THE SHOW WAS DESTROYING THEM!
Fixer Upper’s Chip & Joanna The real reason Chip and Joanna Gaines are leaving the show that made them household names
Asingle tweet spurred Chip and Joanna Gaines to quit Fixer Upper. One night, Chip, the affable contractor and star of the smash hit HGTV home-renovation series, received a complaint via social media. A customer had ordered a wreath online from the couple’s Magnolia store, but never received it. “I was up all night dwelling on it,” Chip recalls in his new book, Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff . Burned-out from juggling the show, his business and his family, Chip reevaluated his life. Filming the show that made them famous, writes Chip, “looked like ‘ the job’ that had seduced me into giving it my precious time that I had always promised would be reserved for my true loves, my family and my business.” So on Sept. 26 the beloved, down-to-earth duo announced in a blog post on their website that Season 5 of Fixer Upper, which they’re currently filming, will be their last.
As Chip tells it, he and Joanna escaped just in time. “Pure longterm exhaustion can change a person — or two persons,” Chip, 42, writes in Capital Gaines. “I had this sense that…we might be headed for disaster.” In one passage, Chip, who has kids Drake, 12, Ella, 10, Duke, 9, and Emmie, 7, with Joanna, 39, imagines his life might devolve into gambling, bankruptcy and a “bitter” split from Jo if he let fame get to him! But he has no intention of allowing fame to destroy him or his family. Understandably, Chip and Joanna’s friends and family are applauding their decision to put themselves
first. “They have their priorities in order,” Roger Woodruff, former director of photography for Fixer Upper, tells In Touch, “and that’s pretty cool.”
For now, Chip and Joanna, married since 2003, say their relationship is solid. “Our marriage has honestly never been stronger,” the Waco, Texas–based couple wrote in the Sept. 26 blog post. (Oddly, it’s a sentiment they’ve insisted on repeating over and over, even though In Touch could only find one online headline claiming that they’re splitting up.) And walking away from the cameras will only bring the Gaineses closer. “Their marriage is very sound [and] they are very well aware that spending time with [their children] and investing in their lives is important,” Chip’s mom, Gayle Gaines, tells In Touch. “It’s a high priority.”
Chip also admits he’s thinskinned when it comes to public scrutiny. “Want to hurt my feelings? All you have to do is tweet at me,” he writes. “Those little 140-character messages can be like a hug or a dagger to the heart.” And he’s seen a lot of critical tweets in the past year. In December, Chip and Joanna were attacked for attending a church whose
pastor has been accused of being homophobic. Then in September, when their deal to sell home goods at Target was announced, conservative fans freaked because of the store’s transgender-friendly bathroom policy. Though Chip doesn’t address the controversies directly in Capital Gaines, he alludes to wanting to change the heated political climate by “bridge building” with Joanna in the future: “How do people move beyond party lines, beyond religious affiliation, gender and race?… All I’ve ever wanted…is to change the world.”
They’ve been planning this shocking move for a while. “They’d always said this wasn’t something they were going to do forever, and that they would eventually put an end date on it,” Sydney Noh, who worked as an associate producer on Seasons 2 and 3, tells In Touch. But in a curious statement at the end of a video on their site, Chip also hints that they aren’t completely turning their backs on their fans — or their massive moneymaking enterprise. “We’re not going anywhere,” a tearful Chip promises. “We believe in our hearts that we’re going to see you again right around the corner.” ◼
AVERTING DISASTER “This is us recognizing that we need to catch our breath,” the pair explained of their decision to end their show. “Our plan is to take this time to shore up and strengthen the spots that are weak.”