In more ways than one, Chip and Joanna Gaines have spent the past decade building an empire from the ground up.
Since the show first aired in 2013, the Gaineses’ flagship store, Magnolia Market, has grown into a lifestyle brand that is often credited for revitalizing the small town of Waco, Texas. In 2015, the two converted an abandoned Waco site into a bustling retail marketplace, complete with a bakery, food trucks, and more. And just last year, the couple published a tell-all memoir that quickly became a national best-seller.
As the Gaineses celebrate 14 years of marriage in 2017, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about how they met, fell in love, and became the beloved, house-flipping duo we know today.
No stranger to love stories, Joanna, now 39, has described her parents' relationship as 'one you hear about in the movies' -- 'an example of how to love, fight for, extend grace to, and honour' one another in a marriage. Joanna's parents, who met in 1969 when her father was stationed in Korea, celebrated their 45th anniversary back in June.
1998-2001: Chip and Joanna both graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas -- three years apart.
Chip, a self-described 'serial entrepreneur,' graduated from Baylor in 1998 with a Marketing degree. In college, he started a few small businesses including a prepaid laundry service, a fireworks stand, and multiple landscaping companies.
Joanna, who graduated in 2001, majored in Communications and hoped to become a broadcast journalist. 'I always dreamed of the idea of television but never thought it would have to do with design or renovations,' she told POPSUGAR. The aspiring newscaster also starred in local commercials for her father's auto shop, Jerry Stevens Firestone, and worked the front desk.
Chip knew Joanna was 'the one' when he saw a photo of her behind the counter at her father's shop. 'I knew I'd marry her one day just by the picture on the wall,' he told POPSUGAR.
Determined, Chip began taking his pickup to Firestone, in the hopes of meeting Joanna. '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.
Naturally, when the two 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 talked for 30 minutes. The next day, Chip called Joanna and asked her out.
In an interview with Texas Monthly, the couple revealed that they spent their first date sitting on the porch of a restaurant 'housed in a historic mansion' and eating fried chicken.
However, Chip was nearly an hour and a half late to pick Joanna up, according to this excerpt from their memoir, 'The Magnolia Story.' Joanna writes:
'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.'
Chip, who insists he was only 20 minutes late, also looked nothing like Joanna remembered:
'This guy had no hair. I'd imagined he had hair under the baseball cap, but nope. Just stubble. And his face was weathered and flushed red, like he'd been working outside in the hot sun all day long. He was wearing a reddish-toned leather jacket, too, and I thought, 'Is this red guy even the same guy I was talking to at the shop?' It turned out that Chip had shaved his head to support a friend of his who was battling cancer.'
You can read the full excerpt, published by TODAY, here.
Although the two 'hit it off immediately,' Chip waited months to call Joanna after their first date.
It turns out he had made a bet with his roommate, John, to 'see who could hold out the longest before calling (their) dates back,' Chip explains in 'The Magnolia Story.' He continues: 'I really wanted that $US50 from John! That's the only reason I didn't call.'
'From the beginning, it was a fun rollercoaster,' Joanna said in an interview with author and vlogger Jefferson Bethke. Joanna, who describes herself as 'naturally' shy and introverted, was 'immediately attracted to Chip's big personality.'
The two also soon discovered that they shared important similarities. For example, Chip was drawn to the fact that they were both brought up religious, in 'very similar environments.' And while it took Joanna a few months to let her guard down, Chip eventually won her over with his kindness.
In an interview with POPSUGAR, Joanna confessed: 'At first, I couldn't believe how kind Chip was -- he had kind eyes, and made me laugh a lot ... I knew he was the one because I knew I could trust him.'
2002: The two dated for a year before getting engaged -- and the story behind Chip's proposal is one-of-a-kind.
The day he proposed to Joanna, Chip told her that they were going to a private concert four hours away from Waco. Instead, he took her to a shopping center in the neighbourhood where his parents grew up and got down on one knee. 'My parents, my little sister, Chip's parents, and his sister were all there waiting to celebrate our engagement with us,' Joanna reveals in 'The Magnolia Story.'
After he proposed, Chip brought Joanna to a jewellery store owned by Billy Holder, who Chip's father knew in high school, to design her own engagement ring. In an excerpt from 'The Magnolia Story,' Joanna reveals more details from that night:
'I was able to pick out a nice round diamond and a beautiful, antique-looking platinum setting. I had a blast sitting there with Billy, designing the perfect ring. Chip just sat there, patiently observing every second of it.'
After their honeymoon, Joanna joined Chip in his house flipping ventures and 'quickly discovered a hidden passion for home decor,' the Gaineses told Business Insider in an interview.
One of the first properties they renovated was their newlywed home -- but it was a disaster. '(We) painted over wallpaper, left the popcorn ceilings intact, and spent most of (our) bathroom renovation budget on double shower heads,' the couple revealed to Realtor.com.
The two were also barely scraping by as small business owners. 'I remember when we first got married the only money we had was what was in Chip's pocket,' Joanna told People in May. However, the couple quickly learned from their mistakes, Joanna said in an Instagram post:
'To this day, if you ask us what our favourite house we ever lived in we both go back to this little white 800-square-foot home (pictured above). We were broke and were forced to be creative with our resources and we were proud as punch about this place. Most of what I learned creatively stemmed from this little fixer upper.'
Not long after their first flip, the couple borrowed $US5,000 and opened their first retail store, Magnolia Market. 'I was extremely grateful for the forty customers that came in that day to support us,' Joanna said in an Instagram post.
'Early on we had our fair share of fights and figuring out where the boundaries were,' Joanna told People. While Chip was 'good at the big picture' and liked to take risks, Joanna focused more on the details. She added: 'But Chip has always pushed me to be the best me ... He empowers me to be confident.'
