Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t an overnight success story, but they definitely come close. In less than 10 years, the Texas natives have gone from struggling small business owners to beloved TV stars on Fixer Upper to the king and queen of the Magnolia lifestyle empire, which will launch its own television network in 2022. But as exhilarating as their career trajectory has been, it’s also had its drawbacks. “Really what happened — and was the truth for Jo and I — it was no big deal for her, but for me to become famous, I lost a part of myself,” Chip admits. “It was sad.”

Yet, as Chip, 46, is quick to point out, he was able to get past that rough period — and find himself again — with the help of his wife of nearly 18 years. “I don’t want to speak on Jo’s behalf, because she would never say things like this, but she is so incredibly wise,” he enthuses, “so incredibly grounded.”

And they balance each other out in the best of ways. Whether they’re throwing themselves into their myriad projects or raising their five children — the youngest of whom is just 2 years old — they do it as a team, with Chip’s enthusiasm spurring Joanna on, and her common sense keeping him in check. “She’s the serious one, and he’s the fun guy, and it works perfectly for them,” an insider says. “They completely gel — they always have, but with age, it seems to have become even more effortless. Their marriage works so well, because they’re best friends.”

Inside Chip and Joanna Gaines' Marriage
Brian Ach/AP/Shutterstock

Joanna, 42, admits she has a tendency to overthink things, but Chip has taught her “to find joy in the moment.” And clearly, they find plenty of joy in each other’s company. “They love romantic dinners, just the two of them,” the insider says, “or sitting on their porch swing, just watching the sunset.”

Of course, there’s more to their lives than romance. As different as their personalities may be, Chip and Joanna share the same core values, and for both of them, family comes first. “Motherhood means everything to me,” says Joanna, who calls their children “my heart.” Hands-on parents, they’re also bonded by their faith, which the insider says is “key to everything they do.” And so the couple is making sure to raise Drake, 16, Ella, 14, Duke, 12, Emmie, 11, and Crew, 2, to be good people. “They make their kids give back to the community. They’ve done it since they were all small,” the insider says. “Their kids have compassion for others because it’s been instilled in them.”

Joanna Gaines son Duke
Courtesy of Joanna Gaines/ Instagram

As they move on to the next phase of their extraordinary lives, Chip and Joanna keep each other grounded by never losing sight of what’s truly important. “They’ve been through tough times in the past, but their faith and love for each other and their children are what got them through it,” the insider says. “Those same things are what keep them going today.”

For this story and more, pick up the latest issue of Closer magazine, on newsstands now!