Chip and Joanna Gaines gained megafame on their hit show “Fixer Upper,” yet despite their countless hours of reality TV airtime, there’s still a lot you don’t know about this couple.
And who better to delve into these brand-new revelations than Oprah Winfrey? Fresh off of her bombshell interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the queen of media sat down with Chip and Jo on her new Discovery+ series, “Super Soul,” where the couple opened up private nooks and crannies of their lives that overturn much of what we’ve known so far.
Here are a few new facts you might not know about Chip and Jo, like where they’re from (not Texas), why their first date was nearly their last, and which one of them struggled more with all the attention that came with “Fixer Upper” fame.
1. Neither of them is a Texas native
While these two may have made a name for themselves renovating homes in Waco, TX, neither one is actually a Texas native.
“I was actually a transplant,” Chip says. “I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico—so, for the first about seven, eight years of my life. And Jo was in fact born in Kansas. But we both ended up in Texas.”
It’s a good thing they both made it to Texas, because if Chip and Jo had met in New Mexico or Kansas, “Fixer Upper” would have been a very different show.
2. Chip was a self-proclaimed ‘player’
In this interview, Winfrey asks about Chip and Joanna’s seemingly perfect relationship. As it turns out, their marriage is just about as adorable as it seems, but Chip gives Winfrey a little look into their lives before they met.
“I was really a bit of a player,” Chip says. “I don’t mean to go on and on about my love life, but Jo was a bit of a … like, the librarian type.”
However, it seems that once these two got together, Chip’s “player” phase was over, and their different personalities evened each other out.
3. Chip ‘stalked’ Joanna before they’d even met
Here’s another funny tidbit about how Chip and Jo met, or at least how Chip met Jo: He saw her on TV, then became determined to meet her in person.
“He stalked me,” Joanna joked. “When I worked for my dad at his Firestone store, I did these commercials. And so he’d always say, ‘If I could just meet her.’ So he’d come into the Firestone store once a month and finally we bumped into each other.”
4. Divine intervention persuaded Joanna to marry Chip
While it seems it was love at first sight for Chip, Jo needed a little bit of convincing. Joanna mentions Chip being dangerously late to their first date (so much so she almost didn’t open the door). And once she did, she was turned off by how much he talked.
“This is when I heard God’s voice more than ever,” Joanna says. “I heard him say, ‘This is the man you’re going to marry,’ and I’m arguing with God. I said, ‘No it’s not.'”
Eventually, though, God prevailed.
5. Chip persuaded Jo to open her first store
Joanna had long dreamed of owning a store, and had even written about it in her journal. But she never thought this store would become real, until she shared this dream (and journal entry) with Chip.
“When I used to say ‘dream,’ that meant it’ll probably never happen,” Joanna says. “Well, when I showed Chip, he said, ‘Why wouldn’t you do this?’”
Chip encouraged her to find a building and to start taking steps toward opening her first venture: Magnolia Market.
“Within three weeks, now I own this building,” Joanna says. “And now the dream that I had dreamed of for years I’m seeing happen and play out, because Chip Gaines, coach Gaines, said go for it. You get one pep talk from Chip Gaines, and it’s like, ‘I can rule the world.'”
6. Chip and Jo were told ‘Fixer Upper’ was going to be ‘niche’
Winfrey points out that Chip and Joanna have a huge fan base of about 19 million people. But these two never thought they’d be household names. In fact, their producers told them “Fixer Upper” wasn’t going to be very popular.
“They sat us down early in the process and said, ‘This is going to be really a niche of a niche of a show,” Chip says. “For it to have really connected with people on both coasts, now all over the world, is unbelievable.”
7. They ended ‘Fixer Upper’ to reassess their priorities
“Fixer Upper” was a huge hit, so Chip and Joanna shocked fans when, in 2018, they ended their HGTV show after five seasons.
“When you’re filming for four or five years, you begin to lose the why,” Joanna tells Winfrey. “It’s now just this thing of, like, we’re just showing up. And I think toward the end, we just lost steam. We lost the purpose in it. We wanted to wake up every day and say, ‘This is why we’re doing this.'”
Chip explains that the year off was intentional. He tells Winfrey that before “Fixer Upper” ended, the two of them decided to step back and “push pause” on any potential opportunities for one whole year.
“So basically we just told our agent to just take all the calls and put them in a folder somewhere and we would get back to that later,” Chip says.
It was a risky career move, but it seems Chip and Joanna both needed the break. They came back stronger than ever with their new Magnolia Network and even returned to TV renovations with “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home.”
8. Chip struggled with fame far more than Jo
While Chip is clearly the more outgoing of the pair, he was surprised to find that fame didn’t suit him. He tells Winfrey that Joanna handled the attention well, while he felt that he’d lost a part of himself.
“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,” he says. “And then that year off, I really think that Jo and I were able to kind of hunker down and really kind of try to unpack what it was about fame that seemed so incompatible with my personality.”
Luckily for fans, Chip managed to figure out a way to deal with his celebrity status.
9. The Gaines family (still) doesn’t own a TV
Chip and Joanna may have their own network, but they don’t own a TV!
The two famously are big fans of the TV-less lifestyle. In fact, they even skip finding a place for TVs in nearly all of their renovations. (They made one exception when they worked on one of their employee’s homes.)
The two explain that it all started when they were engaged and went to marriage counseling. They were encouraged to hold off on getting a TV after getting married, and instead spend quality time together. They made it a year without a TV, and then after the year, they decided to go another year. After two years, they decided they didn’t need a television at all.
“I will say, after that second year, we’ve never looked back,” Chip says.
Winfrey asks how they watched episodes of “Fixer Upper.” “We’d go to our friends,” Joanna answers. “So every Tuesday night, we’d get a babysitter and we’d go to friends and we’d watch it.”
She points out that these days their shows are streaming on Discovery+, so the family of seven will gather around Joanna’s computer and watch their shows together.
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