The Intriguing Ins And Outs Of The Pioneer Woman’s Peculiar Marriage

Through her blog and TV program, the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, gives her fans almost unlimited insights into her life. In fact, from her favorite recipes to the inner workings of her family dynamic, it seems that no topic is out of bounds for the food writer. And that’s how we’ve come to discover the unique characteristics of her marriage to her “Marlboro Man.”

Ann Marie “Ree” Drummond first blogged under the “Pioneer Woman” moniker in 2006. On her site, you see, she began writing about life on her Pawhuska, Oklahoma, ranch and how she homeschools her sons. And Ree’s down-to-earth coverage of her family and their favorite recipes soon earned her a legion of fans.

In 2009, for instance, Ree’s blog supposedly reached 13 million page views each month. Thanks to the site’s popularity, too, the Pioneer Woman received Weblog Awards – more commonly referred to as Bloggies – each year from 2007 to 2010. And two of those gongs were for the prestigious Weblog of the Year prize.

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So in 2011 the Pioneer Woman blog was getting over four million visitors – and more than 23 million page views – each month. And Ree’s profile was about to get even bigger with the debut of her own TV show. Yes, The Pioneer Woman launched on Food Network that very same year.

Alongside her own show, Ree has also expanded on her popularity with appearances on major TV programs such as The View, Today and Good Morning America. She has additionally released a series of books. These, as with her blog, contain recipes and stories from her life as well as some children’s fiction.

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Ree therefore became known as an advocate for a slower way of living. So while the success of her blog had elevated her to celebrity status, it was the simple things in life that the TV star appeared to value the most. For instance, Ree apparently continued to rise at the crack of dawn to help her husband – whom she refers to as “Marlboro Man” – out on the farm.

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Ree hasn’t always enjoyed a rural existence, however. She was actually born in 1969 in the Oklahoma oil town of Bartlesville. Her dad, William Dale Smith, was an orthopedic surgeon, while her mom, Gerre Schwert, carved out a career as a social worker.

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But after graduating from her local high school in 1987, Ree left Oklahoma behind to study at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Here, she originally focused on journalism but later made the switch to gerontology. Ree then graduated in 1991.

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By this point, then, Ree thought of herself as something of a city dweller. She even reportedly made plans to move to Chicago, Illinois, to take up a place at law school. However, fate intervened during a trip back to her hometown when she met her future husband, Ladd Drummond, in a bar.

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Yet Ree apparently had no idea that her encounter with Ladd would be so life-changing. After their meeting, in fact, she even tried to talk her feelings for the man, a rancher, down. In her book The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, Ree explained, “It didn’t really matter anyway, I’d tell myself. I was headed to Chicago.”

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So it seemed that Ree was talking herself into starting afresh in a new city. And at first she insisted that she wasn’t willing to let any romantic feelings stand in her way. “I had zero business getting attached to anyone around there, let alone some Wrangler-wearing cowboy,” she wrote. “Talk about my polar opposite.”

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But despite the fact that Ladd was not typically her type, Ree found herself attracted to him all the same. She even revealed that for her it had been love at first sight. “He was tall, strong and mysterious, sipping bottled beer and wearing jeans and cowboy boots,” she explained.

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So that’s why Ree had decided that she would make a move on the intriguing stranger in the bar. However, their encounter had been cut short when Ladd announced that he was leaving to “cook Christmas turkeys for some folks in his small town.”

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Afterwards, and despite her reluctance to get tied down to Oklahoma, Ree hoped that Ladd might call her. But communication wasn’t forthcoming. “Nor did he call that day, or week, or month,” she revealed. Yet Ree still found herself thinking of Ladd often, wondering what might have been.

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We can only therefore imagine Ree’s elation when Ladd finally called – a full four months after their first meeting. However, she’s never publicly revealed why it took the rancher so long to get in touch. “I know the answer. But I’m going to let him tell you,” she later informed her readers.

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Ree would soon learn that Ladd isn’t just any cowboy, though. He is in fact a fourth-generation rancher, whose family happen to be one of the most prominent landowners in Osage County. According to the 2016 Land Report, for instance, the Drummonds actually own 433,000 acres. So it’s fair to say that Ladd has farming running through his veins – unlike city girl Ree.

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Yet soon enough, Ree and Ladd started dating. Before he would commit to marrying his new beau, however, the rancher needed to test out her suitability to farm life. And as a result, Ladd invited Ree onto his land to try her hand at working cattle alongside his brother, Tim. He had a particularly unappealing job in mind for his girl too.

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In her book Pioneer Woman: Girl Meets Cowboy, Ree recalled how Tim actually informed her, “You’ll be taking [the cattle’s] temperature.” And it was then that she learned that the task involved inserting a thermometer into the animals’ backsides. But rather than shying away from the challenge, Ree chose to see it out.

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“Before I knew it, the first animal had entered the chute,” Ree revealed. “Various cowboys were at different positions around the animal and began carrying out their respective duties. Tim looked at me and yelled, ‘Stick it in!’” And to her credit, she did so, leaving her arm “covered in runny, stinky cow crap.”

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Yet while the incident left Ree looking far from her best, her nonchalant attitude to the realities of ranch life seemingly impressed Ladd. He soon popped the question, in fact, and Ree agreed to marry him. However, she was also mindful of what her husband-to-be had been up to.

