As Reba McEntire goes through a separation with Narvel Blackstock after 26 years of marriage, there's one person she can rely on for advice: herself. Well, her TV self, that is.
When McEntire starred as the lead on her self-titled sitcom, Reba, she played a divorcee named Reba Hart who managed to navigate the tough waters of still having her ex-husband, Brock, around. Literally. As in all the time. See, Brock lived across the street with his new wife, Barbra Jean, and their son.
Basically, TV Reba knows that divorce is the worst.
That's why it might be time for Reba -- who divorced her first husband, national steer wrestling champion and her manager, Charlie Battles, in 1987 -- to take some advice from her on-screen self. After all, Reba knows best. Here are seven pieces of choice advice that she dished out on her sitcom:
1. Take life one day at a time.
In the pilot, Reba tells her then-pregnant teenage daughter Cheyenne -- who happens to be getting married that day -- that even though life handed them a few unexpected cards, that doesn't mean they have to fold. "[We're going to] plot a new course," Reba tells her oldest daughter. "Just because things are different, doesn't mean they have to be bad."
2. Remember that sometimes the grass is greener.
If you've never seen Reba, here's an important piece of back story: Reba and Brock officially decided to go from separated to divorced after Brock admitted to cheating on Reba with the receptionist at his dental practice, Barbra Jean, a loud, ditsy blonde whom Brock eventually marries -- because he knocked her up. Throughout the series, Barbra Jean welcomes herself into Reba's house and never takes the hint that maybe, just maybe, she's not welcome -- even after the two women eventually become something resembling friends.
Now that you're all caught up, during season four, Barbra Jean loses her dog, who happens to have the same name as her husband. Reba's deadpan response to B.J. screaming, "Somebody took my Brock," was everything: "Funny, when I had to say that same thing, I wasn’t quite as panicked." No longer being sidled to a husband who often brought you down? Reba: 1, Barbra Jean: 0.
3. The kids come first.
When Brock and Barbra Jean split during a rough patch in their relationship, Reba watched as her daughter Kyra tried to comfort B.J. When Reba later tells Kyra that she's "a beautiful young woman," her feisty daughter replies, "Or maybe you just raised me right. That and I watch a lot of 7th Heaven." Teach children good values, make sure they watch classic family dramas. Got it!
4. Keep the past in the past.
After getting her divorce papers in the mail, Reba's best friend pushes her back on the dating scene -- right into the arms of her college ex. Reba quickly realizes that there are some people better left in the past. "I was so afraid of being single, I tried to go back to somebody I dated 20 years ago… but I can't go back," she tells Kyra, who's understandably upset about her parents' split. "We all have to go forward, even if it is a little scary." You know why an ex is an ex? Yes, of course you do. We all do.
5. Get back out there!
Maybe don't do this one right away, but when Barbra Jean was wallowing following her separation from Brock, Reba was the one who forced the former mistress out of the house. "You can't just lie around moping about Brock," Reba says. "You need to do something to feel good about yourself." Go on a date! Buy a new outfit! Hook up with a cowboy! Whatever, you get the point of this solid advice.
6. Forgiveness will come.
In the same episode, Reba realizes that she has to comfort her ex-husband, too -- and she understands what he's going through. "You know what, Brock? When we were going through our separation, I thought I was going to hate you for the rest of my life, but now that you’re going through it, I feel bad for you," she says. "I'm sorry. I really am." Time really will heal all wounds -- even giant gashes caused by divorce.
7. Everything happens for a reason.
Reba came to this realization after Barbra Jean asked why she wasn't afraid of ghosts, which somehow led to the idea that when B.J. dies, Reba will haunt her for stealing her then-husband. Wouldn't Reba be the cutest ghost?
Anyway, the point is that, yes, terrible things happened in Reba's life, but she made it through every one of them. "I lived through my biggest fears," she realizes. "My husband left, Kyra moved out and things seemed to be just fallin' apart! You know, nothing gets scarier than that! But because of you I know that I can deal with anything now."
And that's exactly what real-life Reba will do.