Kelly Clarkson wasn’t the only country star to show up in support of Reba McEntireat the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors, but she did give the most moving speech.
Clarkson — who is also McEntire’s daughter-in-law — performed “Fancy” at the gala on Sunday night (Dec. 2) in Washington, D.C., but before that she offered a few personal words about their relationship.
“Thank you so much, Reba for listening to me vent as an artist,” she said (quote via USA Today). “Thank you so much for comforting me on the phone through my tears like a friend and thank you for being a really rad grandma for my kids.”
Lady Antebellum, Brooks & Dunn and Kristin Chenoweth each honored McEntire with a song. Little Big Town were there, as well, but USA Today shares that they paid tribute to Cher.
“If we’re all being honest, sometimes when we meet our heroes it doesn’t always pan out how you hope,” Clarkson said, starting her remarks, “but meeting Reba, being friends with her and eventually becoming family has been one of the highlights of my life — truly.”
The 2018 Kennedy Center Honors were a two-night affair, with the annual Artist’s Dinner being an equal red carpet event on Saturday night. In this photo gallery from both nights you’ll find McEntire in separate outfits, chatting with fellow honorees or posing alone or with boyfriend Skeeter Lasuzzo.
In addition to Cher and McEntire, composers Wayne Shorter and Phillip Glass received the traditional lifetime achievement award. Hamilton co-writer Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and music director Alex Lacamoire were honored for their transformative work. Gloria Estefan hosted the honors, which will air on CBS on Dec. 26 at 8PM ET.