So how did this amazing love story come about? Keep reading for all the details of how the Gaines met, fell in love, and created a business empire.
A Northern Texas Childhood
Chip was born in New Mexico in 1974, but he and his family moved to Colleyville, Texas, in 1982 when Chip was eight years old. He was in third grade, so the move wasn’t too harsh on him, and he adapted to the Texan lifestyle pretty quickly.
In fact, Chip has often said how he loved spending time at his grandfather’s ranch in northern Texas. What better way to spend a childhood?
Finding Destiny in Texas
As destiny would have it, Joanna Gaines, born in Kansas in 1978, also moved to Texas in 1990. Joanna and her family moved their lives to Austin when she was 12 years old and then, during her first year of high school, relocated again to Waco.
Joanna has often said that she grew up in what seemed like a “movie love story,” describing how her parents had a model relationship in which they loved, supported, and respected one another in everything.
Joanna and Chip Both Went to Baylor University
If you’re a fan of ‘Fixer Upper,’ you know that Baylor University is Gaines’ beloved alma mater. The funny thing is that, even though they both attended the prestigious University in Waco, Texas, they graduated three years apart and didn’t really know each other.
Chip graduated in 1998 with a degree in marketing, while Joanna graduated in 2001 with a communications degree. Chip was a business whiz, starting several small businesses in college, like a fireworks stand, a prepaid laundry service, and a landscaping company. Joanna wanted to be a broadcast journalist.
They Met at an Auto Shop in Waco
After graduating in 2001, Joanna often appeared in local ads for her father’s auto shop and helped at the front desk. The auto shop was called Jerry Stevens Firestone, and it would be the place where a fairytale love story would begin.
One day, Chip took his car to get checked and saw a photo of Joanna at Jerry’s auto shop. As he said later in an interview, “I knew I’d marry her one day just by the picture on the wall.”
Chip Was Desperate To Meet Joanna
After seeing that picture of Joanna, Chip kept taking his pickup truck back to the shop. He’d come in with excuses and unneeded repairs, just in the hopes of actually meeting Joanna. Finally, in 2001, he met her and said, “Hey, you’re the girl from the commercials.”
The two ended up talking for half an hour and really got along. The next day, Chip asked Joanna out on a date.
Chip Was Late to Their First Date
In 2001, Joanna and Chip went on their first date, which was in a fried chicken restaurant that had opened inside a historic mansion. They spent the date eating chicken on the restaurant’s porch.
According to Joanna, Chip was an hour and a half late, but somehow, he managed to make up for it. It might have had something to do with him climbing up a Magnolia tree (which is how their business got its name!) According to Chip, he was only late by 20 minutes.
Chip Didn’t Call Joanna for Months
Even though their first date went incredibly well, and they really hit it off, Chip took months to call Joanna back for their second date.
As it turns out, Chip had made a $50 bet with his roommate John to see who could hold out the longest without calling. Chip wanted to win the bet, so he didn’t call for as long as he could. Finally, he decided to lose the bet and call her. He couldn’t wait any longer.
Joanna Gave Him Another Chance
After Chip finally called, Joanna decided she would give him a second chance but take it very slowly. Understandably, Joanna was cautious at first. In fact, Chip jokes that those first dates felt like going out with a ‘cyborg’ because when he said, ‘I love you’ for the first time, she just responded, ‘thank you.’ Good for her, making him work for it!
Joanna said it was exciting to date someone with such a “big personality,” her being more introverted.
Chip and Joanna Have a Lot in Common
As much as they were opposites in many aspects of their personalities, Joanna and Chip also discovered that they had a lot of things in common. For example, they were both raised in similar households, with religious values and morals.
Joanna said that Chip’s kindness is what won her over, the fact that she could feel safe with him and trust him completely. Also, he made her laugh all the time, which is very important in any relationship.
Their First Home Was a Dump
Chip told Joanna that one of his rental properties, a white cottage with 800sq.ft. of space, had become available. The couple put aside their Christian upbringing and decided to move in together.