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“Looking back, I’m aware of just how much I was being tested that day at the cattle chute,” Ree said. Elaborating on her theory, she added, “Since he was my husband’s only sibling, Tim had to approve of me. This was merely Tim’s sick, twisted way of measuring my worth.”

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Ree naturally passed the test, though, and later set up home on the ranch with Ladd. Yet given her cosmopolitan background, her family were pretty shocked by her new lifestyle. “I sure raised my eyebrows,” her father, William, recalled to The New Yorker in 2011. But despite a difficult start, Ree soon got used to being on the farm.

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So Ree and Ladd married in 1996. And according to Ree, the only extraordinary detail from their wedding day was that the groom was M.I.A. for much of the reception. In a 2007 blog post, in fact, the Pioneer Woman revealed, “[Ladd] was holed up in the men’s locker room watching Arizona State (his alma mater) play Nebraska, the defending national champions.”

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Thankfully, Arizona won, and Ladd has since viewed the result as a “good omen” for his marriage. The couple later jetted off on a three-week honeymoon to Australia, where they evidently wasted no time in getting their family started. Ree actually became pregnant on the trip, you see, after she and Ladd had decided that they’d “let nature take its course” when it came to family planning.

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Yet according to Ree, the couple had a few “bumps in the road” during their first year of marriage. In fact, Ree told Book Page in 2011 that this time was marked by her parents splitting up, some financial issues and a troublesome pregnancy. But through it all, she said, Ree “really was sustained by” Ladd.

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Nevertheless, Ree gave birth to her first child less than ten months after her wedding day. And still being a newlywed, she was apparently keen to maintain a good impression on Ladd. She even went so far as to curl her hair and apply makeup in the hours leading up to the birth.

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In a tell-all blog post from 2006, Ree revealed, “I also restrained myself during the pushing stage, afraid I’d lose control completely and inadvertently – I can hardly even say it – fart in front of him, which would be the kiss of death upon my pride and my marriage and then I’d just have to divorce him and start fresh with someone else. And I’m not kidding.”

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In the end, though, Ree’s obstetrician stepped in. “He said, ‘You’re just going to have to let it go and push!’” the blogger revealed. “I did, and sure enough our daughter entered the world immediately, accompanied by no embarrassing noises other than a couple of primal screams from my mouth.”

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It actually seems that one of Ree’s biggest rules when it comes to her marriage is not breaking wind in front of Ladd. On her blog, in fact, she boasted that she’d had “over nine months and a normal delivery without the slightest flatulent slip-up in front of [her] lover.”

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So this fart-free birth resulted in Ree and Ladd’s first child, a girl named Alex. The couple would later go on to have a further three children: daughter Paige and sons Bryce and Todd. But being a mom of four sometimes meant that Ree had to battle to get some alone time with her husband.

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In a blog from 2006, Ree even admitted that she’d do “anything for a date.” For instance, she revealed how, one New Year’s Eve, she had been desperate to join some other adults for dinner. After a long week on the ranch, however, Ladd had wanted simply to relax at home. But an opportunity to change her husband’s mind had later presented itself.

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That day, you see, Ladd had finally caught a skunk that had troubled the family for a month. He therefore had a deal for Ree. “Tell ya what, honey,” he apparently told her. “You dispose of that skunk carcass while I take my nap, and I’ll take you out tonight!” So that’s exactly what she’d done.

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Fortunately, though, Ree skimmed over the gruesome particulars on The Pioneer Woman blog. “I disposed of that skunk. I won’t share the details. It still haunts me sometimes. Sometimes I wake up screaming,” she revealed. But thanks to her efforts, Ree had secured her date.

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In another anecdote about her relationship with Ladd, though, Ree revealed how her husband had once seen her “guts.” The incident had actually occurred when she’d needed an emergency C-section to deliver one of their children. And, as usual, Ree had had some specific rules for her husband.

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During her first delivery, you see, Ree had ordered Ladd “to stay north of [her] shoulders.” So similarly she’d wanted her husband’s attention away from her abdomen while surgeons had conducted a cesarean to bring another of her children into the world. But it seems that Ladd couldn’t resist having a sneak peek.

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That labor actually appears to have been particularly challenging for Ree when it came to preserving her perfect image for Ladd. The expectant mom had, for instance, been prescribed magnesium sulfate. However, when a nurse had told her that the medication would likely make her vomit, her reaction had been, “Oh, please, please, no. Please, please, no. Do we have to do this?”

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So as Ladd rushed to be by his wife’s side, he arrived as the “drugs took hold,” Ree wrote in a 2007 blog. “And without any time to ask for a bedpan, a plastic bag or even an empty trash barrel, I projectile-vomited across the room.” She drolly added, “I’ll bet he’d never felt more in love with me than he did right at that moment.”

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Ree’s partiality for looking good for her man has little to do with trying to be the perfect farmer’s wife, however. In fact, the Drummonds apparently tend to stay clear of traditional gender roles. They instead prefer to divide their duties between them, supporting each other in their daily tasks.

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So when Ree is busy with her blog or television commitments, Ladd will hang up his cowboy hat and take over parenting duties. This may include ensuring that the kids get to their soccer practice or preparing them for life on the ranch. Sometimes, he’ll also help with Ree’s business, checking emails or helping her brainstorm blog ideas.

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And while the couple might seem a little unconventional from the outside, it’s this partnership that solidifies their bond. “They’ve always been a team,” Ree’s mom, Gerre, explained to The New Yorker. “And this, coming from a Western ranch culture in which the men have traditionally been the kings.”

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