Ree Drummond and her husband Ladd Drummond have been married for over a quarter-century and share five children
In a tribute to her husband on their 25th wedding anniversary in 2021, The Pioneer Woman star penned a loving homage to her husband.
"It's been a wild adventure, and we've experienced the joys, pains, ups, downs, triumphs, sadnesses, and unexpected twists and turns. (And kids! 🤓)," she captioned part of the post. "That whole 'love' thing — the love that deepens, expands, and becomes more firmly rooted over time — is definitely there."
Over the course of their nearly three-decade marriage, the two have accomplished a lot, including raising five children, and each having a successful career — oftentimes in front of cameras. Ree credits their shared faith as the key to a prosperous marriage.
“This isn’t the answer for everybody, but we go to church together every Sunday,” she told PEOPLE in an exclusive cover story in 2017. “It’s something that we do no matter what comes up. No matter how tired we are. I’ve seen the times that we’ve slipped away from that, and disaster is lurking in the bushes.”
So who is Ladd Drummond? Here’s everything to know about Ree Drummond's husband.
He met his wife at a bar
In between moving from Los Angeles to Chicago, Ree moved back home for a few months to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. She linked up with some of her childhood friends for a night out at a local dive bar around Christmas, which is when she first spotted the Wrangler-wearing cowboy from across the bar.
As he sipped on a beer, it was his hands that caught Ree's attention. “They were big and strong,” she shared on her blog, The Pioneer Woman. They then got to talking and she felt an instant connection.
Ree thought she’d never see him again after meeting him
After what she thought was a great conversation, Ladd didn’t call Ree in the days that followed. She recapped on her blog that she was gearing up to start her new life in the Windy City four months later when a call from Ladd came through.
He picked her up for dinner the following evening, and the pair kissed her on her parents’ front porch as the night concluded. Things progressed quickly after that, with Ladd saying “I love you” two weeks later while on his ranch.
“He was just completely different from all the boys I’d been crazy about,” Ree told PEOPLE in 2017. “I don’t mean to make it sound like Maria and Tony in West Side Story, but I was just sort of like, ‘Oh boy!’ My knees were weak.”
The pair got engaged a year and a half later.
They married in 1996
On Sept. 21, 1996, the pair wed in an Episcopal church ceremony.
Ree shared on The Pioneer Woman that two memorable moments from their big day were when her brother Mike got up on stage and belted out “Elvira," followed by Arizona State, Ladd’s alma mater, beating Nebraska, who were two-time defending national football champions at the time.
“Ladd and his college friends were in the men’s locker room almost the whole reception to watch the game. They were so excited,” she shared.
He is a cattle rancher
Ladd is a multi-generational cattle rancher on his family’s ranch, Drummond Land & Cattle Co., which he co-owns with his brother Tim. Headquartered in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, the ranch was passed down from their father Chuck.
Citing records, PEOPLE reported in a 2017 cover story that the Drummonds were one of the top 20 land-owning families in the country, with a combined 400,000 acres.
He and Ree share five children together
The children grew up around the Food Network cameras, giving viewers a glimpse into their lives, including working on the family ranch.
“I really credit Ladd and the ranch for keeping the kids grounded,” Ree told PEOPLE in 2017. “They’re appreciative of the opportunity to be on TV, but they don’t look for it or get excited about it. It doesn’t matter if the crew is here or not, the same work has to go on."
Now an empty nester, Ree can frequently be seen taking her children’s spot, giving Ladd a helping hand.
"Kids please come back, Dad's making me go to work with him now," she once captioned a photo of her and Ladd, adding the hashtags "#emptynest #nofilter #yesterday'smascara #okaybye."
He and Ree raised their kids in Ladd’s childhood home
Ree and Ladd raised their children in the house Ladd grew up in on their ranch.
The house, which was nearly half a century old, needed extensive repairs, however, which ultimately led the Drummond family to move.
"It wasn't a charming 50-year-old house. We loved raising our kids in the house, but it had foundation problems and had developed a few problems that were going to be pretty overwhelming to fix," Ree previously told PEOPLE.
He's nicknamed the “Marlboro Man”
Over the years, Ree has affectionately and publicly referred to her husband as the “Marlboro Man” — a nickname that originated from one of her good friends.
