But have you ever stopped to wonder about her husband, Ladd Drummond? He’s very much present in her life, quietly and steadily supporting The Pioneer Woman in all her endeavors. Similarly, she supports him in whatever way possible, cooking his favorite meals and waking up early with him to feed the cattle in bone-chilling temperatures.
Ladd Drummond, also known affectionately as the Marlboro Man, hails from Oklahoma, just like The Pioneer Woman. He’s a rancher through and through, growing up in a family made up of prominent Oklahoma ranchers. When he’s not working the land, Ladd Drummond loves to spend time with his four kids, the family’s many, many dogs, and kicking back with a snack to relax with his wife.
Curious to know even more about Ladd Drummond? Read on to learn the untold story of The Pioneer Woman’s husband.
The Pioneer Woman met her husband at a bar
Today, dating apps and services are all the rage, helping people to find that special someone using the phone in their pocket or their laptop. But long before technology became the dominating force in romance, people used to meet in person, randomly and by happenstance.
That’s exactly how it happened for Ladd Drummond and Ree Drummond (then Ree Smith). There was no Tinder, no Bumble, no Match.com involved here. Nope. These two lovebirds met at a bar in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. As the story goes, The Pioneer Woman had moved back home to Bartlesville after living in Los Angeles. It was supposed to be a short stopover where she could catch her breath for a few months before moving on to Chicago. While there, she decided to meet up with a few girlfriends at a dive bar for a casual night on the town.
She spotted Ladd Drummond across the room and was immediately struck by his cowboy aesthetic. According to her recollection, he was sipping on a bottle of beer while wearing cowboy boots and a pair of Wrangler jeans. The two struck up a conversation while The Pioneer Woman tried to keep her eyes off of his "big and strong" hands, according to her blog.
The Pioneer Woman’s husband told her he loved her two weeks after their first date
Given his rough-and-tumble cowboy roots, you might be picturing Ladd Drummond as the strong, silent type with a hyper-masculine personality. But nothing could be further from the truth in many respects.
After the two met in a bar, Ladd Drummond didn’t call The Pioneer Woman immediately, according to a blog post on this topic. In fact, The Pioneer Woman was disappointed but moved along with her life, including building her plans to move to Chicago. A few months later, however, the phone eventually rang, with Ladd Drummond on the line. They went out to dinner the next day and shared their first kiss at the end of the night.
Despite their seemingly slow start, Ladd Drummond knew almost immediately that The Pioneer Woman was the woman for him. He told her he loved her just two weeks after that first date, And the rest is history. He wasn’t afraid to open up about his feelings, and the result is a long, happy, and incredibly fulfilling marriage and family.
The Pioneer Woman nicknamed her husband The Marlboro Man
If you’ve spent any time at all reading The Pioneer Woman’s blog, you’ll notice that she almost exclusively refers to her husband as "The Marlboro Man." It’s a curious but endearing nickname, to say the least. But where does this seemingly random nickname come from? And why has it stuck for so long?
In other circles, the Marlboro Man was a fictitious character used in advertisements for cigarettes in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. He was a strong, rugged cowboy with a handsome face and plenty of confidence. So what does all that have to do with Ladd Drummond?
Apparently, one of Ree Drummond’s good friends Hyacinth gave Ladd Drummond this nickname. It came about during a baby shower at Hyacinth’s house, during which Ladd Drummond spent time on the porch. As the story goes, one of the other guests arrived at the shower, spotted Ladd Drummond, and made a comment about the Marlboro Man sitting outside. The name just seemed to fit.
The nickname became even more important to Ree Drummond when she started her Pioneer Woman blog years later. She didn’t necessarily want to use her husband’s name in the beginning, so she referred to him by his nickname instead. Genius!
The Pioneer Woman’s husband wore cowboy boots to their wedding
And in keeping with his rough-and-tumble cowboy image, Ladd Drummond made what some might consider to be a unique wardrobe choice for his wedding to the Pioneer Woman. Instead of shiny black dress shoes, he wore cowboy boots.
The powerhouse couple got married in September 1996 at an Episcopal church. Ladd Drummond wore a black tuxedo, while Ree Drummond wore a classic white dress. But while Ladd Drummond was willing to trade in his flannel shirts and Wranglers for the special occasion, he wouldn’t go so far as to give up his beloved cowboy boots. He’s a cowboy, after all.
Their wedding was just the beginning of a long and happy marriage for the Drummonds, who have now been together for more than 20 successful years. The Pioneer Woman says they’ve had such a long marriage because they still prioritize spending time together, even though their lives are busy and hectic. They love to watch movies, including films from the 1980s, country westerns, and The Godfather series. They snack, relax, and just generally enjoy each other’s company.
The Pioneer Woman gets recipe inspiration from her husband
It’s no secret that the Pioneer Woman is a good cook — her show on the Food Network makes that exceedingly clear. But some of her creativity in the kitchen can be attributed to her family, since they are often the taste-testers for any new recipes she’s developing.
