Fans of Ree Drummond are likely familiar with her husband, Ladd, whom she has affectionately referred to as “Marlboro Man” since she started her wildly popular blog in 2006.
Ladd makes regular appearances on Ree’s Food Network show The Pioneer Woman, and though he’s a man of few words, PEOPLE caught up with the couple for the cover of the latest issue, on newsstands now. Here are 5 things you probably don’t know about the soft-spoken cowboy who stole Ree’s heart.
1. Cattle ranching is in his blood.
Ladd co-owns Drummond Land & Cattle Co. with his brother Tim, and they make up one of the top ranching families in the United States. The ranch you see on Ree’s show is located just west of Pawhuska, Okla., and has been in the Drummond family for five generations. The sprawling property is home to much of his extended family (they even have a small cemetery adjacent to their home for family members who have passed). Ree, Ladd, and their children, live in the same house that he grew up in—just a few miles away from the Lodge where she films her show.
2. He’s passed the ranching lifestyle down to his own children.
The early morning physical labor you see Ree’s family doing on the show is not put on for the cameras—it’s their livelihood, and all four of their children have been raised to work the land. “I really credit Ladd and the ranch for keeping the kids grounded,” Ree tells PEOPLE in the latest issue, on newsstands now. “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.”
And though he grew up in a male-dominated household with two brothers (“I don’t think it occurred to him that we wouldn’t only have boys,” Ree laughs), he’s raised his daughters, Alex, 20, and Paige, 18, the same way as his sons, Bryce, 15, and Todd, 13. “There’s no distinction between girls and boys on the ranch,” says Ree. “Both in our family, and my brother-in-law’s family. They’ve all really just been thrown into the mix and I think they had a pretty unique set of circumstances growing up that I hope has equipped them for their futures.”
For all the details on Ree Drummond’s life on the ranch and adjustment to fame, plus more of our Food Faves, pick up PEOPLE’s Food Issue, on newsstands now.
3. Despite his wife’s culinary chops, there’s a lot he won’t eat — and his favorite food is exactly what you’d expect.
“I’m kind of a picky eater, so I’m not the best guy in the world to cook for,” says Ladd. “I’m a man who just really likes meat and mashed potatoes.” And though Ree was a vegetarian when she met him, that all changed very quickly. “Ladd cooked me a steak sizzling in butter, and it was all over,” she says.
4. He’s a huge movie buff.
“He’s watched every movie that’s ever been made,” says Ree, who herself is a walking encyclopedia of pop culture knowledge. “All my movie line references are not falling on deaf ears.” When they’re not working, the pair’s favorite way to unwind is with Netflix on the couch—though he “doesn’t believe in binge-watching” (one of the biggest points of contention for the couple).
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5. Ree considers him a “very modern father and husband.”
Ladd was the one who encouraged her to start her blog, which she has now parlayed into a TV show, over a dozen books, a new lifestyle magazine, a homeware line at Walmart, and a restaurant and retail store in Pawhuska. Even as she’s transitioned from ranch housewife to business mogul, Ladd’s support for her career has been unwavering. What started with getting the kids out of the house for a couple of hours so Ree could focus on writing has turned into his holding down the fort for weeks at a time while she travels the country on her book tours and making television appearances. “The optics of our marriage are that it is very traditional,” says Ree, “But in many ways, [it] is anything but traditional.”