‘The Pioneer Woman’ Ree Drummond Recalls the First Time Ladd Said ‘I Love You’

The Pioneer Woman star Ree Drummond and Ladd Drummond have been married since 1996. Here’s what the Food Network cook shared about the first time Ladd said he loved her.

Ree Drummond thought she was dreaming when Ladd shared his feelings

Ree Drummond with her family | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine
Ree Drummond with her family | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine

Ree thought she was dreaming when Ladd first said he loved her. In her book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels she says she was so enthralled by him that she thought she imagined his profession of love.

“I was half asleep—tipsy on his musky fumes—when I felt Marlboro Man gently nuzzle his face toward my ear,” wrote Ree. “Taking a deep breath, he exhaled, his chest falling—the words ‘I love you’ escaping from his mouth so quietly, I wasn’t sure whether I’d dreamed it.”

Ladd Drummond said he loved Ree after just 10 days of dating

Ree and Ladd had only known each other for 10 days, but Ladd was so smitten by Ree that he just had to tell her how he really felt. Ree liked the fact that Ladd wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable.

I’d known him just 10 days, and it had just left his mouth in an unexpected whisper. It had been purely instinctive, it seemed—something entirely unplanned. He clearly hadn’t planned to say those words to me that night; that wasn’t the way he operated.

He was a man who had a thought and acted on it immediately, as evidenced by his sweet, whispery phone calls right after our dates. He spent no time at all calculating moves; he had better things to do with his time.

Ree Drummond, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

Ree Drummond says she froze after Ladd said ‘I love you’

Although Ree heard the words many women long to hear, she was taken by surprise. She admits she had no idea what to say. She described the moment as “beautiful” and “warm,” but she had difficulty responding the way she felt she should in that moment.

“When we held each other on that chilly spring night and his feelings had come rushing to the surface, he’d felt no need to slap a filter over his mouth,” wrote Ree. “It had come out in a breath: I love you. It was as if he had to say it, in the same way air has to escape a person’s lungs. It was involuntary. Necessary. Natural. But as beautiful and warm a moment as it was, I froze on the spot.”

After a certain point, Ree was afraid her silence had been too long and that she missed her window. She decided the only way to respond was to hold Ladd tighter. “Once I realized it had been real—that he’d actually said the words—it seemed too late to respond; the window had closed, the shutters had clapped shut,” wrote Ree. “I responded in the only way my cowardice would allow: by holding him tighter, burying my face deeper into his neck, feeling equal parts stupid and awkward.”

As we know now, Ladd and Ree’s love story has a happy ending. You can see the whole family on the Food Network Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.  

Follow Sheiresa Ngo on Twitter.