That first home was the original “fixer-upper” because the cottage was completely rundown. Joanna recalls that she cried when they moved in as the place was dumpy, and it smelled bad. They fixed it up and fell in love with it. They were broke and forced to be creative. Most of what they learned creatively stemmed from this home.
He Proposed at a Shopping Mall
After a year of dating, Chip proposed to Joanna in a very special way. He told her that he’d bought tickets for an amazing, private concert about four hours from Waco. Instead, Chip drove her to a shopping mall where both their families were waiting.
The moment they got out of the car, Chip got down on one knee and proposed. Obviously, Joanna said yes, and the love story began.
Joanna Designed Her Own Engagement Ring
The surprises of that proposal night just kept coming. After popping the question, Chip took Joanna to a jewelry store that was owned by one of his father’s friends. Joanna got to design her own ring and chose a gorgeous, round diamond gem set over an antique platinum base.
Joanna recalls that Chip just sat there for the longest time while she decided, just watching everything with a smile.
Joanna and Chip Got Married in Waco
The couple tied the knot in their hometown of Waco, Texas, on May 31st, 2003. The wedding was beautiful, set in the historical Earle Harrison Mansion. Joanna joked that it looked a lot like the house where they went to eat fried chicken on their first date.
The newlyweds went on their honeymoon to New York City and then drove upstate along New England’s coast, taking in the breathtaking scenery.
Joanna Joined Chip’s Business Venture
After returning from their honeymoon, the couple settled down in Waco, and Joanna joined Chip’s house-flipping business full-time. She really started to see the potential of fixing up houses, and she found she really enjoyed the work, especially when it came to the decorating part.
That rundown white cottage was their first try at renovating, and it was far from easy. Joanna recalls, “When we first got married, the only money we had was what was in Chip’s pocket.”
Magnolia Market Opened in 2003
In 2003, Joanna and Chip opened their flagship store, Magnolia Market. They borrowed $5,000 and opened the store, which had 40 customers that first day. Joanna remembers that it was hard to figure out where the boundaries were because Chip was good at “the big picture,” but she had to be on top of the details.
They made it through the hardships, and the store became the go-to place for farmhouse chic decorating options.
They Had To Close Magnolia Market
In 2006, their shop, Magnolia Market, closed after Joanna gave birth to their first son, Drake Gaines. They took a hiatus from the shop. Being busy with a newborn is hard enough!
Instead, the couple focused on advancing their other business – Magnolia Homes. It was a construction business renovating rundown houses from the first to the last stages. In 2007, Joanna gave birth to their second child, a daughter named Ella Rose.
HGTV Knocks on Their Door
One day in 2012, Joanna got a call from TV producer Katie Neff. The High Noon show producer claimed that HGTV was looking for a new home renovation show. Neff had been following Joanna’s home design and family blog for quite some time and loved her work.
Neff said she was really impressed with the story of how they met and started a home renovation in Waco with the goal of making their hometown more beautiful. She could appreciate the couple’s hard work and dedication. She asked if they would be interested in shooting a pilot for a home-renovation show.
Chip Told Joanna Not to Call the Producer Back
When Joanna told Chip about the message from the TV producer, he was convinced it was a scam. He told her there was no way HGTV wanted to offer them a show. But Joanna had a gut feeling, and she decided to call back.
Chip had to eat his words because immediately after, HGTV came down to Waco and shot the show’s pilot. It was so amazing that the TV powerhouse signed the Gaines for a five-season deal right then and there.
‘Fixer Upper’ Airs a Year Later
In 2013, the first episode of Fixer Upper aired on HGTV. That first episode featured Chip and Joanna transforming a broken-down den into a beautiful home. The ratings went through the roof, and the audience loved the concept.
The episode had 1.9 million viewers, so it was obvious the couple was on the road to fame and success. Everyone at HGTV fell in love with Chip and Joanna, confirming the next five seasons with an option for a sixth.
HGTV Can’t Get Enough of the Gaines
Everybody at the network loved working with them because they were a great team that worked hard at what they loved. In an interview, one of the show’s producers said, that it seems like they have a great bond and a great family. Of course, it's not perfect, but it's pretty close.
