The Untold Truth Of Chip Gaines

While Chip Gaines might give off ease and comfort in front of cameras, the spotlight doesn't come naturally to him. The "Fixer Upper" star sat down with his wife, Joanna Gaines, and spoke with Oprah Winfrey, as you do, on "Super Soul" about their lives after becoming famous. While he said that Joanna was so grounded that she stayed true to who she was, Chip had a harder time with fame. "I lost a part of myself," he admitted, calling the experience sad. "I would say it took me a year or two while I was still filming to try to grapple with what exactly it was that I was losing."

It certainly seems like he's found his footing since then, because Chip and Joanna have become iconic thanks to their HGTV hit, which later blossomed into their Magnolia empire. While he has business savvy and she has an artistic eye, they've blown up in the home improvement world largely because of their relationship. They operate as such a compelling team and showcase what a happy marriage and successful business can look like when combined into one life that fans can't get enough of what they have to offer.

They raise their five children with a solid work ethic and thoughtful household rules in the humble tradition with which they started out their own lives. Chip and Jo were broke when they first started out, but they've come a long way financially and have an impressive net worth now. Plus, they're not short on new ideas. 

Chip's childhood

While Chip Gaines is now a Waco resident, the entrepreneur grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico until his family moved to Colleyville, Texas when he was young. Gaines attended Baylor University, located in Waco, after being recruited by a baseball coach. But Gaines' baseball career didn't last as long as he hoped. "As God would have it, I was not destined to be the next great baseball player, but I was destined to enjoy Baylor University and the dear friends that I met there," he told Baylor Magazine in 2015. But Gaines admitted that he felt untethered with the loss of baseball and grieved the lost dream.

After his 1998 graduation from Baylor, Gaines' girlfriend at the time was the reason he stayed in Waco. She was still finishing her degree which meant that Gaines was rooted in Waco for another two years. While the relationship didn't last, it was very significant to Gaines in the larger plan of his life. "It's very similar to the baseball story," Gaines recalled. "I look back on it from what might have been God's perspective, and He knew He had to handcuff me at least short-term ... What would have happened had I not had a serious relationship that kept me in Waco?" What indeed? He would never have met Joanna Gaines and would never have taken the path he did. HGTV would be short one of its brightest couples and "magnolia" would mean nothing more to us than the flower.

Chip Gaines sold everything under the sun

"Fixer Upper" was by no means Chip Gaines' first go-round in the world of business. Or, to speak Texan, it wasn't his first rodeo. "When my parents said to work for what I wanted, I didn't hear that as a negative," Gaines said to Baylor Magazine. "They forged in my heart and mind that you work first and the reward comes afterward." That certainly lays the foundation for a solid work ethic.

He began a lawn business and then quickly saw a market for laundry service for Baylor University students, where they pre-paid for a wash and fold. "During Welcome Week, I had plastic tables set up at the larger dorms where we signed up 300-400 kids," Gaines said. "That was the big light bulb moment where I knew there were bigger opportunities that were slightly outside of the box and slightly impossible, to some extent." On top of that, he began selling fireworks and, true to Gaines' entrepreneurial spirit, one stand quickly grew into many stands.

But Gaines started getting warmer on his career path when he saw the money to be made by flipping homes. As Texas Monthly points out, Gaines isn't "a licensed contractor, but in Texas, as long as you outsource the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC, you don't need to be." Gaines told Baylor Magazine that he made $30,000 on his first flip, a project that had only taken him a matter of months. This was obviously his newly chosen path.

Chip Gaines met Joanna at her dad's tire shop

It was at Joanna Gaines' family business where Chip Gaines first met her. Chip frequented the shop to get his brakes fixed and had noticed the family photo on the wall where Joanna's dad proudly showed off his three beautiful daughters. Chip told Today's Willie Geist that when he first started talking to Joanna at the shop, he had to do a lot of the conversational lifting, since she was so shy. "My personality and my heart are right on my sleeve," Chip said. "It took a little bit of dancing as I was pursuing Jo for her to kind of open up little by little." Chip admitted though that the more of herself that Joanne revealed, the more he loved her.

About a year after they started dating, Chip claimed that he was taking her to a concert when, instead, he drove Joanna to a jewelry store. They wrote about the engagement night in "The Magnolia Story," where Joanne said she walked in and saw the jeweler wearing an apron. "You're here to design your ring," he said to her. After that, Chip drove her to dinner where both of their families were waiting to celebrate with them, as they wrote in their book. They married in Waco, Texas, in 2003 and if anyone's curious about how adorably young they both looked on the big day, Joanna shared a throwback photo on Instagram. "It's been a good fifteen years [Chip]," she captioned. "Here's to fifty more."

