It’s been over a year since the last new episode of HGTV’s Fixer Upper aired, but that doesn’t mean Chip and Joanna Gaines have been idle. The couple’s upcoming ventures include a Magnolia coffee shop in their Waco, Texas, hometown, a second cookbook and their Magnolia Network, a Discovery-affiliated channel of home-related programming set to debut next summer. “When I get nervous or afraid, the part that gets me up every day is the fact that we get to climb these steep mountains together,” says Joanna of working with her husband. “Sixteen years and it feels like we are just getting started.”
Even as Fixer Upper transformed the duo in a short time from local home renovators to national celebrities and business moguls, Joanna, 41, and Chip, 44, have never lost sight of what really matters: family, faith, community and each other. Chip calls his wife and the mother of their five children “the most important thing in the world … followed closely by these beautiful kids.”
Joanna and Chip had no idea what the future held when they answered a call from HGTV about hosting their own home improvement show in advance of Fixer Upper’s 2013 debut. “For this to have gotten as big as it has, has really been something else,” admits Chip.
Their TV series was only the beginning. Today, Magnolia Market in Waco draws about 30,000 visitors a week. The couple also publish a magazine, have written four books and create products for Target and Anthropologie. Jennifer Lopez even consulted with them on her new Malibu home.
Yet fame and wealth haven’t changed Chip and Joanna’s core values or the way they are raising their children — Drake, 14; Ella, 12; Duke, 10; Emmie, 9; and Crew, 1. “Joanna’s biggest nightmare would be if their brood turned into brats. They refuse to spoil them,” explains a friend. At home, the kids have chores and limits imposed on their screen time. “We want to give them a chance to just be normal kids,” says Joanna, who won’t allow a TV in the house. “She thinks it’s more important for the kids to be doing arts and crafts and using their imagination,” explains the friend.
As she’s always done, Joanna leans on her belief in God when faced with hard decisions. “Even today with the opportunities that are coming our way — I need his guidance. Otherwise I’d say yes to everything,” she admits. Chip, meanwhile, uses his faith as a way to remain humble and grateful. “Without God, for me, I’m not the best version of myself,” he explains. The couple remain active in their local community and try to give back when possible. “They go to church and help out at school and charity functions,” says the friend.
Above all, Chip and Joanna’s unwavering commitment to each other gives them the courage to take on every new dream and challenge together. “Early on in our marriage, we had some conflict,” admits Chip, who says that their relationship grew stronger when they stopped blaming each other for small problems. “Jo and I care about each other’s hearts, we care about each other’s souls,” he says. “We were like, ‘No matter what comes our way, it’s you and me versus the world.’ The secret to our success is just to pull for one another.”