It is very clear to see that their relationship is authentic, and that really translates into the show.
Turning Silos Into Magnolia
In 2015, Joanna and Chip embarked on a huge adventure for ‘Fixer Upper.’ The couple converted an abandoned site in Waco into a gorgeous marketplace. The whole of 2015 was spent turning some old, rusty silos that were once used for storing cotton into a stunning, chic market called The Magnolia Market at the Silos.
The tourism and economy in downtown Waco have significantly increased with the Silos marketplace, getting over 2 million visitors a year in 2019. The market has artisan goods stores, food trucks, bakeries, vintage stores, and more.
A Very Busy Year for the Gaines
2016 was a very busy year for Joanna and Chip. They were working harder than ever, launching a collection of paint colors, wallpaper designs, a new line of furniture, and opening a bed-and-breakfast which they named The Magnolia House.
On top of all that, they started the publication of their quarterly lifestyle magazine, The Magnolia Journal. Let’s not forget they already had three children by then, so add that to the busy schedule!
They Published a Memoir
Also, in 2016, the Gaines couple published a joint memoir titled ‘The Magnolia Story.’ It was a beautiful book about their lives, detailing all the milestones from the day they met to the present day.
An excerpt from the book reads, "One pretty amazing thing we learned early on was that the more time we spent together, the better our relationship was." That's good because the two have both a family and a business together.
The Memoir Becomes a Best-Seller
The memoir quickly became a NY Times Best-Selling book during its first month of publication. It was also listed as a nonfiction bestselling book in Wall Street Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today.
Chip and Joanna had to do press tours across the country’s bookstores to do talks and book signings. Imagine adding that to their TV show, business empires, and raising three kids. No wonder this couple stayed strong!
Clearing Up Fake Rumors
With big fame come big rumors, and in April of 2017, the rumor mill started claiming that Joanna might be leaving ‘Fixer Upper’ to start a new line of face creams.
Her fan base was less than happy, and Joanna had to post on her personal blog saying, “If you're reading big, exciting news about us, and we did not confirm it on our official sites, then proceed with caution.”
The Rumors Kept Coming
Later in 2017, more rumors came that Joanna was leaving HGTV so she could start her own beauty line. Again, she had to post on all of her social media platforms that it was all a lie, assuring her fans that if they had seen anyone publicizing a beauty line under her name, it was a scam.
Joanna posted on Instagram, "We have nothing to do with it and have been trying to stop it for some time."
The Worst Gossip Was Yet to Come
The gossip seemed to get nastier when in the summer of 2017, stories about Chip and Joanna getting divorced started going around. This time it was Chip that came out and posted all over social media that Joanna was “the love of his life” and getting divorced was never going to happen.
It's a good thing he took the time to clear up these vicious rumors.
Joanna and Chip Are Built to Last
They’ve weathered all kinds of storms and, through it, all, have stayed together and grown stronger. Joanna and Chip always say that their relationship and their family come first, no matter what.
The TV stars still have a date night once a week and always get dressed up and do something special for Valentine’s Day. This often means a candlelit dinner with their kids, but that in and of itself is the most adorable thing we’ve ever heard.
The End of ‘Fixer Upper’
To fans’ and viewers’ dismay, Joanna and Chip announced their beloved show was coming to an end after its fifth season, which was set to begin in November 2017.
The Gaines posted on their blog on September 26th, sharing the news that season 5 of 'Fixer Upper' will be the last. They also assured fans that this was due to them needing a break and that they would be back soon with new and better things.
Chip’s Heartfelt Memoir
By the end of 2017, Chip Gaines released another memoir titled ‘Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff.’ He dedicated the book to Joanna and their children.
The book is a must-read for any entrepreneur navigating business and personal life. It has some very useful professional and personal advice. In an interview with Forbes Magazine, Chips said he wrote the memoir for people “looking to work hard and chase their dreams without letting fear creep into the equation."