"Years ago, when my best friend Hyacinth had her third child, I threw a baby shower for her and invited a bunch of people who had never been to my house,” she told The Pioneer Woman. “Ladd was on the porch, and as guests were arriving, I heard one of them, Carla Brown, say, 'My gosh, who is that Marlboro Man sitting on the porch?' "
As she was developing her blog years later, she wrote about her husband under that pseudonym.
"Way back then I thought you should never reveal your real name on the internet, so I just referred to Ladd as Marlboro Man."
He was in an accident while fighting a wildfire
In March 2021, Ladd and his nephew Caleb were responding to a fire near their family farm, each driving a Himmat Fire Truck.
Caleb was driving southbound while Ladd was driving northbound. According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol report, the trucks collided “head-on” due to “high winds on a gravel road” which decreased visibility.
The report noted that neither was wearing a seatbelt and Caleb was ejected from the truck, sustaining head, arm, leg and internal injuries. Ladd denied medical treatment on the scene.
“This was partly because he wanted the paramedics to focus on Caleb, partly because he was still a little stunned by the accident, and partly because cowboys don’t like to admit when they’re hurt,” Ree later wrote on her blog. “After Caleb’s ambulance left, Ladd drove himself to the hospital in Pawhuska, thinking he'd just quietly get checked out.”
Ladd broke his neck in two places and was transferred to a Tulsa hospital to have surgery.
“For both Caleb and Ladd to be okay — injured, yes, but fixable — after seeing the condition of their trucks makes me not want to spend one second complaining. I can't even be mad at Ladd for driving himself to the hospital with a broken neck. I'm just so glad I'm home with him,” Ree wrote.
He and his wife own several businesses in their hometown
In addition to taking care of their sprawling ranch, the pair also own several businesses in their hometown.
In 2016, Ladd and Ree opened a bakery, restaurant and retail store called The Pioneer Woman Mercantile — dubbed “The Merc.”
“When I envision putting a plate of my food in front of a customer or guest, it really takes it to a whole other level because I want them to feel like their trip here was worth it,” Ree previously shared with PEOPLE.
She added that she really believes in the project and works hard to make sure it lives up to expectations. “It’s part of our souls at this point.”
Located three doors down from The Mercantile, the couple also owns an 8-bedroom hotel called the Boarding House, which opened its doors in 2018.
Each room has a unique theme — the boudoir, the butterfly room, the drugstore room, the emerald room, the photograph room, the prairie room, the ranch room and the tack room, which are all decorated accordingly.
While Drummond had a hand in creating the room service menu to include classics like biscuits and gravy, Ladd took the lead on renovating the three-story, 1920s building.
“I have had almost zero to do with it aside from an occasional ‘Oooooh, neato!’ ” Ree wrote on her blog. “The helpfulness of my contributions can not be underestimated.”
The Drummonds also own P-Town Pizza — a pizza joint established in 2018, where they occasionally have date night — plus Charlie’s Sweet Shop, an ice cream and candy shop opened in 2019 in memory of their Basset Hound, Charlie. The pair also opened The Lodge — the site where Ree films her show — to the public, thanks to Ladd.
“The Lodge is 18 miles out of town on an unpaved road. I thought somebody would get a flat tire,” she shared on her blog. “But Ladd pointed out that people are coming all the way to Pawhuska to visit our store and restaurant. He wanted to expand their experience.”
He encouraged his wife to start her blog
While raising a family on the ranch in the mid-2000s, Ladd encouraged his wife to start a blog by taking the kids off her hands for a few hours so she could spend time writing. Launched in 2006, Ree saw it as a way to stay connected with her mom who lived in Tennessee.
The blog, which chronicled her life on the ranch and eventually grew into posting recipes and lifestyle tips, took off. By 2011, her blog was amassing 23 million page views per month.
This catapulted her career, expanding into a TV show of the same name in 2011 on the Food Network, and spanning cookbooks, children’s books, a lifestyle magazine and a homeware and apparel line, to name a few.
“The optics of our marriage are that it is very traditional,” she previously told PEOPLE. “But in many ways, [it] is anything but traditional.”
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