‘The Pioneer Woman’: The Real Reason Ladd Drummond Cried Over Daughter Alex

Ree and Ladd Drummond have a close relationship with their four children Alex, Paige, Bryce, Todd, and their bonus son Jamar. So it is inevitable that there will be moments that bring them to tears. None was more surprising to both The Pioneer Woman star and her daughter than when Ladd was brought to tears during Alex’s graduation.

Ree and Ladd Drummond pose for the cameras.
Ree and Ladd Drummond | Monica Schipper/Getty Images

The story began 18 years earlier when Alex was born

After conceiving their first child during a honeymoon in Australia, Ree and Ladd Drummond adjusted to life as a newly-married couple on the ranch. Nine long months later, the couple welcomed their first child, which Ladd was sure would be a boy. He had grown up in a male-dominated world, and other than extended family members, the only woman on the ranch was his mother, Nan.

When the doctor announced to Ladd that his first child was a girl, he was shocked. Ree wrote in a blog post, “Not once in his twenty-seven years had it entered into Marlboro Man’s thinking that his adult, married existence would involve anything remotely containing the word ‘daughter.'”

This, in turn, led Ladd to call his mother and ask her a question that would come to haunt him 18 years later, “So what do you do with girls?”

Ladd Drummond held onto his mother’s wisdom as he raised his daughter

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In response to her son’s query, Nan gave him some words of wisdom that helped Ladd raise his daughter: “the same thing you do with boys.” Nan was the oldest child of a rancher and was her father’s primary ranch hand throughout her childhood. She understood her own capabilities and knew her granddaughter would help the Drummond ranch.

This advice would come in handy when the couple’s next child would also be a girl, followed by two boys.

Throughout their childhood and teenage years, The Food Network documented the family’s lives on The Pioneer Woman. Alex and Paige Drummond, with brothers Bryce and Todd, put in long days helping their father and learning the ropes of running a ranch. On other days, Ree homeschooled them, who also drove her brood to sports activities and co-op learning experiences.

Ladd’s words came back to haunt him during Alex’s high school graduation

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Ladd Drummond’s words upon the birth of his daughter came back to haunt him as the family celebrated the high school graduation of their firstborn. The ceremony was for 13 students total from the homeschool co-op. Each knew they would have over 2 minutes to speak to Alex during the ceremony. The couple decided Ree would speak first, followed by Ladd.

However, things did not go as planned. Unable to speak, Ree handed the microphone to her husband. Ladd began to cry. In her book “Frontier Follies: Adventures in Marriage & Motherhood in the Middle of Nowhere,” Ree wrote that Ladd cried because his heart had “broken open some eighteen years earlier when a creature called ‘girl’ had unexpected entered his life. He cried because he couldn’t believe she was moving on to college and because he would no longer be able to share the bond of the ranch with her on a daily basis.”

In the last moments of his speech, Ladd referenced the call he made to his mother on the day Alex was born. He told his daughter, “I love you, Alex. I think you’d make a top hand on anyone’s ranch.”

The Pioneer Woman airs new episodes Saturdays at 10 a.m. EST on The Food Network.