Reba McEntire, ‘Oprah’s Master Class’ Episode Has Star in Tears Over Tragedy
Reba McEntire has plenty to smile about these days, but she admits there is still a painful part of her past that continues to haunt her. The singer-actress recently sat down with Oprah Winfrey on the new show ‘Oprah’s Master Class,’ to discuss the plane crash that happened more than 20 years ago and still brings her to tears.
“It was March of 1991, and we were playing a private show in San Diego, Ca.,” Reba recalls of the fateful night. Her husband, Narvel Blackstock, and her stylist, Sandy Spika, decided to stay overnight in San Diego, while the rest of her band flew to Indiana after the concert for their next gig.
The country singer’s band and crew were split into two planes. “One of them took off, and when the other one took off, the tip of the wing of the airplane hit a rock on the side of Otay Mountain, and it killed everyone on the plane,” recalls Reba of the accident that took the lives of ten people. “And when we were notified, Narvel went and met with our pilot, and he told us what had happened.
“Narvel came back to the hotel room where I was — it was two or three o’clock in the morning — and he said one of the planes had crashed,” Reba continues. “I said, ‘Are they OK?’ He said, ‘I don’t think so.’ I said, ‘But you’re not sure?’ He said, ‘I don’t think so.’ So in my mind, any minute now, we’re going to get a call that they’re all right, but the call never came. So the rest of the night, Narvel was going room to room with the phone, and calling …”
Reba goes on to explain that her memories of that night are still crystal clear, and that “it never quits hurting.” She remembers her husband spending the entire night calling the victims’ friends and family members, so that they would hear the news first from him, and not from a newscast.
The multi-platinum-selling singer doesn’t mince words in describing the mark the tragedy left on her. “It was the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life … all the band that we lost, the pilots, their family. I lost friends. They lost family members.”
Still, the Oklahoma native found a silver lining in the midst of her pain. “There was a huge outpour of friends in the community, family that were there for us,” Reba recounts. “But nobody can replace the ones that we loved so much that we lost. And that’s one of the questions I’ll ask God when I get up there. ‘Why’d you take them so quick? They had so much more to give, and we had so much more to learn from them.’ But we learn from that situation, and the biggest thing I learned: don’t go a day without telling people you love them. And do act like this day could be your last one, so do what you want to do.”
Reba has definitely lived life to the fullest since the accident. In addition to her successful music career, she has starred on Broadway, in ‘Annie, Get Your Gun,’ and in a successful sitcom, ‘Reba.’ She will return to the small screen this fall, on her new comedy, ‘Malibu Country,’ which will include comedian Lily Tomlin. The show’s pilot episode will air on ABC.