- Chip and Joanna Gaines are two of HGTV’s most prominent former stars.
- Their new show, “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” is now streaming on Discovery+.
- Joanna Gaines originally wanted to be a journalist and Chip aspired to be a professional baseball player.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“Are you ready to see your fixer-upper?”
It seems like ions since we last heard these iconic words echoing from our TV screens.
In September 2017, Chip and Joanna Gaines shocked the world when they announced their hugely successful show, “Fixer Upper,” would be ending after five seasons. However, a new iteration of the beloved show, “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” is now streaming on Discovery+.
Chip and Joanna Gaines are arguably two of the most successful stars to come out of HGTV. However, certain facts about the couple, like what they ate on their first date, may surprise you.
Here are 15 things you didn’t know about “Fixer Upper” couple Chip and Joanna Gaines.
Joanna Gaines is one-quarter German, one-quarter Lebanese, and half Korean.
“My parents met in 1969 when my dad was stationed in Korea and their story is one you hear about in the movies,” Joanna wrote in an Instagram post. “All the odds were against them but they fought through and became an example of how to love, fight for, extend grace to, and honour each other amidst all their many differences.”
She originally wanted to go into broadcast journalism.
Joanna Gaines got her first experience of being on camera by filming commercials for her dad’s automotive business.
“When I enrolled in college a few years later, all the fun I’d had filming those commercials led me to become interested in broadcast journalism. And by my senior year, I was fortunate enough to snag a pretty decent journalism internship in New York City,” Gaines wrote in a blog post.
However, after returning home from her semester in New York City, Gaines said she was no longer interested in becoming a journalist.
“When that semester ended, I can remember feeling as though I’d just wasted four years working toward a degree that was no longer of any interest to me,” she said. “I returned to Waco with no plan beyond the fact that I no longer wanted to be a news reporter.”
Chip dreamed of becoming a politician or baseball player in his younger years.
Gaines played baseball in his first year of college at Baylor University but was cut from the team his sophomore year. While Gaines no longer has dreams of becoming a professional athlete, he hasn’t ruled out going into politics.
In his memoir, “Capital Gaines,” he wrote that he hopes his obituary will say Joanna became president in 2040 and he served as her vice president.
He also writes, “If I ever run for public office one day, there’s a good chance my stump speech will be about making it illegal to live in fear.”
Despite both attending the same college, Chip and Joanna never crossed paths on campus.
Joanna and Chip Gaines both attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, but were only on campus together for one semester in the fall of 1998. Chip graduated that year with a degree in marketing, while Joanna majored in communications.
During his time in college, Chip was known as a serial entrepreneur, and even started a few small businesses, including a prepaid laundry service, a fireworks stand, and multiple landscaping companies.
Instead of meeting at school, the couple met for the first time three years later.
Chip knew Joanna was “the one” after seeing a photo of her in her dad’s auto shop and in the shop’s TV commercials.
On a visit to Joanna’s father’s Firestone auto shop, Chip noticed a photo of Joanna manning the register on the wall.
“I knew I’d marry her one day just by the picture on the wall,” he told PopSugar.
However, they didn’t meet until Chip came into Joanna’s father’s automotive business on another occasion to get his brakes done.
“My buddies used to always joke that no one could get their brakes done as often as I got my brakes done,” Chip told KWTX News 10.
When the couple finally met in person, the first thing Chip said to Joanna was, “Hey, you’re the girl in the commercials.” The two then sat outside the auto shop and chatted for half an hour.
The very next day, Chip called Joanna and asked her out on a date.
On their first date, Chip and Joanna ate fried chicken in the restaurant of a historic mansion.
According to an excerpt from their memoir, “The Magnolia Story,” Chip was reportedly over an hour late to pick Joanna up for their date.
“Chip was supposed to pick me up at six. Six rolls around. No Chip. Then six-thirty – still no Chip. I thought, Well, maybe he thought the date was at seven, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But when seven came and went, I was officially done,” she wrote.
“Finally, at seven-thirty, a full ninety minutes late, he knocked at the door. ‘Don’t even answer it,’ I whispered to my friends. ‘I don’t want to go anywhere with this idiot.’
‘”But we want to see what he looks like!’ they said, and so one of them finally opened the door while I hung back out of sight… ‘Well, hello, ladies,’ Chip said as he pushed his way into the apartment. I could tell that he charmed every one of them in about two seconds flat.”