HGTV Wasn’t Done with the Gaines
Also, by the end of 2017, Joanna started filming her own spin-off series that focused on the designs she created on ‘Fixer Upper.’ The series was called ‘Behind the Design,’ and it premiered on HGTV in April 2018.
Like their first series, the spin-off was a huge success, with people tuning in from around the world to see how Joanna transformed ruined spaces into first-rate homes. What’s more fun than watching a house makeover?
The Gaines Launch a Line of Homeware
On November 5th, 2017, Joanna and Chip released a new line of home goods called ‘Hearth & Hand.’ The line includes over 300 home décor items and gifts, all gorgeous and chic. The best part? Most of the items don’t go over $30!
The couple released their collection in Target stores across the country. The megastore was thrilled, and honestly, so were we.
Joanna Launches Even More Businesses
As if filming a new series wasn’t enough, Joanna decided to launch a new line of pillows and rugs at the same time. She created the new line and signed a deal with a famous retail store, Pier 1 Imports.
Also, in April of 2018, Joanna wrote and published a cookbook called ‘Magnolia Table Cookbook’ because, apparently, this superwoman is also amazing in the kitchen. Is there anything she can’t do?
The Gaines Family Gets Bigger
In January 2018, Chip posted a cheeky photo of the entire Gaines family with a caption that read, “Gaines party of 7. (If you’re still confused, WE ARE PREGNANT)”. And so, Joanna and Chip announced they were expecting their fifth child.
Joanna had an adorably small stomach bump, and the photo showed her laying a hand on Chip’s stomach. Both had huge smiles, as always. Chip went on to post on Twitter saying they were both incredibly excited.
Re-Opening Their First Shop
Amongst all the excitement and being insanely busy, the Gaines decided to go back to their roots a little. Remember that first retail shop in Waco, called ‘The Magnolia Market’? Well, they decided to reopen it and call it ‘The Little Shop on Bosque.’
The shop would now focus on selling second-hand items from their Magnolia line that had been “slightly damaged” and were looking for a last chance. They were all sold at a huge discount.
In a very sweet video Chip revealed that he and Joanna were expecting a baby boy. The video showed the couple attending a golfing event for the Tim Tebow Foundation. Suddenly, a small boy named Gage approaches Chip and tries to guess the sex of his new baby.
Gage guesses it’s going to be a boy, and Chip smiles and agrees, thus revealing the surprise! Such an original and sweet way to share their news with their fans.
They Decided to Open a Restaurant
The Gaines family clearly cannot sit still. In 2018, Joanna and Chip decided to add a new venture to their growing business empire and open a restaurant.
The restaurant, called Magnolia Table, opened in their beloved hometown of Waco, Texas on February 26. The spot offers delicious breakfast and lunch dishes that are prepared from produce grown in Jo and Chip’s home garden. Of course, the interior design of the place is absolutely stunning.
Saying Goodbye to ‘Fixer Upper’
The final episode of ‘Fixer Upper’ aired on April 3rd, 2018. The series finale was very emotional for all the crew at HGTV, and Chip and Joanna were in tears.
After five amazing seasons and a huge fanbase, it was hard to see the Gaines leave HGTV. Joanna posted an emotional message on Twitter saying that they love thier fans very much and will miss them dearly.
Joanna and Chip Welcome Their Fifth Child
On June 23, 2018, Chip and Joanna welcomed a son into their family. For anybody that’s a close fan, they know that the Gaines have a thing for naming their sons with names that start with “D.” However, this one broke the pattern.
They named their new son Crew and posted an emotional message on Instagram for their fans, “Crew made an unexpected (and speedy) entrance into the world two and a half weeks early. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We are so grateful."
Chip and Joanna Launch Their Own TV Network
A few months after having a new baby, the Gaines were at it again. In 2019, they announced they were launching their own TV network in partnership with the Discovery Channel.
In April of that same year, a press release from Discovery, Inc. stated that it was partnering with Gaines to launch a “multi-platform media joint venture” of their lifestyle brand Magnolia. Fans couldn’t wait to see what was in store!
