Despite that old adage that says you should never meet your heroes, Kelly Clarkson says that becoming friends -- and eventually, family -- with country superstar Reba McEntire has not only been a positive experience, but has been "one of the highlights of my life -- truly." Clarkson, who is McEntire's daughter-in-law, was among the stars to make an appearance in support of McEntire as she accepted her 2018 Kennedy Center Honors award on Sunday evening (Dec. 2).

Before performing McEntire's iconic hit, "Fancy," at the ceremony, according to USA Today, Clarkson admitted that she isn't a huge fan of giving speeches, but it was important for her to express how much the honoree meant to her.

"Thank you so much, Reba, for listening to me vent as an artist," an emotional Clarkson said onstage. "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.

"I love you so much. I hope you enjoy this song. Don't judge me," Clarkson added before kicking off her performance.

All the Country Stars Who Have Earned Kennedy Center Honors

In advance of Sunday evening's ceremony, McEntire told The Boot and other media outlets that she was particularly excited to be included in the 2018 class of honorees because of her long history with the Kennedy Center. McEntire has previously been involved in celebrating past honorees Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett and Loretta Lynn. The country star went on to say that the recognition was even more meaningful to her because  the Kennedy Center takes all aspects of a person's life, including philanthropic work, into account when it selects its honorees.

The Kennedy Center Honors gala took place at the Kennedy Center Opera House, where it was recorded for two-hour primetime broadcast. The event will air on CBS on Dec. 26 at 8PM ET.

Reba McEntire Through the Years