Texas Cattle Rancher's Wife Converts to Veganism

CBS News

A Texas cattleman made a surprising choice when he found himself torn between his business and his marriage.

Tommy Sonnen's relationship with his wife Renee became strained after she began spending more and more time with the livestock. She ended up lovingly naming each cow and even began singing to them with her acoustic guitar. Soon after, she became a vegan who couldn't deal with living alongside someone who was raising cattle for meat. This internal conflict finally came to a head one day when the couple tried to address their issues.

"He was just going to get out of the business or our marriage was going to be over," Renee explained to CBS News. "It wasn't working," Tommy says. "And I said, 'I'm going to sell the whole herd.' She goes, 'Well, if you're going to sell the whole herd anyway, why don't you just sell 'em to me?' And I said, 'Sell 'em to you!?'"

Tommy was bewildered by his wife's suggestion to buy his business out from under him. "He looks at me like, 'You have lost it! You are crazy!'" Renee says. "All of a sudden, he was fixin' to be bought out by his wife."

"I didn't appreciate it," he admits. "But it was growing pains." Surprisingly, instead of denying his wife's business proposal and breaking up their relationship, Tommy decided to give it a shot. He tried becoming a vegan, and ended up liking the way he felt without adding meat into his diet. Soon after, his wife raised enough money to buy the business and converted it into the Rowdy Girl Vegan Farm Animal Sanctuary. Now, Tommy works for his wife to help take care of rescued cows, pigs and horses.

Although Tommy changed his entire life to help save his marriage, he says "can't think of a thing" he would change about his wife - just like a true Texas gentleman.

See more of their story in this video from CBS News.

recommended for you

Texas Cattle Rancher's Wife Converts to Veganism