The Untold Truth Of The Pioneer Woman's Kids

From beloved blogger to Food Network host, memoirist to children's book writer, home cook to owner of a local mercantile, Ree Drummond (aka the Pioneer Woman) seems to be living the dream on her gorgeous Oklahoma ranch, home to her strapping husband Ladd (known to long-time fans as Marlboro Man), her basset hounds, her massive, envy-worthy kitchen, and her five kids.

Drummond has talked about her brood on her blog and show for years, but with lockdowns due to the pandemic, viewers got an even closer look at the "pookie heads" turned young adults who have since become her film crew, taking the place of the British team that usually films the episodes of her beloved cooking show. 

But how much do you really know about the Drummond kids? Which one is an avid snowboarder, which one graduated high school early to play football, and which one does Ree claim is her favorite? We've got the inside scoop on these questions and more.

She has four biological children and one foster child

Ree Drummond married her husband Ladd in 1996, and just over nine months later, she had her first kid, Alex, whom she dubs her honeymoon baby. Now-24-year-old Alex was soon followed by 22-year-old Paige, 19-year-old Bryce, and 18-year-old Todd, according to Ree's site.

But while four kids is already a handful, she and Ladd didn't stop there. Over two and a half years ago, according to Drummond's site, they began fostering Jamar, their "bonus kid," who is just a month apart from Bryce and played football with both boys before joining the brood.

"Fostering a kid was never something Ladd and I pursued or felt called to do, but Jamar's circumstances presented themselves to us in a way we couldn't ignore," Ree says. "So, long story short, all six foot five inches of him showed up at our house one afternoon, bag in hand, ready to move in."

Ree began speaking about Jamar more publicly once he turned 18

Even stalwart fans of Ree's may have missed the addition of Jamar Goff to the family. Because of strict laws precluding people from posting about foster kids on social media — and Ree's desire to let Jamar tell his own story — she kept him mostly out of the limelight. It wasn't until 2020, after Jamar had turned 18, that Ree began writing more about him, particularly in her book, "Frontier Follies."

"After a while, Jamar was like, 'OK, I feel like I'm being hidden from the world,'" Drummond tells Today. "So when he turned 18, I did write about him in the book. And I shared the essay with him before the book was published to make sure he was OK with it."

In the excerpt of the book she shared on her site, Ree recalls her first meeting with Jamar — which happened the day he moved in. While he seemed a bit taciturn, at first, she wooed him with a cookie. These days, he's an iron-clad member of the clan.

Her kids have gotten more involved in her show of late

With Covid protocols keeping her UK-based team from coming to Oklahoma to film her Food Network show, Ree tapped her at-home brood to help! While according to her site, her kids have always been "naturals on camera," it wasn't until lockdown that she began asking them to step behind it. At various points in the show, each of her kids — and even her new son-in-law — have stepped in to help, from filming to completing some of the more boring cooking tasks, she writes on Instagram.

Aside from saving her from the boredom of, say, piping veins on doughnut hole eyeballs, Ree says that having her kids film makes the show even more true-to-life: a bit silly, sure, but an accurate portrait of what it's really like on the ranch. Ree loves teasing her kids while they work, something that she notes second-born Paige only pretends to hate.

Her oldest daughter and oldest son both went to college in Texas

Ree's kids were all homeschooled, a process she detailed at length on her website as she was going through it. She went so far as to provide free resources to other homeschoolers and even dedicating a section of her site to the pursuit. But of course, you can't homeschool your kids forever, and her oldest, Alex, graduated from Texas A&M University in 2019.

But Alex wasn't the only Drummond child to attend college in the Lone Star State. Her younger brother, Bryce, followed his sister to Texas, enrolling at the University of North Texas, where he plays quarterback. Ree writes that Bryce was so motivated to play for the team he actually graduated from high school early so that he'd be able to join them for spring practice. And since Alex and her new husband live in Dallas, they were more than happy to move little bro into his new dorm room.

Alex is married

Yep, that's right: Ree's firstborn child is married as of May 2021, when she wed her college sweetheart Mauricio Scott on the ranch where she grew up (via Instagram). 

According to Ree's site, Alex and Mauricio met at college, and they knew each other for years before Mauricio finally popped the question in August 2020. Mauricio was Alex's "longtime 'friend'-turned fiancé," according to Ree, and while the Food Network star asserts she told her kids not to get married before they were 28 years old, according to PEOPLE, she's thrilled Alex disobeyed her because it allowed them to welcome Mauricio into their family.

Alex and Mauricio moved to Dallas, where Mauricio is from, after graduation, and they live there to this day, though travel may be on the horizon for the pair. According to Mauricio's Instagram page, he loves adventure, posting evidence of past trips to far-flung locales including Peru, Singapore, Myanmar, and Thailand.

Alex isn't much of a cook

Alex may have inherited her looks from Mama Ree, but according to the Food Network star, she didn't inherit her mom's love of cooking. "Alex did not like to cook at all," Ree tells Us Weekly. "She always loved to eat, but she didn't have any interest. So I just took my cues from that."

But Alex may be developing a bit more of an interest in cooking now that she's so far from her mom's kitchen. She apparently calls Ree "a lot" with her questions. "She made brisket and it was really tough," Ree tells Us Weekly. "I said, 'Well, put it back in the oven and keep going until the fork can pull it apart.'"

Unlike other kids encountering the same issues, Ree jokes, her kids at least never have to go online to get answers to their cooking queries — unless, that is, they want to take a gander at their mom's blog.

