Gwen Stefani never expected to wind up married to Blake Shelton, but it may have come as an even bigger surprise that she'd wind up loving her country star husband's home state of Oklahoma.

"To be able to escape to Oklahoma, a place that I don't think I would ever have gone to," she marvels in a new cover story interview with People. "When I met Blake, it was like — that's when I felt home."

Stefani grew up in Anaheim, Calif., and her career had never really taken her into the worlds of country music or the American south.

"Going to Oklahoma was just like being introduced to a whole world I didn't know about," Stefani continues. "I'm not really a dirt person or a bug person. I don't like that much humidity, all that. But you sort of get over it all because it's so beautiful there ... I guess it's just, nature and God is all right there."

When she first started spending time in Oklahoma, she took it as an opportunity to relax and lay low, and she didn't understand why Shelton preferred to work on the land so much.

"Now I get why he loves to be on the tractor, why he loves to grow things, why he likes to work really hard," she says. "We used to go there, and I would be like, 'I don't wanna do anything. I'm tired. Let's just lay here and eat pizza.'"

"But now we get there and we're both ... we're working. We gotta get those sunflowers planted. We gotta make the zinnias happen. And we are just constantly working. It's a different kinda work," Stefani recounts.

Gardening has been a big part of Stefani's life in Oklahoma for quite a while now. Last spring, she explained her favorite new hobby on an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

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