It’s True: Reba McEntire Turned Down A Leading Role In The Legendary ‘Titanic’ Movie

“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason,” Reba says of turning down the part.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

January 19, 2023


6:54 am

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Reba McEntire; Photo by Donn Jones/CMA

Did you know that Reba McEntire turned down a role in Titanic?

The 11x Oscar-winning film, Titanic, is making its return to theaters in celebration of its 25th anniversary. While fans know the James Cameron movie for its impressive acting and dramatic storyline based on true events, many may not be aware that country music legend, Reba McEntire, was almost featured in the cast. 

The singer/songwriter confirmed this fun fact during a previous appearance on an episode of Happens Live With Andy Cohen. While on the show, McEntire joined in on a game called, “The McEntire Truth,” which challenged the host and fellow guest, Morris Chestnut, to decide if the set of facts shared about her were true or not. 

YouTube video

The final fact of the game revealed that McEntire was originally chosen to play Molly Brown in the critically acclaimed 1997 film, but the role was ultimately given to Kathy Bates after McEntire turned it down. 

She went on to explain her reasoning behind walking away from the film that would end up making history. 

“We were on tour and I had a lot of people on the payroll, and we had these three months already scheduled to do the movie and then they got behind on scheduling and said, ‘We’re gonna have to move it in this time,’” she shared. “We couldn’t reschedule all the arenas and everything.”

The “Rumor Has It” singer also discussed this missed opportunity during an interview with Howie Mandel back in the 1990’s. 


Reba was orginally meant to play The Unsinkable Molly Brown in Titanic (1997). #reba #rebamcentire

♬ original sound – golddust

At that time, she shared the same explanation, stating that the time required for her to be on set didn’t line up with her touring schedule. Mandel followed up by asking if she wished things would have worked out differently, giving her the chance to play the role in the film that went on to win dozens of awards and countless nominations since its debut.

“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason,” she replied before adding, “So it didn’t work out for some reason or another, but I thought Kathy Bates was absolutely wonderful. She was perfect for that.”

The well-known love story between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio’s characters, Rose Dewitt Bukater and Jack Dawson will return to theaters in February.

Paramount Pictures announced on Twitter that the movie will be back on the big screen in 4K and 3D for a limited time beginning Feb. 10. CBS also revealed that the remastered film will be paired with a new poster and trailer. 

Music, Movies, TV

While McEntire may not have been a part of Titanic, she has still built an impressive acting resume over the years with a slew of TV shows, movies and Broadway performances.

She has appeared in numerous films like Tremors, alongside Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, and the 1993 movie, The Man from Left Field, plus her starring role in her popular TV sitcom, Reba, which aired from 2001-2007. 

Reba, Rex Linn; Photo Courtesy Big Sky
Reba, Rex Linn; Photo Courtesy Big Sky

Most recently, McEntire found herself playing the role of Sunny Barnes in the latest season of ABC’s Big Sky, alongside her co-star and real-life boyfriend, Rex Linn. The couple also appeared in McEntire’s latest Lifetime movie, The Hammer, in which she plays the character Kim Wheeler. The new original movie premiered on January 7th at 8/7c on Lifetime

On top of her recent TV appearances, Reba McEntire is preparing for the extended run of Reba: Live In Concert tour with special guests Terri Clark and The Isaacs. This set of shows is scheduled to kick off March 9 in Jacksonville, FL and continue through the spring of 2023. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.