The sacrifices Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines make for their kids are endless. “I’m not going to lie. I absolutely hate golf,” Chip recently quipped, dubbing the leisurely activity “my nemesis sport — the anti-baseball” during a round of golf with sons Drake, 13, and Duke, 9. “But you know what I don’t hate? Time well spent with these beautiful boys,” the doting dad gushed.
The Fixer Upper star, 43, and his wife, 40, are ultimately driven by one thing and one thing only: their family. “Being good parents is Chip and Joanna’s first priority,” an insider exclusively assured Closer Weekly of HGTV’s dynamic duo, who recently came under fire when a USA Today opinion piece questioned the amount of time their busy workloads allowed them with Drake and Duke and their daughters, Ella, 11, and Emmie Kay, 8. “Chip hit the roof. He spent hours ranting to Joanna about it,” the insider said of the outrageous allegation, at which he immediately fired back.
“For the record: If there’s ever a need with my family, I’ll shut this circus down so fast it will make your head spin,” he countered. “But Jo and I believe that with God, anything is possible, including having an amazing family and a career you love.” Joanna, who is due with their fifth child this summer, was proud of her husband for standing his ground, the insider said, and she backs him up 100 percent. “They always put their family first,” the insider insisted, “and they both would move heaven and earth for their kids.”
The couple from Waco, Texas, wed in 2003 and toiled away for years on their business endeavors before getting a taste of fame in 2013 when Fixer Upper premiered. “They were completely broke before the show and they learned the value of hard work at a young age,” the insider said. “That’s why they were so determined to achieve success, so they could give their kids financial security.”
Still, they never compromised their parental responsibilities for the sake of their show. “Joanna’s driven to be successful in life, but she’s also a mom who loves her kids deeply. She balances everything really well,” Clint Harp, a close family friend, promised Closer. And as co-owner of Harp Design Co., the go-to custom furniture maker regularly featured on Fixer Upper, Clint had a first-hand look at how deftly the Gaineses are juggling it all.
It isn’t without its hurdles, however. “As a working mom, it’s the hardest when my kids grab onto me as I’m walking out the door and say, ‘Mommy, please stay home!’ ” admitted Joanna. “I always explain that being with them is my favorite thing in the world. I explain that I have to work, just like they have to go to school. Taking a few seconds to let them in on this other huge part of my life has really helped them understand that Mom and Dad have a big job to do.”
To best tend to everyone’s needs, Chip and Joanna made sure to keep the kids as close to them on set as possible. “They involved their brood in the filming of Fixer Upper so that they could spend time with them on camera and off,” the insider said. The couple also made an important promise to their children — and to each other. “We insisted we would never travel more than 30 minutes outside of the Waco area for our renovation projects,” Joanna noted. Added Chip, “It’s not worth it to take on some big deal and leave the kids for weeks.”
As the show’s popularity exploded and it became HGTV’s highest-rated series ever, the couple capitalized on their success by launching various ventures out of their original remodeling business. Their Magnolia brand now thrives with its own magazine, a boutique marketplace, vacation rentals, book deals, the Hearth & Hand line at Target and a recently opened restaurant. Their endeavors paid off — Chip and Joanna each have a reported net worth of $8 million — but the demands on their time concerned them.
“Suddenly,” Chip said, “filming the TV show 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.” In a bold decision that shocked everyone, Chip and Joanna announced last September that they’d be walking away from their ratings-dominating TV show at the end of its fifth season in April.
“It was really easy for us to feel like we could do it all when the show and the business were in the early stages,” Chip said, “but the bigger things got — and they got big fast — the less energy we had to devote to [everything]. And I had this sense that if I kept my foot on the gas, we might be headed for disaster.”
Pulling the plug on their show for the sake of their family was vital, Chip and Joanna both agreed, especially in light of another big surprise they announced to the world in January: the pending birth of baby No. 5! “We’re both so excited,” beamed Joanna, who’s due this summer. “It was a total surprise. But when we found out, it solidified that it was the right decision to leave [the show] when we did.”
By stepping out of the spotlight a little, “Chip and Joanna are able to spend more time working from home,” the insider said, “which makes it easier for them to balance family life and their businesses.” And the new arrival — a boy! — has already brought the expectant couple togeth- er for some fun new projects at home.
First off, Chip and Joanna are using their design expertise to create their baby’s room. “It’s been eight years since they last did a nursery,” the insider shared, “and they’re enjoying every moment of getting it ready. And all the kids are making crafts for the baby, too! Joanna spends hours painting and building things with them. And Duke and Emmie are always asking to feel their mommy’s tummy when the baby kicks.”
No sibling rivalry is expected come from the baby’s birth, either. “Chip and Joanna’s kids are so well-behaved and grounded. They’re all rooted in their religious upbringing,” the insider noted, “and they’ve all been brought up to share things and to respect and be kind to each other.”
In addition to the great values they’re passing on to their brood, Chip and Joanna are fun parents, too. “Chip’s a great dad who’s full of adventure,” said Clint, a spokesperson for Dorel Juvenile, a segment of Dorel Industries Safety 1st home-safety line. “He doesn’t think too long about anything. He just says, ‘Yeah, let’s do it, kids!’ because life’s about trying new things. He’s going to challenge his kids and teach them to not be scared, and I think they’re very lucky because of that. Man, that guy is up for anything!”
Even if he’s not, he has his wife and business partner there to keep him honest. “Chip will definitely be doing diaper changes,” the insider reported. “And if he tries to get out of it, Joanna will put him in his place!”
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