an incredibly supportive husband. So, McEntire later moved to Tennessee to pursue her music career, which turned out to be a great choice.

7. Husband / Manager

As McEntire became more famous, Charlie’s protectiveness and support that Reba admired so much quickly changed to possessiveness and jealousy.

Charlie was a huge part of Reba’s career. He was often included in band meetings, which would almost always end in fights. So, when Charlie didn’t get along with Reba’s work life, things quickly got problematic and messy.

Battles had control of the couple’s assets, which meant that all the money Reba made from her career would go to him. He felt entitled to that success that he would go as far as taking money from her purse.

8. An Unfair Divorce

In 1987, Reba, with support from her parents and sister, filed for divorce. It might be because of love, possessiveness, or jealousy, but Charlie never wanted this divorce.

That’s why once Battles found out Reba had filed for divorce, he withdrew all the money from their joint account in an attempt to make her stay. In addition, during their divorce proceedings, he would argue over items that didn’t hold any real value.

This divorce ended in ‘inequity’ according to McEntire, even though she admitted to Battles being a great help throughout her career.

Charlie Battles got their 215-acres ranch and house in Oklahoma, as well as $580,000, which was half McEntire’s net worth at the time.

9. Life After McEntire

Charlie quickly got back on his feet and went back to doing what he loved most, rodeoing! In 1993, he purchased his own ranch in Stringtown and began rodeoing there.

Charlie also ventured into business, which he might’ve learned from accompanying Reba and managing all their assets. So, Charlie acquired his own company, named Charlie Battles PRCA Rodeo Livestock company.

A new romance entered Charlie’s life in 1998, and he married his third wife, Donna Granger. However, they had no children.

Still, Charlie’s family kept growing. He had four grandchildren named Megan, Tye, Cheyenne, and Sierra, and two great-grandchildren.

Unfortunately, Charlie Battles suffered a stroke in 2006. After that, he was completely disabled. In 2013, he passed away due to heart failure and stroke-related complications and was buried in Sulphur, Louisiana.

In Brief

Charlie Battles was Reba McEntire’s first husband. In fact, Battles divorced his first wife for Reba, with whom he had an 11-year marriage with no children.

The couple’s marriage ended on bad terms, with Charlie often expressing jealousy and possessiveness over Reba. In 1987, Battles and McEntire ended their relationship with a divorce.

Still, Charlie had a fruitful life, with a third marriage, his own company, and four grandchildren. He suffered a stroke in 2006, which left him disabled. Charlie Battles’ life ended in 2013 due to heart failure.

Featured image source: Countryfancast.com

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