Their first ever fixer upper

Chip and Joanna Gaines had to start somewhere, and their first few homes were less than lovely places. Right around the time they got married, they decided to move in together and since Chip owned some rental properties, they picked one of his vacant investments to call their own. Unfortunately, it was in pretty rough shape when they moved in. "We were so excited to be moving into our first home together, but honestly, the place was a complete mess," Chip told Apartment Therapy.

Oddly, the experience was formative for both of them in shaping what would eventually become the Magnolia brand. "At the time, [the house] was far from Jo's dream, but it became the first of many home renovations that we'd do together, and it ignited a real passion in both of us," Chip added. The success of transforming that rental property meant that when it came to their family home, they were both experienced and confident in designing a space for their family.

Joanna also got nostalgic about another one of their early homes. In August 2015, she shared a throwback photo on Instagram of herself and Chip sitting on the front porch of a rundown home. "I remember crying when Chip said we were moving in- it was dumpy and it smelled bad," Joanna admitted in the caption. "We fixed it up and fell in love with it." Joanna said that the 800 square foot home has remained their favorite house among all of the places they've lived.

They opened Magnolia Market in 2003

Were a contemporary shopper so inclined, they could dash out the door this instant, head to Target, and pick up home decor designed by Joanna Gaines. Her line goes by the name Hearth & Hand and features the streamlined, natural tones we've come to expect from her tasteful eye. But way back when, if a consumer wanted something chosen by Joanna, they'd have to mosey over to Waco, Texas, to 3801 Bosque Ave., to be specific. She and Chip Gaines opened Magnolia Market in October 2003 after years of dreaming about it, and Joanna told Baylor Magazine that it was Chip who urged her to pursue it.

"For 10 years, I had a notebook where I would write all my dreams and other business ideas. When we married, Chip suggested I make one of those actually happen," she explained. "That was kind of like my first dream — a retail business. I was terrified because I was not a risk taker, but obviously, Chip isn't scared of anything."

Joanna shared a sweet throwback photo on Instagram in October 2015 of herself and Chip at their store. "I was extremely grateful for the forty customers that came in that day to support us," she wrote. "Now 12 years later I'm completely blown away. THANK YOU for all the support, we feel it and are so humbled and grateful!" Joanna was referring to their new and improved version of their first store called the Magnolia Market at the Silos, which is a massive production in downtown Waco.

Chip Gaines never stops making jokes

Chip and Joanna Gaines haven't just worked on expanding their business. They've also focused on their ever-growing family and boast a brood of five: two daughters named Ella Rose and Emmie Kay and three boys named Drake, Duke, and Crew. While speaking with Today's Willie Geist, Joanna joked that it's Chip especially who loves the idea of having a big family. "When I'm 50, Chip's going to want more kids," she quipped. Chip joked that the births of their children have led to major publicity for the family and, subsequently, better sales. He joked that when business goes down, they can always increase hype by having another baby. Joanna joked that there was no limit to how many children Chip could see himself having.

Drake, their oldest, who was born on May 4, 2004, actually has a sweet story as to how his parents chose his name. Chip and Joanna had their honeymoon in New York City, a favorite place of Joanna's, at the Drake Hotel, per Parade, and the beloved hotel offered inspiration when they welcomed their first child.

If there's any wonder what it's like to have Chip as a dad, the couple shared a video on YouTube for Father's Day in June 2020 of Chip reading dad jokes to his five kids, whom he called "expert dad joke evaluators." The kids squirmed appropriately when he asked, "Did you hear the rumor about butter?" Wait for it. "Better not spread it." Yup, it's terrible, and Chip laughed his head off.

Fixer Upper started and Chip freaked out

In 2011, after Joanna and Chip Gaines closed their first Magnolia Market, Joanna contributed some material to the popular blog post Her post was about designing a home with their children in mind. "When you're empty nesters, it is going to look different than when you're a mom of four kids," Joanna told Baylor Magazine in 2015, looking back on the post. Of all things, High Noon Productions came across the post and became intrigued.

Hilariously, it was Chip who was deeply skeptical about the filming crew. In an interview with Today's Willie Geist in 2019, Joanna said that when she told Chip about the production company's interest, he said, "Do not call that person back. It's a scam." Chip joked that he always prides himself on his instincts, so it was extra funny to both of them that he was so skeptical of the biggest break of their lives.

