Magnolia Network couple Chip and Joanna Gaines have one of the strongest marriages in showbiz, and now it’s easy to see why — they have great role models! Her parents, Jerry and Nan Stevens, have been married for five decades. Keep scrolling to get details on Joanna’s upbringing and family.
How Did Joanna Gaines’ Parents Meet?
The Magnolia Table author’s parents first crossed paths in 1969. At the time, Jerry was serving in the U.S. Army and stationed in Nan’s home country, South Korea. The pair connected at a party and Nan knew that she had found her perfect match.
“Interesting enough, the way my mother tells it, she spotted my dad sitting off by himself in a corner at that party and said to a friend of hers, ‘That’s the man I’m going to marry,'” Joanna wrote in her book The Magnolia Story. “Her friends thought she was crazy, but she says she just knew.”
Jerry had to return home to the U.S. in 1971 but was not ready to let go of the relationship he built with Nan. The pair kept their long-distance romance alive by sending each other letters for six months before getting engaged.
“I can’t imagine the idea of a 19-year-old little girl getting on a plane, flying to America,” Joanna told her mom during a November 2022 episode of her podcast, The Stories We Tell With Joanna Gaines. “Dad picks you up in his VW Bug in San Francisco. You get married on the courthouse steps in your cutoff jean shorts, tank top, all the things. You drive all the way from there to Wichita to start your life.”
Life wasn’t always picture-perfect for the couple. They fought quite often at the beginning of their marriage. “From what they’ve told me, they actually had a rocky marriage for several years,” Joanna wrote in her memoir. “There were times, they say, when they didn’t think they would make it because all they did was fight.”
Things turned around, however, after Jerry’s mother died. “He envisioned himself in a casket, with his family surrounding him and it hit him just how wrongly he was living his life,” the home design expert continued. “He knew he didn’t want to end up in that casket the way he envisioned, leaving my mom alone to fend for herself.” After that epiphany, Jerry landed a job at a Firestone tire store in Waco, Texas, where Joanna would later meet Chip.
Jerry and Nan celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in June 2017. As a tribute to their love story, Joanna took to Instagram to share a sweet 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 honor each other amidst all their many differences,” the TV personality wrote. “Here’s to many more years!”
On their 50th wedding anniversary in June 2021, Joanna gushed on Instagram that her mom and dad have “the most beautiful love story.”
What Do Jerry and Nan Stevens Do for Work?
These days, Jerry and Nan are still living in Waco, where Nan frequently leads prayer groups at Magnolia Market. They’re also busy grandparents! Joanna and Chip are parents to five kids: Drake, Ella Rose, Duke, Emmie Kay and Crew. Joanna’s younger sister, Mary Kay “Mikey” McCall, is a mom of six, and her older sister, Teresa Criswell, is a mom of one.