On TV, she is an all-American woman, just trying to provide for her rugged husband and their children. But in real life, The Pioneer Woman’s Ree Drummond is also host to countless skeletons in her closet. But now, her family’s darkest secrets and biggest scandals are coming out in big ways — and fans are catching on.

Melanie Haupt — who wrote her doctoral dissertation in 2012 about food and culture — said that her research into The Pioneer Woman, of whom she was once a super fan, helped her realize there was more than meets the eye when it comes to the 48-year-old. “I think a lot of people know she’s a phony,” Melanie tells In Touch exclusively. “The family that she married into, there are buildings with their names on them at one of the state universities in Oklahoma. This is not some boot-strapping story. This is a woman who married into an enormous amount of privilege. I think people thing there’s a disengenuousness there to that story, that this was just kind of an upstart little ‘oops, I’m accidentally famous’ [story], when really if you dig a little more deepy, there’s been a lot of intention behind this trajectory of hers.”

And her “intention” isn’t the only thing she’s hiding… Keep reading to learn more about the scandals that have plagued Ree and her family.