‘Fixer Upper’ is Back
In 2020, to fans’ absolute surprise, the Gaines announced that ‘Fixer Upper’ would come back to the air on their Magnolia Network. The beloved show was getting a second chance, and what better home for it than the Gaines network?
Chip and Joanna said in a statement, “We've missed sharing the stories of these families and their homes with you, and we're excited to do that again very soon!" Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the show’s release was pushed until 2021.
The Big Debut of ‘Fixer Upper: Welcome Home’
Finally, in January 2021, the new version of ‘Fixer Upper’ aired on the Discovery+ channel. But fans got an exciting preview before the show went live. Chip and Joana released a short trailer on their Magnolia Network YouTube channel showing them transforming a house.
The new show was called ‘Fixer Upper: Welcome Home.’ And the Gaines had another surprise in store for their fans, another new and exciting show.
Joanna Has a New Cooking Show
Also, in January 2021, Joanna launched a new cooking show called ‘Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines.’ It turns out that apart from being amazing at interior decorating and renovating old houses, Joanna is also an incredible cook. Not to mention a fantastic baker.
Apart from releasing a cookbook some years back, Joanna decided to showcase her skills on TV. Unsurprisingly, the show was successful, with millions of viewers tuning in from the very first episode.
Chip’s 47th Birthday
The Gaines is known for showing their love for each other in the most adorable of ways. For Chip’s 47th birthday, on November 14th, 2021, Joanna posted a gorgeous photo on Instagram.
In the photo, two professional photographers capture the couple walking through a beautiful path in an empty field with huge smiles and their hands barely touching. At the bottom of the photo, Joanna wrote the caption, “You make life better for all of us. Happy Birthday to the very best”.
Magnolia Network Makes Its Cable Debut
After a long wait, in January 2022, the Magnolia Network made its debut on cable TV. The DIY channel included an array of home and lifestyle shows, including the famous ‘Fixer Upper: Welcome Home.’
One of the other shows in the long lineup was an original series called “Home Work,” hosted by Candis and Andy Meredith, a young couple that was also experts in flipping houses. Unfortunately, the show had to be temporarily pulled from the roster since there was a major controversy.
The ‘Home Work’ Controversy
To Chip and Joanna’s dismay, they started to discover allegations made by homeowners claiming that Candis and Andy Meredith had done a terrible job with their homes. Some homeowners claimed that the Merediths had gone insanely over budget and damaged their properties.
In some cases, they were accused of not even completing the renovations they’d promised, leaving the house half-finished. Meredith’s completely denied the claims, and the show ultimately aired on Magnolia Network.
Magnolia Network is a Success
Regardless of the issue, Magnolia Network’s cable debut was a huge success, with over 3 million viewers on that first day alone. The network’s shows had something for everybody – home construction, renovation, interior design, and cooking.
It has become one of America’s most popular DIY networks and has given Chip and Joanna a significant revenue stream. Combine that with their other ventures, and it’s safe to say the Gaines kids have a very bright future.
Celebrating 19 Years Together
In June of 2022, Chip and Joanna celebrated 19 years of marriage. Joanna posted a beautiful photo on Instagram with the hashtag #ilikeyoualot.
Two months later, in August 2022, Joanna spoke about her marriage to Chip in their publication of Magnolia Journal. She wrote about the ups and downs and what it takes to make a marriage work, especially when you work together.
Chip’s Favorite Number
A new documentary called ‘Breaking New Ground: Expanding the Silos' aired on Discovery+, and it details Chip and Jo’s renovation and expansion of the famous Magnolia Market. While Joanna was showing viewers around a new store, which was named ‘No. 16’, she revealed how important that number is to Chip.
“It’s his favorite number,” Joanna said to the camera, so we decided that store is going to be filled with Chip’s favorite items.
A Tattoo in Chip’s Honor
Joanna explained how the number 16 has come to be a part of the Gaines family life. She went on to say how everything they buy for Chip now has the number 16 on it. Their kids also wear the number on their sports uniforms.
Joanna went on to say how, if Chip passes before her, she will memorialize him with a tattoo of the number 16 on her wrist.