“He didn’t apologise for being late, either. He had so much confidence. I don’t know. I can’t explain it. Only Chip could be an hour and a half late and have no one mad about it,” Joanna wrote.
Chip waited months to call Joanna after their first date.
Not only did Chip show up over an hour later for their first date, but he also committed a major dating faux pas by waiting over a month to call Joanna after their date – but only to win a bet with his friend.
“I’d made a bet with [my roommate] John to see who could hold out the longest before calling our dates back,” Chip wrote in “The Magnolia Story.” “I really wanted that fifty dollars from John! That’s the only reason I didn’t call.”
Chip and Joanna Gaines have been married for 17 years.
The pair tied the knot on May 31, 2003, in the Earle-Harrison House in Waco, Texas.
“After all these years Joanna Lea Stevens, you really are the girl of my dreams… Happy 17th sweet girl. I love you,” Chip wrote in an Instagram post for the couple’s 17th wedding anniversary.
Joanna designed her own engagement ring immediately after Chip proposed in his parents’ hometown.
After telling Joanna they were going to a concert four hours away from Waco, Chip popped the question in a shopping centre in the neighbourhood where his parents grew up.
“My parents, my little sister, Chip’s parents, and his sister were all there waiting to celebrate our engagement with us,” Joanna wrote in “The Magnolia Story.”
Chip then took Joanna to a jewellery store in the mall owned by Billy Holder, who Chip’s father knew in high school, to design her own engagement ring.
“I was able to pick out a nice round diamond and a beautiful, antique-looking platinum setting,” she wrote. “I had a blast sitting there with Billy, designing the perfect ring. Chip just sat there, patiently observing every second of it.”
Joanna is talented in the kitchen and has written two cookbooks.
“Life is busier these days and honestly it can be harder to find the time to cook meals from scratch, but it’s important enough for me to prioritise it,” Joanna wrote in her first cookbook, “Magnolia Table.” “Cooking has become something that’s not only good for my family but for me, too.”
However, Joanna’s favourite room in her home isn’t her kitchen — it’s actually her laundry room.
“I love my laundry room,” she told the Today show. “I know that’s a funny thing to love, but … I gave it a complete makeover and now it’s a place that inspires me.”
“When we first moved into the farmhouse, we used a closet underneath the stairs as our laundry room,” Joanna wrote in a blog post. “This worked fine for a long time, but we eventually outgrew the space and built a small addition off our dining room to keep our laundry and, of course, my favourite plants.”
Even though they’re two of HGTV’s brightest stars and are even starting their own network, the Gaines family doesn’t own a television.
Joanna recently told Southern Living the family doesn’t have a TV in their house. While the kids do have access to an iPad, there are rules on how often they can use it.
“Our rule for the iPad is that the kids can use it a certain amount of time every other day,” Joanna told Southern Living. “It’s contingent on them doing their chores and homework. I try hard to make it not the thing they look forward to every day. I don’t want them focusing on that.”
They’re pretty strict parents, but that doesn’t mean they don’t allow their kids to have fun.
“I don’t even know what’s gonna happen when the girls start asking to wear makeup, but we keep telling our kids they don’t get a phone until they go off to college,” Joanna told People in 2016.
Chip added, “I want my kids to date, I want them to go out. I just remember great experiences as a kid, you know? Driving your car for the first time, picking up a young lady on a date for the first time. All those were little milestones to some extent.”
Joanna and Chip Gaines became parents for the fifth time at 40 and 43, respectively.
Joanna and Chip are the parents to five children – Drake, Ella Rose, Duke, Emmie Kay, and Crew. The couple welcomed their newest addition on June 21, 2018.
“Chip and I made a choice to take some time off this past year because it seemed best for us in that season [of “Fixer Upper”] – even though we knew it would stretch us to stay still,” Joanna Gaines wrote in a past edition of The Magnolia Journal. “Only a few weeks later I found out I was pregnant.”
“I am 40, and pregnancy this time was different. I have always really enjoyed being pregnant – I tend to feel my best during those nine months. This time I felt a little more worn-out than usual,” she wrote. “It wasn’t something I could have anticipated. But being pregnant and ‘forced’ to slow down has been a gift.”