She particularly loves cooking for her husband, who often has a voracious appetite after working on the ranch from sunup to sundown. One of his favorite foods is a sandwich she even named after him: The Marlboro Man Sandwich. On her blog, she joked that he loves the sandwich so much that he’ll even start fasting for a few hours in preparation.
It’s made with cube steak, Lawry’s seasoning salt, onions, butter, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, and deli rolls. The Pioneer Woman says it only takes 30 minutes from start to finish, which includes both prep and cooking time. And, it’s easy to riff off her recipe — in fact, she encourages it — with suggestions like melted mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms, sherry, thyme, garlic, and more.
The Pioneer Woman’s husband is a loving dad to four children
After his tuxedo-with-cowboy-boots wedding to The Pioneer Woman, Ladd Drummond set off for Australia with his bride for their honeymoon. Ree Drummond has been very open about their approach to raising a family, writing on her blog that the two choose to take a natural approach and simply let nature take its course.
It’s no surprise, then, that exactly nine and a half months after their wedding, Ree Drumond gave birth to the pair’s first child — a little girl they decided to name Alex. After that came another girl, this one named Paige, followed by their first son Bryce. The duo welcomed their youngest child Todd in 2004.
Today, those once-tiny kiddos are now almost all adults. Even so, Ladd Drummond has remained an active dad all throughout their childhood and teenage years, taking the kids to sports practice and just generally making their lives run as smoothly as possible on the ranch. He does so much for the family that Ree Drummond has determined that his love language is "Acts of Service," aka he loves to do things for others. She even wrote an entire blog post about how caring and selfless the Marlboro Man is.
He’s the last person The Pioneer Woman expected to marry
Ladd Drummond is a bona fide cowboy — this isn’t some made-for-TV act the pair cooked up to help make the Pioneer Woman more successful. Nope, not even close. He grew up working on his family’s ranch in Oklahoma, cutting his teeth starting at a young age and learning the ins and outs of cattle ranching.
Ree Drummond, on the other hand, left the Midwest to explore Los Angeles, attending college at the University of California Los Angeles. Her dad made a good living as an orthopedic surgeon, which meant Ree Drummond and her three siblings could spend their time at the country club and taking ballet lessons (via The New Yorker). In other words, the two could not have been more different in their upbringings.
Even so, love has a funny way of striking you when you least expect it. Ree Drummond never anticipated marrying a cowboy, but that’s what sparked her wildly successful brand the Pioneer Woman. In fact, her nickname started as somewhat of a joke when friends realized she was planning on "roughing it" in the country with a rancher for the rest of her life — but it just stuck. And she’s likely very glad it did.
"I was literally THE last person anyone ever pictured moving to the country," she said in a blog post. "When I announced my engagement to a cowboy, my childhood friends couldn’t believe it."
The Pioneer Woman and her husband are still very much in love
Read even just a few blog posts on The Pioneer Woman website and you’ll quickly understand just how much Ladd Drummond and Ree Drummond love each other. The Pioneer Woman frequently gushes about her husband of more than 20 years. Even after two decades, it’s clear there’s still a genuine spark between these two.
Beyond that, The Pioneer Woman often takes to social media to express her love for her hubby (via Today). On his birthday recently, she posted a photo on Instagram with the caption: "Best lips in the world. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I love you, honey. Happy birthday." Clearly, she still loves to kiss him, even after all these years.
Similarly, the Marlboro Man sure seems to be head-over-heels for The Pioneer Woman. Though he has a very busy schedule as a cattle rancher, he always makes time to spend with Ree Drummond and he often does whatever he can to show her how much he loves her.
"He drives me places if he thinks it will help me. He helps me before I know I need help. He definitely helps me before I even ask," Ree Drummond wrote in a sugary-sweet blog post about her husband.
The Pioneer Woman’s husband introduced her when she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame
It was a big moment for the entire Pioneer Woman and Marlboro Man household when Ree Drummond was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Both Ladd and Ree Drummond are native Oklahomans, after all, and they take great pride in their home state.
Her loving husband had the honor to introduce The Pioneer Woman during the induction ceremony. But Ree Drummond said the honor was all hers. She posted a sweet Instagram photo and caption that read: "He spoke in front of 1,400 people, and I got a lump in my throat watching him backstage because I was so darn proud of him."
Even though Ladd Drummond is not comfortable on stage and he’s far from an experienced public speaker, he made the introduction because of how much he loves his wife (via Today). Plus, she was pretty tickled with the fact that he wore a tuxedo, the first since their wedding in 1996.
The ceremony also reaffirmed The Pioneer Woman’s love for living on a ranch and the great state of Oklahoma. "Oklahoma awakened a creative spirit I never knew I had," she said, according to the Tulsa World. "Oklahoma gives me strength. And, God willing and the creek don’t rise, it will be my home forever."
