Who are Chip and Joanna Gaines?

Known for being the stars of HGTV’s reality show “Fixer Upper”, and for building an empire from scratch, Chip and Joanna Gaines are a married couple who started off with a small home renovation and redecoration business based in Waco, Texas. Having become just as popular for their highly-publicized personal lives as for their professional achievements, Chip and Joanna are household names and recognizable practically wherever they go.

Early 2000s

Although it may come as a surprise, some media outlets have actually compiled Chip and Joanna’s relationship timeline, dating all the way back to their first meeting in 2001.

Despite both of them attending Baylor University, their paths didn’t cross until Chip visited the automotive shop owned by his future father-in-law. He saw a family photo behind the counter, and later claimed that just by looking at it, he knew that one day he’d marry Joanna.

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In an attempt to meet Joanna, Chip returned to the shop several times. In an interview, he shared that his friends turned his recurring visits into a running joke, saying that nobody got their brakes done as often as he did. Finally, Chip’s visits proved fruitful when he bumped into Joanna in the shop’s waiting area while she was working in the office. Needless to say, they hit it off immediately, and she agreed to go on a date.

Making a bad impression, Chip was 90 minutes late for the couple’s first date and didn’t even offer Joanna an explanation. Instead, he simply asked where she wanted to eat. “He had so much confidence,” Joanna wrote in their joint memoir. “Only Chip could be an hour-and-a-half late and have no one mad about it.” The outing went well, but Chip had made a fifty-dollar bet with his friend to see who could go the longest without calling their date again, and so didn’t call Joanna for months.

When the lovebirds had been dating for about a year, Chip popped the big question, telling Joanna that they’d be going to a private concert – instead, he took her to a shopping center, where he proposed before getting her ring designed at a jewelry store. Afterwards, they went out to dinner with their parents and sisters to celebrate the happy occasion.

One year later, the historic Earle Harrison House mansion served as the venue for the big day, and almost immediately after tying the knot, the couple bought their first house to flip. The renovations began straight after their honeymoon, with Chip doing all of the construction work and Joanna helping out with other details, including keeping an eye on the budget.

Business Ventures & Children

16th October 2003 marked the grand opening of The Magnolia Market, the duo’s first retail store. Joanna explained in an interview with Baylor University, that opening a store had always been one of her dreams, which Chip suggested she make happen.

In case juggling a business and home renovation projects wasn’t enough, from 2004 to 2010 the couple expanded their family with four new additions: their first son Drake, their first daughter Ella Rose, second son Duke, and second daughter Emmie Kay.

Magnolia Market closed in 2005, with the building becoming the business headquarters for Magnolia Homes. Chip is quoted as saying: “It [working together] really helped to forge a solid marriage that has served us well, not only in business, but in life in general”. After years of tireless work in the real estate, home renovation, and home décor fields, “Fixer Upper” premiered in May 2013, and instantly became a smash hit by pulling in almost two million viewers.

The couple opened Magnolia Market at the Silos in 2015, venturing into retail once again with more favorable results. The retail complex featured a wide range of bakeries, restaurants and shops, bringing in up to 35,000 people a week in 2016.

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That same year, the pair launched a line of wallpaper designs, furniture, and paint colors, and opened a bed-and-breakfast establishment named The Magnolia House. They also published the first issue of their quarterly lifestyle publication, The Magnolia Journal, plus The Magnolia Story, their first book written together, was also published in the same year. Readers were thrilled by details about the attractive couple’s biggest milestones and shared moments, as well as the juicy relationship. “We seem to give each other energy. We function better together than we do apart,” Joanna said, adding that she and her husband have always worked together, to overcome any issues.

2017 Onwards

When Chip and Joanna were enjoying the peak of their fame, divorce rumors began circulating the internet in 2017. Thankfully, Chip shut down the online speculation, replying to a fan via Twitter: “Won’t ever happen! You can take that to the bank! #loveOfMyLife”.

Months later, the rumors started once again, when the business moguls announced that the fifth season of “Fixer Upper” would be the last. In a blog post, they dispelled the unease by saying “Our family is healthy and our marriage has honestly never been stronger”, adding that they needed a break in their hectic schedules to dedicate more attention to their children and businesses.

Soon afterwards, news of their home and lifestyle brand collaboration with Target became public. Hearth & Hand with Magnolia became yet another successful business venture to add to their professional portfolio, and is still sold in Target stores to this day.

In January 2018, Chip and Joanna practically broke the internet with their biggest announcement to date. Chip posted an adorable snap of the two comparing “baby bumps”, captioned “Gaines party of 7.. WE ARE PREGNANT”.

The photo was liked over a million times, and it was speculated that “Fixer Upper” had been put on the backburner so the couple could try for another baby without the stress of filming and promoting the show.

Their new restaurant, Magnolia Table, opened in Waco on 26th February 2018, specializing in breakfasts, and using some of the eggs, vegetables, and fruits that Joanna grows in her personal garden. With hundreds of five-star reviews from happy customers, Magnolia Table is definitely here to stay.

Crew Gaines, the couple’s third son, was born two and a half weeks early on 23rd June 2018. “He made an unexpected entrance into the world – which is fitting, given he was a sweet surprise from day one,” Joanna gushed in an adorable Instagram snap, thus dispelling rumors that the couple cancelled their show to try for another baby.

