Kelly Clarkson Gives Emotional Tribute to Reba McEntire at Kennedy Center Honors

Kelly Clarkson Reba
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/ACM

The Kennedy Center Honors were held on Sunday (Dec. 2), and several artists from the music community were recognized, including Reba McEntire who received a lifetime achievement honor. Daughter-in-law Kelly Clarkson was in attendance to celebrate the country legend and gave an emotional speech ahead of performing Reba’s iconic hit, “Fancy.”

“Reba knows I’m not excited about this – I hate giving speeches, but I love her so much that I’m gonna do it,” Kelly said. “If we’re all being honest, sometimes when we meet our heroes it doesn’t always pan out how you hope but meeting Reba, being friends with her and eventually becoming family, has been one of the highlights of my life – truly.”

[RELATED: Reba McEntire Is Officially A Kennedy Center Honoree— “This Moves Me Beyond Words”]

USA Today reports that Kelly went on to thank Reba for her continued advice about the music industry over the years.

“Thank you so much, Reba for listening to me vent as an artist. Thank you so much for comforting me on the phone through my tears like a friend,” she added, choking up. “And thank you for being a really rad grandma for my kids. I love you so much. I hope you enjoy this song. Don’t judge me.”

According to USA Today, Reba looked on all smiles and clapped enthusiastically as Kelly belted “Fancy.”

[RELATED: We Can’t Stop Watching Reba and Kelly Clarkson’s Duet of “Does He Love You” Because It Was One of the Greatest Performances of All-Time]

In addition to Reba’s honor, Cher, saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter and composer Philip Glass also received the lifetime achievement honor on Sunday. Meanwhile, “Hamilton” co-creators –- writer and former star Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire –- were honored for their “transformative work.”

The Kennedy Center Honors airs Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.