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Reba McEntire and boyfriend Rex Linn plan to spend Valentine’s Day at Sonic: ‘It’s a ritual’

The country legend just launched “Reba’s Sweetheart Meal” at her go-to date-night spot: Sonic.
Reba McEntire, big Sonic fan, debuts her Sweetheart Meal for Valentine’s Day
Reba McEntire and her tot-filled “Sweetheart Meal” at Sonic.Courteous Sonic

Country music legend Reba McEntire is already having a banner year — and kicking it off with a romantic meal at her favorite fast-food spot.

On Feb. 8, Sonic announced a partnership with the country legend called “Reba’s Sweetheart Meal.” This limited-edition combo meal was curated in collaboration with McEntire and will be ready to order for Sonic-lovers nationwide right before Valentine’s Day, on Feb. 12.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Sonic ever since I was in the 10th grade in Kiowa, Oklahoma, where I went to school for 12 years,” McEntire tells TODAY.com. “It reminded me of TV shows we’d watch, ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ and ‘Father Knows Best,’ when they go to a drive-in to get a hamburger.”

The meal features a Sonic Cheeseburger, Tater Tots — McEntire’s well-documented favorite — and Sonic’s new Chocolate Covered Strawberry Shake, which combines strawberries and chocolate flakes mixed into vanilla soft serve and is finished with chocolate whipped topping, more chocolate flakes and a cherry.

Reba McEntire, big Sonic fan, debuts her Sweetheart Meal for Valentine’s Day
Reba’s Sweetheart Meal at Sonic.Courteous Sonic

Even before this partnership came to be, McEntire has long shared her love for Sonic, appearing on talk shows like “Late Night with Seth Meyers” to share her “recipe” for Tater Tots: “You get in your car, and you put it in reverse … drive down the road and you find your nearest Sonic.” She even passed out tots to the other coaches on Season 24 of “The Voice.”

McEntire’s deep love for the deep-fried side dish has a heartwarming backstory.

“I got the name Tater Tot from my boyfriend, Rex Linn … I think it was our first date,” McEntire says about her sweetheart, whom she’s known since 1991 and revealed she was dating in 2020. She says, after dinner, the pair kept the night going — and went to another spot where a waitress asked if the lovebirds were interested in appetizers.

“I said that I want some Tater Tots, and Rex looked at me and said, ‘That is officially now your nickname,’” McEntire says, adding that after her sister, Susie, heard about the nickname, she gave Linn his own. “She said, ‘Well, if he is calling you Tater Tot, he needs to be Sugar Tot.’ So now we call ourselves ‘The Tots.’”

What will The Tots be doing for Valentine’s Day? McEntire says they’re sticking to tradition. In 2023, the singer told Hoda and Jenna that she and Linn spent the holiday at — you guessed it — Sonic.

“We’re going back to Sonic, definitely. We’re very blessed here around Nashville, Tennessee to have a few Sonics, several of ’em,” she says. “It’s a ritual. Every year, it’s an ongoing thing with us: The Tots go to Sonic.”

As for what the Country Music Hall of Famer has planned prior to Valentine’s Day, she has a gig on Feb. 11 you may have heard about: singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

“You know, I’ve been singing the song for 50 years. This is my 50th anniversary, since I sang it at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1974. So I’ve got my outfit picked out. Thanks to Ralph Lauren,” McEntire says, offering an exciting preview of her performance. “I’m really excited. I’m not that nervous. Because you know, it’s not about me.”

In addition to singing at the Super Bowl and gearing up for Season 25 of “The Voice,” McEntire says she just celebrated the one-year anniversary of her Atoka, Oklahoma restaurant Reba’s Place.

“We even got written up in the New York Times about our chicken-fried steak,” she says, beaming. And she still pops by the restaurant from time to time, much to diners’ surprise.

“One day I showed up, I just came through the kitchen and walked on stage and started singing. They kept eating,” McEntire says. “Then when I started talking or saying ‘How y’all doing tonight?’ they looked up and they went, ‘Oh, my God.’”

Fun fact about McEntire: She has won at least one award every year from 1984 to the present, from Grammys to Academy of Country Music Awards and more — like, way more. And she could garner a few more acting accolades when her new NBC sitcom drops.

All in all, the McEntire says she is “honored, thrilled, humbled, grateful and thankful” for all the love her work has received over the years.

“I guess (my career) has lasted this long because of my curiosity. ‘What more can we do?’” McEntire says. “We have been so blessed to get to do not only the music, but writing books and going to Broadway, doing television and movies. … I’m a happy camper. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy in my life.”