In April 2019, Discovery, Inc. confirmed in a press release that they would be launching a joint multi-platform media venture with Magnolia. This would later turn into the Magnolia Network, and the general public was astonished to learn that Chip and Joanna had no plans to slow down their multi-million dollar franchise, despite the arrival of their fifth child.

August of the following year brought with it the happy news that “Fixer Upper” would be rebooted exclusively on Magnolia Network. According to Chip, the couple missed the show despite continuing to work on renovation projects after it was pulled. “I don’t think either of us anticipated how the show would become such a permanent fixture in our hearts,” he said.

June 2021 brought with it Chip and Joanna’s 18th wedding anniversary, which the brunette beauty celebrated with a heartwarming video tribute on Instagram. The couple also marked the occasion with a Super Soul sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, sharing with the world how they bring out the best in each other.

Other topics discussed were their network and other businesses.

Show Trivia

After the official announcement that “Fixer Upper” would be returning to Magnolia, internet detectives went hunting for information on juicy show gossip and trivia. It helps that Jaime Ferguson and other former clients shared the program’s secrets with media outlets.

According to Jaime, the homeowners can only keep the furniture if they buy it. The finished product contains wares from Magnolia Market, and although homeowners are welcome to purchase whatever they want, everything else is removed. Joanna does try to incorporate as much of the couples’ existing furniture as she can, but it’s not always possible.

Usually, the house is picked out before filming, even though the beginning of each episode sees Chip, Joanna and the happy couple checking out properties in Waco.

Breaking: Texans Chip Gaines & Joanna Gaines are saying goodbye to their very popular show Fixer Upper. And it's not a hoax.Details: http://on.nbcdfw.com/YdEPNh7

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David Ridley, who appeared in season three, told Fox that he’d already bought his home before being selected to appear on the program. However, this is partly to be expected, as all “reality” shows have scripted elements to add some entertainment, and satisfy time constraints.

One of the more surprising facts is that HGTV doesn’t pay for renovations. The couple is responsible for funding the demolition, while the network covers Chip and Joanna’s talent fee. With that said, it’s a good deal, as Chip and Joanna’s services cost thousands of dollars. Originally, HGTV also covered the cost of one big item – anything from an expensive couch to a fancy dining room table. It’s not clear if things will be the same with Magnolia Network.

To participate in the show, couples must be looking for a house within 40 miles of Waco, but that’s not all: they also have to pledge at least $30,000 to go towards renovations. There may be more requirements, but if there are, we haven’t heard anything just yet.

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According to the small blog Hooked on Houses, the homeowners are ordered to stay away from the house during the renovation process; this way, the results come as a genuine surprise to each couple. However, Jaime said that his two-minute reveal actually took eight hours to film, meaning that the sequences are very heavily edited. Sadly, the homeowners don’t get to keep the giant picture of their new house either.

Controversy

Despite their squeaky-clean public images, Chip and Joanna have been heavily criticized on occasions, and not just for the supposed fake elements on “Fixer Upper”. Perhaps the most public controversy was when Buzzfeed and other news outlets reported that the pastor at the Antioch Community Church, frequented by the Gaines’ and their children, opposed same-sex marriage.

According to Buzzfeed, the pastor “takes a hard line against same-sex marriages, and promotes converting LBGT people into being straight”.

The entrepreneurs hit back at the rumors in a statement, saying that they themselves didn’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community in the series, and that HGTV had a track record of including “people from all walks of life” in its shows. However, eagle-eyed netizens noticed that they didn’t confirm or deny their pastor’s personal views.

The allegations clearly struck a nerve, however, as Chip went on to write a blog post saying: “We care about you for the simple fact that you are a person… It’s not about what color your skin is, your sexual orientation, gender, nationality, or faith”. Nevertheless, it remains unclear if their pastor is indeed homophobic and believes in conversion therapy; then, his private views are just that.

It’s also reported that contracts for homeowners to participate in the show became stricter after some began advertising their renovated properties on Air BnB, and charging a premium fee.

Although Chip and Joanna couldn’t take any legal action against the homeowners wanting to cash in on their association with “Fixer Upper”, a spokesperson for the couple told The Waco Tribune: “We want to ensure that [the true intent of our show] doesn’t get lost in this new vacation rental trend”.

As the show’s premise is based on finding “the worst home in the best neighborhood”, one disgruntled homeowner claimed that she and her family felt deceived by Magnolia Realty and the city of Waco. “It’s like the Wild West here,” Kelly Downs said in an interview, complaining about the commotion coming from the bars and the store across the street from their house.

Things only got worse when a drunk driver smashed through the Downs’ front window, and the couple added that they felt harassed and intimidated in their new neighborhood. However, the accusation doesn’t hold much ground: as the homes on “Fixer Upper” are purchased before filming, it’s unclear if the Gaines’ picked the home out for the Downs family or not.

Last but not least, although Chip and Joanna wax lyrical about Waco, and have helped transform the city into something of a tourist destination, some residents are less than happy that their formerly sleepy town is now full of life. Waco’s newfound popularity has led to parking issues, escalating home prices, and local tax hikes, but not much can be done, given that “Fixer Upper” isn’t going away anytime soon.

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