What Fans Don't Know About The Stars Of Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper fans will tell you how much they love the show's house-flipping stars, Chip and Joanna Gaines. How did they manage to go from just your everyday married couple to the power pair of HGTV's most-watched program of all time? Here are a few facts you might not know about the network's favorite family.

They went to the same college (but never crossed paths)

According to the popular Hooked on Houses blog, Chip and Joanna attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Chip earned a degree in business administration in 1998 and Joanna got a diploma for broadcast journalism in 2001.

Funny enough, Chip and Joanna didn't actually meet until after graduation. According to POPSUGAR, introductions occurred when Chip brought his car into Joanna's father's automotive business to get his brakes fixed. "We met in the waiting area and hit it off immediately. He was genuinely engaging and he had such a sincere smile," Joanna said.

But it wasn't necessarily love at first sight

Speaking to POPSUGAR, Joanna admitted it took a couple months for her to open up to Chip. "At first, I couldn't believe how kind Chip was—he had kind eyes, and made me laugh a lot," she said. Eventually, she caved. "I knew he was the one because I knew I could trust him." As for Chip, well, he was head-over-heels in love from the get-go. "Her dad made the mistake of putting a pic of the family behind the counter at his [automotive] shop. I knew I'd marry her one day just by the picture on the wall," he said.

Joanna worked at an all-you-can-eat buffet

They may live the lives of glamorous TV stars today, but it wasn't always wine and roses for Chip and Joanna. In fact, in an interview with POPSUGAR, Joanna revealed her first job was at an all-you-can-eat buffet. "I still have an appreciation for buffet lines," she quipped.

They used to be broke

In an October 2016 interview with People magazine, Chip and Joanna opened up about the tough financial times they faced when they were starting out as small business owners. "I remember when we first got married the only money we had was what was in Chip's pocket," Joanna told the magazine. "He always had a wad of cash, but we were broke. If I needed to go grocery shopping it's whatever was in his pocket. That's how we paid the bills." She added, "We pretended that we were rich so my dad would be real proud, but we were broke."

Joanna's parents initially weren't thrilled with Chip's work

As many married couples will confess, winning over a spouse's parents isn't exactly an easy job. Just ask Chip, who confessed to People magazine that Joanna's father often nagged him about getting a "real" job. "Her dad spent the first two years of our marriage asking me if I was going to get a job," Chip remembered with a laugh. "I was like, 'I've got a job. I really like my job. I flip houses, I've got some rental properties, I do some construction—that's a job. It's a full-time deal.'" At the time of this writing, Fixer Upper was entering its fourth season on HGTV, so we doubt Chip has heard Joanna's dad complain in quite a few years.

They were discovered online

Ever wondered how Chip and Joanna first became famous? Well, they owe it all to a blog. "Our production company saw pictures [taken by Molly Winn] of one of our flip homes that was being featured on a popular blog, Design Mom," Joanna said, according to Hooked on Houses. "They contacted us through our website and the rest is history."

They never dreamed they'd become this successful

Even though Fixer Upper has millions of fans and Chip and Joanna run a number of profitable businesses, they're still flabbergasted by how famous and successful they've become over the last few years. "All of this sort of fell into our laps," Chip told People. "We were just living our life out here in little bitty Waco. We had dreams and aspirations like most folks, but this has really been something else."

Flipping houses was not plan A

According to POPSUGAR, Chip confessed his childhood dreams involved playing professional baseball and becoming a politician. Joanna wanted to be on television, but as a broadcast journalist. "I always dreamed of the idea of television but never thought it would have to do with design or renovations," she said.

They started flipping houses together as newlyweds

To say that flipping houses has been a major part of Chip and Joanna's marriage would be an understatement. According to an interview with POPSUGAR, the first property they flipped was the first home they bought as a married couple. "We started renovations on it immediately after we came home from our honeymoon," Joanna told the site. "All I could remember is the smell. The house was bad. Chip did all the construction, and I remember many nights he was on his hands and knees staining floors or laying tile."

She also confessed it took time for her to find her style aesthetic. "I was experimenting with my design style at the time and every room had a different theme," she said. "The living room was nautical themed with cheap sailboats and prints as decor. The kitchen was French themed with horrible mustard-colored walls. The den was cowboy themed for Chip, of course...horns, leather, and lots of cedar. It was all very interesting, to say the least."

Chip began flipping houses in college

Chip's experience flipping houses began in college when he teamed up with his parents on a project that would eventually help him become famous. "After that I was hooked," he told HGTV. "I started buying and selling homes and commercial properties." Joanna caught the bug later. "When I met Chip, he was renting and flipping properties left and right to college students," she said. "Once I caught on to the concept of buying something that is undervalued to then put value into it and sell it for a profit, I was hooked, too."

They're not perfect

Chip and Joanna may be known for their incredible style and craftsmanship on Fixer Upper, but that only came after years of learning valuable lessons—aka making mistakes. "For our first high-end flip, I chose a tan stucco color," Joanna told HGTV. "After it was painted, I pulled up to the house and it looked like a big yellow school bus."

As for Chip, well, he wasn't so perfect, either. "I wanted to surprise JoJo with a bold backsplash at a flip property," he told the network. "It took me all day to install this beautiful tumbled-stone backsplash, but when I went to grout it...it soaked up the color and turned maroon. It was horrible, and JoJo was surprised to say the least."

They don't own a television

Here's a fun and ironic twist for you: despite being the stars of one of HGTV's most popular shows, Chip and Joanna don't even own a TV. "We didn't buy a TV when we first got married, and we have yet to buy one," she told HGTV. Hey, fair enough.