Before Ree Drummond became a household name as the Pioneer Woman, she was gearing up to move to Chicago. That’s when she stumbled upon a cowboy in an Oklahoma bar.
At the time, Drummond was headed for the Windy City to go to law school. However, when she returned home from college for Christmas, fate had other plans. “That’s when I saw him—the cowboy—across the room. He was tall, strong, and mysterious, sipping bottled beer and wearing jeans and cowboy boots,” she writes in an article about how she met her future husband.
“And his hair. The stallion’s hair was very short and silvery gray—much too gray for how young his face was, but just gray enough to send me through the roof with all sorts of fantasies of Cary Grant in North by Northwest.” According to the Food Network star, he resembled the iconic “Marlboro Man.”
As Drummond describes, the two ended up talking for hours. Drummond was so enamored with the fourth-generation cattle rancher that she didn’t even catch his name by the end of the night. “I didn’t even know his name,” she writes. “I prayed it wasn’t Billy Bob.”
The next day, she thought he would surely call her, but surprisingly it ended up taking Ladd four months to ask her out. Despite the hiccup, the couple hit it off right away.
“We talked all through dinner; if I ate, I wasn’t aware of it,” she said about the pair’s first date. “We talked about my childhood on a golf course, about his upbringing in the country. About my lifelong commitment to ballet, about his passion for football, About L.A. and celebrities; cowboys, and agriculture. At the end of the evening, riding in a Ford F-250 diesel pickup with a cowboy, I knew there was nowhere else on earth I wanted to be.”
By the end of the evening, when Ladd walked her to her parent’s front door, she knew this moment was unlike any other she had shared with a previous suitor.
Yet, just as their night together was coming to an end, Drummond had a less than graceful moment and nearly tripped up the porch stairs.
Ree Drummond Falls in Love With Her ‘Marlboro Man’
“But someone caught me. Was it an angel? In a way. It was Marlboro Man,” she writes. “I laughed from nervous embarrassment. He chuckled gently. He was still holding my arms in the same strong cowboy grip he’d used to rescue me moments earlier. Where were my knees? They were no longer part of my anatomy.”
Although the night nearly ended in a disaster, it didn’t scare Ladd away. Just two weeks later, Ladd told Ree he had fallen in love, and the two were inseparable.
Ladd and Ree tied the knot in September 1996. Just nine-and-a-half months later, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Alex. The following year, their daughter Paige came along.
In 2002, they welcomed Bryce and Todd followed in 2004. Fifteen years later, in 2019, the Drummonds added their “bonus son” Jamar to their full house.