While their children occasionally appear on 'Fixer Upper,' Chip and Joanna prefer to keep their kids out of the spotlight. 'They're so young and we want to give them the chance to have a normal childhood,' Joanna told People in 2016.
In 2012, television producer Katie Neff reached out to Joanna about filming a home renovation show for HGTV. Neff had seen Joanna's design blog online, the Gaineses told Texas Monthly, and liked her style.
When Joanna first shared the news with Chip, 'he assured her the call was a scam,' Us Weekly reported. But luckily, Joanna trusted her gut and returned Neff's call.
On the first ever episode of 'Fixer Upper,' Chip and Joanna transformed an 'uninhabitable' 'den for hoarders' into a stunning home.
The show was an instant hit: the pilot had 1.9 million viewers, 'Fixer Upper' was soon renewed for five seasons with an option for a sixth, and the network fell in love with the couple. 'I think it is their perfect imperfections,' Allison Page, a general manager at HGTV, told Texas Monthly in 2016. She continued:
'They have the kind of marriage and family you'd want. 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. It's not a kind of fantasy -- perfected, glossy, everything works every second. There's an authenticity in their relationship and that comes through in the show.'
After 'Fixer Upper' took off, the Gaineses spent most of 2015 transforming some rusty cotton silos into what is now a bustling retail center, and the heart of their ever-growing business. Since it opened in October 2015, Magnolia Market at the Silos has brought in more than 1.8 million visitors a year.
'Somehow, against every odd in the world, Waco (became) a tourist destination, a lifestyle aspiration, a relocation consideration, and it's all because of Chip and Joanna Gaines,' Texas Monthly wrote in 2016.
If you visited the market today, you could browse through its many handmade artisanal goods, score a vintage accent piece; chow down on food truck grub, get a cupcake from the bakery, buy some fairy garden supplies, and more.
In 2016, the Gaineses were busier than ever. They launched three collections: a line of 150 paint colours, a line of 70 wallpaper designs, and a line of furniture. They opened a bed-and-breakfast called 'The Magnolia House.' And they published the first issue of their quarterly lifestyle publication, 'The Magnolia Journal.'
In 'The Magnolia Story,' Chip and Joanna reflect on the major milestones of their lives so far -- from the moment they met to their first renovation in Waco, Texas.
The two also share insights about their unique relationship dynamic, their strength as a team, and their ability to balance each other out. In an excerpt from the memoir, published by Joanna in this blog post, she writes:
'One pretty amazing thing we learned early on was that the more time we spent together, the better our relationship was ...We seem to give each other energy. We function better together than we do apart, and I don't think either one of us has ever felt the urge to say, 'I need a break from you.' Don't get me wrong, we've certainly had our share of disappointments and arguments, but we just always wanted to tackle our issues together.'
Unsurprisingly, the memoir became a New York Times Best Seller within a month and was listed as a nonfiction best-seller on USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publisher's Weekly as well.
In April 2017, Joanna denied rumours that she was leaving HGTV to start a line of face creams. 'If you're reading big, exciting news about us, and we did not confirm it on our official sites, then proceed with caution,' she warned in a blog post.
Just a few months later, however, Joanna had to shut down yet another round of rumours that claimed she was leaving 'Fixer Upper' to start her own skincare and makeup line. 'This is a SCAM,' Joanna wrote in an Instagram post. She continued, 'We have nothing to do with it and have been trying to stop it for some time.'
On August 4, in response to a fan who tweeted, 'I'm so sick of these 'stories' claiming @joannagaines and @chippergaines breaking up,' Chip wrote: 'Won't ever happen ... you can take that to the bank! #loveOfMyLife.'
2017: Through thick and thin, the couple has said that their relationship, and their family, come first.
'Jo and I both made a commitment pretty early on that the two of us are the most important variable,' Chip told People in June. 'If we can figure out how to be right as a couple, then obviously we a have a lot better opportunity to be right for our kids,' he added.
Relationships require hard work and sacrifice, and the Gaineses' marriage is no different, especially as the two juggle increasingly busy schedules and a growing list of projects. Chip admitted to People: 'Every now and then there are times when we notice we're getting off track and have to regroup. But it's like everything we care about, everything that's important to us -- we know it's going to require work.'
For example, the 'Fixer Upper' stars set aside time to have a date night once a week, Joanna told Traditional Home. And on major holidays like Valentine's Day, the couple get dressed up and have a fancy, candlelit dinner with their four young children.
2017: Chip and Joanna announced that they're ending 'Fixer Upper' after its fifth season, which will begin this November.
'It is with both sadness and expectation that we share the news that season 5 of 'Fixer Upper' will be our last,' the (Instagram) couple announced in a blog post on September 26.
Although they need some time to 'catch (their) breath for a moment,' the two reassured their fans that they're not going anywhere. 'There's so much good, new stuff coming your way!' (Instagram) the couple wrote.
Chip is busy promoting his new book, 'Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff,' which is set to be released on October 17. You can pre-order 'Capital Gaines' now at retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
He's also opening a restaurant in Waco, Texas, called Magnolia Table.
Joanna, who launched a line of rugs and pillows with Pier 1 Imports in March, is filming a spin-off series called 'Behind the Design.' The new series, which is due in spring 2018, will show viewers how Joanna creates the designs seen on 'Fixer Upper.'
She's also publishing a cookbook titled 'Magnolia Table Cookbook,' named after Chip's upcoming restaurant.
Hearth & Hand will feature over 300 items from home décor to gifts, and most of them will be under $US30. 'The collection reflects a modern take on Magnolia's signature aesthetic with modern, classic, industrial, and vintage touches,' Target wrote in a press release.
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