Fixer Up­per’s Chip & Joanna The real rea­son Chip and Joanna Gaines are leav­ing the show that made them house­hold names

In Touch (USA) - - Couplesnews -

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.”

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