When it came to the reality of filming, Joanna said that Chip "was the worst" because he completely froze. Joanna confessed that, since Chip has the gift of gab, he would be the star of their reality show. "I'm really introverted," Joanna admitted, adding that she hoped Chip would do most of the talking. Instead, on the first day of filming, Chip had an anxiety attack and had to walk behind the cameras to calm down. Not the easiest first day!

Chip Gaines will always love Waco

While Chip Gaines didn't grow up in Waco, Texas, the "Fixer Upper" star has come to love the town and wants to inspire others to love it too. Waco is most widely known for the deadly siege between the federal government and the Branch Davidians, led by David Koresh in 1993, with 76 people dying, including Koresh.

The Gaines are bringing a different story to Waco and the town played a part in their early relationship too. "I was drawn to [Chip] when he said he wanted to stay in Waco — that there's something about this town he really likes," Joanna told Baylor Magazine. "I always felt that about Waco as well." Chip battles both nostalgia and potential when he looks at Waco. "I hope and pray to some extent that Waco stays the way it is, but everybody wants it to improve and evolve into a better version of itself," he told Baylor Magazine, saying that in the decades to come, Waco will probably look completely different.

High Noon Productions executive Katie Neff told Texas Monthly that part of the Gaines' success came from the fact that Waco was such an unexpected place. "When you hear 'Waco,' you don't think about [interior design]," she said. "I was just really impressed by the fact that they were so in love with the town and so dedicated to it — and so dedicated to making a more beautiful place to live in." Neff also noted that there were many homes with potential, so the market was ripe.

Chip and Joanna's marriage

While Chip and Joanna Gaines share five children and a booming business, their long-lasting marriage has taken work. Joanna joked with People that they are definitely a case for opposites attracting. Not only that, but when "Fixer Upper" was picking up, the demands caused some friction in their marriage. "Early on we had our fair share of fights and figuring out where the boundaries were," Joanna said. "He's good at the big picture, and he's good at risk. I like the details." This sentiment was reiterated when HGTV general manager Allison Page observed them working together. "They have the kind of marriage and family you'd want," she told Texas Monthly. "It's not perfect. He does silly things, and they occasionally trip over their words or sweat on each other. They are the best of what's real in life."

Rumors circulated in 2017 that the couple was splitting up. One Twitter user expressed their frustration: "I'm so sick of these 'stories' claiming [Joanna] and [Chip] breaking up. Leave this couple alone, they are wonderful together." Chip jumped in and responded to this tweet. "Won't ever happen.. you can take that to the bank!" he tweeted back, adding the hashtag "#loveOfMyLife."

But Chip had to learn things too. "We can both go at it," Chip said in "What Makes a Marriage Last," (via Showbiz CheatSheet). "I've got a fiery personality, and early on, I would bark at her. She once said to me, 'Just because you're the loudest doesn't make you right.'" Sounds like a valuable lesson.

Chip Gaines doesn't like pushing his faith on others

Chip and Joanna Gaines are practicing Christians and Chip shared how intrinsic his faith is to his life. "For me, [faith] changed everything," Chip said to Fox News in 2017. "It's a part of who I am. I can't separate the two." While it means everything to Chip, he's not a fan of pushing his belief on anyone else. "I try not to rub it in anybody's face," Chip added. "I'm not real boisterous about it but people seem to find out about it just through the way that Jo and I live our lives."

Chip and Joanna spoke to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 and shared about how they connect with God, per The Christian Post. Joanna shared that the concept of religion is less appealing to her and that God presents as a creative force, which is why she has no interest in proselytising to others, since the experience would be different for everybody.

Chip shared how he speaks to God. "God shows up for me in very practical real ways. Like I work, that's how I meet with God," Chip said. "When I sweat, and when I'm lonely, I'm sad, I'm mad about something. I mean, when you chop firewood, or [on] demo day. You don't have to have any talent to be good at demolition. You just want to break stuff." Clearly, for someone who works with his hands, it's a fitting way to feel connected to a higher power.

The end of Fixer Upper meant several new things

In need of a much deserved break, Chip and Joanna Gaines announced that they were going to stop filming "Fixer Upper" in September 2017. The announcement, a huge loss for HGTV fans, coincided with their new collaboration with Target under the brand name Hearth & Hand with Magnolia. On top of that, their fifth kid, a son named Crew, arrived in June 2018, per Us Weekly, so it wasn't like they stopped filming to put their feet up. "Neither of them makes a business decision without consulting the other," a source told the outlet. "They feed off each other's creativity and are open to try something new. Their faith keeps them grounded and grateful for the success they've found."

