Hear what friends and industry insiders are saying about the couple calling it quits
The news of Reba McEntire‘s split from husband of 26 years, manager Narvel Blackstock, left fans and Nashville insiders alike in total shock.
“It blows my mind,” a longtime friend tells PEOPLE. “I never thought this could happen to them.”
It was a sentiment expressed by many in the industry.
Adds a former label exec who has worked with McEntire throughout her career, “They were a great team, both as a couple and as business partners. They collaborated on every decision. I’m shocked and saddened.”
In a joint statement released on Aug. 3, a rep for McEntire, 60, said the couple had been separated “the past few months” and would continue to work together. (Blackstock, 58, is McEntire’s manager, and they co-own Starstruck Entertainment.)
In March the Grammy winner spoke lovingly of her husband, telling PEOPLE that the two “never leave each other without a kiss and ‘I love you.'”
The Nashville duo are parents to son, race car driver Shelby, 25, and Blackstock has three children from a previous marriage, including son Brandon, who is married to Kelly Clarkson.
For more on the shocking split, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now
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