Reba McEntire and her boyfriend, Rex Linn are closer than ever, but that wasn’t the case at the beginning of their relationship.
The country icon recently opened up to PEOPLE about the time when they lived in separate states and how they maintained their connection while doing long distance.
McEntire and Linn first met in 1991 while working on the movie, The Gambler Returns with Kenny Rogers. During this time, their friendship blossomed, but their romantic connection didn’t come until January of 2020 when they reunited on the set of the TV show Young Sheldon.
“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.”
Unfortunately, the pandemic hit the world not long after their “date,” and they were forced to find new ways to connect without getting together in person. McEntire shared with PEOPLE that they would FaceTime “four to five times a day.”
“He was in Los Angeles, and I was in Oklahoma because my Mama had just died,” she says. “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.”
They officially celebrated their two-year anniversary together this year, and she says they are practically “inseparable.” The country star and actor are once again working on set together, playing the roles of husband and wife in the latest season of ABC’s drama Big Sky.
“To play husband and wife, it’s natural for us,” the “Fancy” singer 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, we’re ready. We’re not holding up anybody because time is money on the TV set.”
Linn joined the cast as Buck Barnes, husband to McEntire’s character, Sunny Barnes who serves as head of the suspicious family business.
McEntire previously told Deadline that the two of them were “having a blast” while filming for the new suspenseful season, which returned to ABC on Sept. 21.
The real-life couple were also co-stars in the new Lifetime film, The Hammer. The movie, set to premiere in 2023, was inspired by the life of traveling circuit judge, Kim Wanker.
The country singer will play Kim Wheeler, “an outspoken, firecracker lawyer who is appointed Judge of the 5th District of Nevada,” and Rex will play “a mysterious cowboy with unknown motives.”
Prior to dating Linn, McEntire was married to Narvel Blackstock, but divorced him in 2015 after 26 years together. Before Blackstock, the Oklahoma native had tied the knot with Charlie Battles. They were together for 11 years, until she broke things off with him in 1987.
Fans can follow Reba and Rex’s adventures together on Instagram.