Paige goes to college in Arkansas

Unlike her siblings Alex and Bryce, Paige didn't opt to journey to the Lone Star State for college. Instead, the second-born Drummond child decided to attend the University of Arkansas. It was there that she joined a sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and gained a gaggle of new sisters, according to Southern Living. During her freshman year, Paige even hosted a sorority retreat back on the ranch where she grew up, with Ree herself posting a pic on her Instagram with the playful tag #kappakappabasset. Walter, the family's beloved basset hound, "was honored to be a part of their sorority, if only for a day," wrote Ree. We can only assume the snacks were on-point.

Aside from antics with her sorority sisters, according to Ree's site, one of Paige's favorite pastimes is snowboarding. Paige apparently loves to spend time shredding the slopes in Vail, Colorado with her family.

Ree and Paige have a special bond

We all know Ree would never say if she actually had a favorite child (though she did quip in a road trip interview that baby Todd held that coveted spot). That said, she does seem to have a special bond with second-born Paige, detailing just some of the many things she loves about her daughter back when Paige was just 15 (via The Pioneer Woman).

Now that her daughter has moved to Arkansas, Ree feels her absence deeply. "​​Red nose, trembling chin, tight throat, aching heart," Ree wrote on Instagram. "Leaving your child at college is no picnic. I've done it once before and thought maybe this time would be a little easier. I think it's a little harder." 

It also apparently had massive repercussions on the vibe in the house. "When Paige went to college in 2018, all bets were off," Ree tells Closer Weekly. "It was suddenly, very noticeably, a man cave, where ranching and football were (and still are!) the primary focus." Ree recalls one evening that illustrated that point, telling Us Weekly, "We were eating. They were talking about who was going to play center on the team and the offensive coach was saying this about him. And I said, 'I'm going to Tulsa to get my hair done tomorrow,' And it was just silence, just crickets. They gave me an obligatory pause, and then they kept talking about the ball."

Bryce and Jamar are football stars

The Drummond family is full of football fans, with Ree claiming that football regularly takes center stage as the dinner table conversation of choice, according to Us Weekly. In 2016, Ree even wrote about her husband's decision to graduate from coaching little league to coaching a high school team. It's perhaps no surprise, having grown up in such an environment, that her kids were bit — hard — by the football bug.

After playing all through his childhood and high school years, Bryce was recruited in 2021 to play quarterback for the University of North Texas (via The Pioneer Woman). And he's definitely not the only football player in the family. Football was part of what brought Jamar into the Drummond household, as he and Bryce met one another on their high school team. Jamar, too, has taken his love of football collegiate, playing linebacker at the University of Central Oklahoma, according to FanBuzz.

As for little brother Todd? He's taken big bro Bryce's spot as the quarterback for their high school football team, so maybe he'll follow in his older brother's footsteps when the time comes for him to fly the coop.

Bryce loves veggies

Growing up with a mom like Ree, it's no surprise that all of her kids are big foodies. But while Paige is purportedly a pro at making her mom's sheet cake recipe and Jamar loves the "weird, off-the-beaten-path supermarket items" that Ree says she's never had to share with her family before (including stevia-sweetened root beer, which he's apparently allowed to drink as much of as he likes ... provided he never finishes the last bottle), Bryce is the one she called her "best eater" in her 2019 cookbook, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier" (via CheatSheet).

According to Drummond, Bryce "has always inhaled green vegetables like they were Sour Patch Kids." He is a particularly big fan of her broccolini recipe, according to the cookbook, and to hear Ree tell it, he's not the only one.

"The mixture of butter, lemon, and soy is curiously delectable!" she writes in a description of the recipe. Sounds like she loves the broccolini too.

Todd is named after Ladd's deceased brother

The baby of the brood, Todd, is the one that Ree (perhaps half-jokingly?) called her favorite in an impromptu road trip interview with her daughter Paige (via CheatSheet). But whether he actually has that coveted role or not, Todd does boast one special trait: He bears the name of his dad's brother, who, Ree writes, was killed in a car accident when he was 18 years old.

"Tragic, life-altering, terrible," Ree wrote. "Anyone who's lost a loved one to a car accident knows how much it rocks a family."

Todd was the oldest of the three Drummond brothers, followed by Tim and finally Ladd, aka Ree's husband. Ree claims that both Ladd and Tim were closer to Todd than they were to one another. Giving her youngest son his deceased uncle's name is a beautiful tribute to the man her children never met but that her husband recalls with deep fondness and love.

Todd and Alex have a special bond

While all of Ree's kids seem to get along well with one another, there's no denying that Alex and Todd — the oldest and youngest of the brood, respectively — have a special relationship. 

In one Instagram Live video, the pair couldn't quite agree who their mom's favorite was. Southern Living reports that Todd "immediately" pointed to Alex, while Alex pointed right back at her baby brother. After a bit of light-hearted disagreeing, the conversation turned, instead, to the bond between the two and "the oldest-youngest connection" they claim to share.

Alex certainly seems to take special care with her baby brother, filming a video trivute for his 17th birthday and revealing her nickname for him: Nunkie (via The Pioneer Woman). It must be rewarding for Mama Ree to see that she's raised kids who really seem to harbor deep love and affection for their siblings.

She makes her kids hug a lot

If the show, Ree's blog, and the kids' Instagram profiles are to be believed, her brood of five really do get along swimmingly. But of course, they aren't perfect. Ree shares on her site that her kids — like any kids — sometimes bicker and argue. And while in one Instagram Live video with Paige back in 2020, she claimed, at first, that she doesn't really like to get involved, it was thanks to Paige that Ree recalled a simple solution that works every time: She makes them hug.

"I make them hug a lot, because that actually diffuses it," she said, acknowledging Paige's assertion that hugging was her weapon of choice in reducing bickering and fighting among members of the brood. Ree added that sometimes, the awkwardness of hugging diffuses the tension so adeptly that the siblings don't remember what they were fighting about in the first place.