But fans didn't have to grieve for their favorite show for too long. In July 2021, Chip and Joanna announced that they were launching their own network, Magnolia Network, through Discovery+, and part of the big surprise was that Joanna and Chip decided to bring back a reboot of their show. "The day we wrapped our final episode of 'Fixer Upper,' we really believed it was a chapter closed. We knew we needed a break and a moment to catch our breath. But we also knew we weren't done dreaming about ways to make old things new again," the couple said in a statement, per Deadline, admitting that they didn't realize how much they missed the show themselves.

They addressed scrutiny over Fixer Upper

It hasn't been all smooth sailing for Chip and Joanna Gaines. The couple has faced some scrutiny during their years of fame but, to their credit, they've addressed it all head-on. In 2016, BuzzFeed published an article claiming that the church they belong to, Antioch Community Church, is run by pastor Jimmy Seibert who is outspoken against gay marriage. The article also noted that at that time, "Fixer Upper" had never featured a gay couple. The couple later landed in hot water when Chip's sister claimed that she was against teaching critical race theory in Texas, The Hollywood Reporter notes. To be fair, Chip and Joanna have never made such comments.

"Sometimes I'm like, 'Can I just make a statement?' " Joanna told The Hollywood Reporter in June 2021. "The accusations that get thrown at you, like you're a racist or you don't like people in the LGBTQ community, that's the stuff that really eats my lunch — because it's so far from who we really are."

Chip also had something to say and was proud to note that their company was consciously committed to hiring and representing a diverse group of people to accurately represent their audiences and the makeup of America. "As an American white male, it's hard to be perfectly diverse," Chip admitted. "In our own company, we've got nearly 700 employees, and one of our biggest passions is making this group represent all people." They've made huge strides with Magnolia Network in making sure the TV personalities are diverse.

Chip and Joanna's impressive net worth

When it comes to diversifying revenue streams, this couple knows what's up. Chip and Joanna Gaines are reportedly worth $50 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, and it's no wonder. Of course, there's "Fixer Upper," and back when they were working with HGTV, they were making approximately $30,000 on each renovation project plus money from the network, Parade notes. Now, they have Magnolia Network, which features "Fixer Upper," in addition to several other programs. They own and operate Magnolia Realty and they have their collaboration, Hearth & Hand, with Target.

Chip and Joanna also have jumped in on the lucrative possibilities through Airbnb. Travelers can book a vacation at the Magnolia Home, Hillcrest Cottage, located in Waco, Texas. As Airbnb states, the home can accommodate 12 guests, who will receive a discount to shop at Magnolia Market and eat at Magnolia Table. "Unwind and connect with loved ones in this beautiful home renovated, designed and owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines," the listing states. The location tends to be booked up months in advance and a night can cost around $900 U.S. dollars.

Their net worth doesn't just come from home products and vacation rentals. They've also published several books. In 2017, Chip published the charmingly self-deprecating book, "Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff" and in 2021, he published "No Pain, No Gaines: The Good Stuff Doesn't Come Easy." Joanna also has several books under her belt, so there's no shortage of talent between the two.

Chip's charitable contributions

Even when it comes to charitable endeavors, Chip Gaines isn't one to take the standard route. In August 2021, after growing out his hair, Chip announced on Instagram that there was a reason for his shoulder-length tresses. "WOW.. turns out some of y'all really don't like my hair! But I can take it because I've been growing it out for a good reason," he joked. Chip was raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and by the time he shaved his head, he had raised more than $315,000 for the hospital, USA Today wrote.

While that was a very interactive contribution, Chip and Joanna give back continuously and in ways that don't involve haircuts. In 2018, Magnolia Foundation contributed an undisclosed amount to The Cove, an organization that helps homeless students in Waco, Texas, according to KWTX. Their donation went towards offering emergency housing for students under 18 years of age.

Even on "Fixer Upper," the couple gets creative with ways to help people. They collaborated with football star Tim Tebow to help the Copp family find a home to accommodate their family, including two sons with disabilities. "I feel like if we put our heads together, we might be able to figure out how to make this house work for this family," Chip said, per HGTV. Clearly, their creative and entrepreneurial sides are also used to help those around them, especially in their beloved Waco community.