What ‘The Pioneer Woman’ Ree Drummond Was Really Like Before She Was Married to Ladd Drummond

We know Ree Drummond best as the “accidental country girl” with The Pioneer Woman Food Network show, and she’s gained quite a following over the years. From her delicious and easy recipes to her banter she puts forth for the camera, we’ve learned a lot about the star’s life on the ranch and husband, Ladd Drummond. But she wasn’t always dreaming of life in Oklahoma — and it turns out she was like a completely different person before meeting her husband one fateful night at a bar.

Here’s what Ree Drummond was really like before being The Pioneer Woman we all know and love today.

Ree had aspirations of being a journalist or a ballet dancer

When Ree was young, she never wanted to be a famous cook. In fact, she had a totally different life for herself planned — and it had nothing to do with the culinary arts at all. The New Yorker reminds us Ree grew up in Bartlesville, an affluent city in Oklahoma where she studied ballet as a young child and grew up around wealth. Her father was an orthopedic surgeon and her parents belonged to a country club. And when it came to her career of choice, Ree moved away to Los Angeles to study broadcast journalism. As she told the publication, “I wanted to be Jane Pauley.”

She didn’t stick with that career plan long, though, as she then switched her major to gerontology, which is the study of old age. Ree also called this a “completely random major” and didn’t seem too set on this plan, either, but she was happy to be in Los Angeles to sample all that the city had to offer that the small city of Bartlesville couldn’t.

She dreamed of city life before meeting Ladd

Ree may not have been too sure about her major, but there was one thing she was set on — and that was moving to the city. Country Living reports in the first issue of The Pioneer Woman Magazine, Ree recounted the time she went home to Oklahoma to study for the LSAT and immediately began making plans to move to Chicago. “Living at home with my parents had made me miss city life and start getting serious about Chicago. Based on my brief time at home, I knew that an urban environment was where I belonged,” she wrote.

As for why the city captured her heart, she went on to explain the joys and wonders that she felt big city life could have offered her at the time. “I missed the conveniences, the coffee shops, the take-out galore and the little nail salons … I missed the anonymity of living in a city—the ability to run to the market without running into my third-grade teacher,” she wrote. Of course, we know now she never made it out to Chicago, and it was all because she met her husband at a bar while visiting home. Once they went on their first date, she knew she was ready to be in the relationship with the “Marlboro Man,” as she calls him, for life.

Ree also went through a number of boyfriends and called herself ‘boy crazy’

Ladd might want to feel lucky that Ree stuck with him in her youth, as she’s explained in the past that she was crazy about boys and dating when she was younger. “I’d always been boy crazy. From lifeguards at the pool to the caddies traipsing the golf course, cute boys were simply one of my favorite things. By my mid-20s, I’d dated practically every category of cute boy under the sun,” Country Living reports she wrote. And Ree also recounted to People the many boyfriends she had while living her life in Los Angeles during her school years.

Fans of Ree’s can’t imagine her with anyone other than Ladd, of course — and while she may have always been looking for the next best thing as a youth, it seems her current marriage is just perfect.

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