His family is a big part of Oklahoma’s ranching history
Though Ree Drummond came from a well-off family herself, her wealth really, really grew when she married into Ladd Drummond’s family. You see, Ladd Drummond comes from a long line of cattle ranchers, dating back as far as the late 1800s and early 1900s, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Frederick Drummond was the first to arrive in Oklahoma after emigrating from Scotland and marrying a woman from Kansas. Their offspring, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other descendants have all played a role in establishing Oklahoma’s rich ranching history.
Today, The Pioneer Woman and the Marlboro Man own more than 433,000 acres in Oklahoma, which makes them one of the largest landowners in the entire United States. In addition to their cattle ranching revenue and all their other business ventures, the Drummonds also get a hefty fee from the U.S. government, which pays millions of dollars each year to keep wild horses and donkeys on some of their land (via Tulsa World).
The Pioneer Woman’s husband loves to eat (especially her cooking)
The Pioneer Woman’s husband is a hard-working rancher who burns a lot of calories on a daily basis. It’s a very physical job, after all. To make up for all that labor, he loves to eat, especially anything that his wife The Pioneer Woman cooks up.
One of his favorite desserts, for example, is a special chocolate pie with a puddling-style filling, according to Southern Living. The pie is made with either a store-bought or homemade pie crust (you can even use an Oreo crust if you like!), bittersweet chocolate, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and a few other ingredients, according to the recipe posted to The Pioneer Woman’s blog. Ree Drummond suggests serving it with whipped cream, which adds a rich creamy finish, but the Marlboro Man would rather eat his pie plain. The Pioneer Woman herself likes to add a little of this and a little of that — whatever she has on hand in the pantry!
"In no universe would he ever, ever consider adorning his chocolate pie with anything," she wrote on her blog. "To him, that would mar the beautiful simplicity of this luscious dessert and he sees absolutely no logical reason for it."
The Pioneer Woman’s husband loves dogs
There are dog owners, and then there are dog lovers. And even beyond that, there are those people who you might describe as dog-obsessed. Well, Ladd and Ree Drummond definitely fall into the obsessed category.
Both of the Drummonds are huge animal lovers, but they especially love dogs. Over the years, they’ve taken in dozens of stray dogs who simply showed up on the ranch. Some of the dog breeds they’ve owned have included yellow labs, German shepherds, and basset hounds, according to The Pioneer Woman’s blog.
And as much as Ladd Drummond loves these furry friends, apparently, they love him just as much — if not more — right back. "It’s exactly like it was when we had babies, where I do all the work and then he shows up and they go straight to him," Ree Drummond said, according to US Weekly."They can hear his spurs, and they just go running to him. So no, there’s no fairness. They associate me with food, and I do meet their needs. They love me, but if I’m petting them and scratching their ears and Ladd shows up, they’re out."
Even so, as much as he loves them, there’s one thing Ladd Drummond won’t budge on: Dogs are not allowed to sleep in the humans’ bed. Ever. Not even while he’s away on business.
The Pioneer Woman’s husband is helping make Pawhuska, Oklahoma, a tourist destination
It’s hard to imagine a celebrity or influencer who has had more impact on a previously unknown destination (save for maybe Chip and Joanna Gaines down in Waco, Texas, of course). After all, The Pioneer Woman was just a blogger when she started out. But of course, her success has really blossomed from there.
The Drummonds are making the teeny town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, (population 3,400) a bona fide tourist destination, thanks in large part to their fame. But the couple is also investing in the town and helping to spruce it up and make it more appealing to travelers — and Ladd Drummond is leading the charge. He helped renovate the lodge where The Pioneer Woman’s cooking show is filmed, and he oversaw the building of a hotel in downtown Pawhuska. The two also opened The Mercantile, which houses a store, a deli, and a bakery.
People come from all over the country — and the world — to visit tiny Pawhuska, just to see all of these various Pioneer Woman buildings and enterprises. The couple has really put the small town on the map in a big way.
The Pioneer Woman’s husband works super hard on the ranch
While you might imagine that the Drummond’s play up their cowboy vibe just a bit for TV, nothing could be further from the truth. While Ree Drummond may seem like she has it easy, she’s actually an incredibly hard-working and driven businesswoman (all that success she’s had is no coincidence!)
Similarly, her husband works his tail off on the ranch each and every day. All farmers and ranchers know that there are no vacations, no holidays, no sick days, and no breaks when taking care of livestock and land is your livelihood. Ladd Drummond is no exception to this rule. Even when it’s 10 degrees below zero — especially then — he wakes up before dawn to feed the cows.
The Pioneer Woman could not be prouder of her hard-working man, writing all about his daily duties on her blog.
"There’s no sitting by the fire and sipping hot chocolate — at least not until the work is done," she wrote. "The dedication is unwavering … there isn’t really an uptick in complaints during times like these. They just go about their daily work of feeding, often riding in a feed truck by themselves for hours on end, and they don’t stop until the last animal is accounted for and fed."