The Marlboro Man Behind the Pioneer Woman

Of course, you know Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. The Food Network star has an empire that spans television, magazines, social media, restaurants, retail, and even a hotel. We've told you a little bit about her four children, too, now that they're helping to film their mom's Food Network show while her normal TV show crew can't travel due to the pandemic. But how much do you know about The Pioneer Woman's husband?

Here's a look at Ladd Drummond, the husband of the Pioneer Woman, with some fun facts you may not know.

Who is the Marlboro Man?

When Ree Drummond first started her blog, The Pioneer Woman, she wanted to mention her husband Ladd, but also wanted them both to stay a little bit anonymous. So, when she wrote about him, she called him by his nickname "The Marlboro Man" instead. The nickname actually started about a year after they got married. They were at a friend's house and someone saw Ladd sitting on the porch. They asked "Who is that Marlboro Man?" and the nickname stuck.

If you're not familiar with the ad campaign, the Marlboro Man was the cowboy figure used in ads for Marlboro cigarettes. Ladd doesn't smoke and never has, Ree says, but he is definitely a cowboy, complete with hat and cowboy boots.

Ranching and Oklahoma

Ranching is the Drummond family business. The Drummond family is one of the biggest ranching families in the United States, with over 433,000 acres of land to their name. Ladd and his brother Tim own and run Drummond Land & Cattle Co. The cattle ranch where Ree, Ladd and their kids live has been in the Drummond family for five generations.

The Drummond kids - Alex, Paige, Todd and Bryce - all grew up going out to work on the ranch with their dad. In fact, Ree said that it was Ladd taking the kids out to work cattle that gave her the free time to start blogging.

Ladd loves being a cattle rancher and working with his family. In an interview at the 2018 NCBA Cattle Industry Convention, the Pioneer Woman's husband said, "Getting to work with the kids and having Ree around, and we're all on the ranch together, I mean it's truly just a blessing."

An Oklahoma Love Story

Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond wasn't always a pioneer woman. In fact, she was going to apply for law school in Chicago when she met Ladd. She had moved out of Los Angeles and was staying in her hometown of Bartlesville, Oklahoma when she decided to go out with some friends. They met up at this smoky bar and Ladd was standing by the bar wearing Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots; they started talking and hit it off.

Ree was sure they'd made a strong connection and that he'd call her the next day. Instead, it took him four months! But they went out for their first date the day after he called and shared their first kiss after the date. And though he may have taken his time calling her, Ree says that it only took two weeks for Ladd to say "I love you" for the first time.

After 23 years of marriage, their love story is still going strong. You can tell how much they care for each other just by watching them together and seeing the little things they do for each other. (One might actually use the word smitten to describe the two of them.) It's little things like Ladd introducing Ree when she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame; he's not much for public speaking, but Ree said he spoke in front of 1,400 people because he knew it would mean a lot to her.

One of their secrets to a happy marriage is always making time for each other. Ree says, "Ladd and I always wind up together on the couch in the evenings, no matter how busy we've been throughout the day."

The Dream Team

Ree and Ladd are definitely a team. When he introduced her at the Hall of Fame, the Pioneer Woman's husband noted that Ree helped out around the ranch when he needed an extra set of hands. But there was one time in particular when Ree "saved his bacon," Ladd said. "When our longtime ranch secretary quit, Ree saved my bacon by stepping up and running the ranch office by herself."

And Ree says that Ladd is the one who encouraged her to become a blogger, calling him her number 1 supporter; he has continued to support her through writing cookbooks, filming her cooking show, creating The Pioneer Woman magazine and opening multiple businesses.  She also told People magazine that Ladd is a source of inspiration. "Every good idea I've had has come from him," she said.

It was Ladd's idea to open a hotel in downtown Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Ree was originally skeptical. She said, "At first I thought, 'Do we really need another project? Let me sleep on it.' Then he broke ground while I was asleep."

And, of course, Ladd is one of Ree's biggest fans in the kitchen, and he inspires some of her cooking creations. One of his favorites is a sandwich Ree named after him. The Marlboro Man Sandwich is cube steak, onions, butter, Lawry's seasoning salt, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce served on a deli roll; it's a hearty sandwich made for a cowboy.

Watch: 12 King Ranch Casserole Recipes to Make this Week