Chip and Joanna Gaines are all about meaningful moments, and it's no wonder that a fateful encounter at an auto shop is all it took to create the ultimate design power couple. Fans of their HGTV show, Fixer Upper, know that the Gaines live and breathe Baylor University, but the two Baylor bears didn't meet at their alma mater. Chip had heard of her before they even met, but it'd be much longer before they became an item. Here's everything you might have missed on their journey from Waco to taking over the DIY Network:
It was love at first sight.
Joanna's father, a Vietnam War vet and Firestone Tire salesman, employed his post-grad daughter in his auto shop, helping run the marketing side of the business. She even got her first TV gig, starring in commercials for the family store, while working there! Chip walked in to get his car fixed and stumbled on a photo of the 23-year-old Joanna hanging on the wall. "I knew I'd marry her one day just by the picture on the wall," Chip told Popsugar.
Chip kept returning to the shop with new excuses and fresh repairs, hoping to bump into his future wife. He finally ran into Joanna in 2001, landing a first date by complimenting her on her car commercials.
Chip almost lost her for $50.
A bet with his best friend John nearly cost him a lifetime of love when he failed to call Joanna back after their first date. After showing up an hour late and climbing up a Magnolia tree (yes, that's how Magnolia got its name!), Chip didn't call her back for months.
"I'd made a bet with John to see who could hold out the longest before calling our dates back. I really wanted that $50 from John! That's the only reason I didn't call," Chip wrote in The Magnolia Story.
When Joanna finally gave him a second chance, she took her time getting to know him. Chip even joked that dating Joanna was like dating a "cyborg" at the beginning. When he first told her he loved her (and yes, he said it first), she said, "thank you." "That's the way cyborgs respond to 'I love you,'" Chip told Us.
They started remodeling right away.
A year into dating, one of Chip's rental properties, an 800-square-foot white cottage opened up, and the couple ditched their traditional Christian values to move in together and renovate. In an interview with Jefferson Bethke, Chip admitted it wasn't appropriate, but that they were engaged and "the next thing you know, we have four kids."
Fans got to see the couple reminisce about their early fixer-upper fails in a house tour episode of the original Gaines home.
"I remember crying when Chip said we were moving in—it was dumpy and it smelled bad. We fixed it up and fell in love with it. We were broke and were forced to be creative with our resources, and we were proud as punch about this place. Most of what I learned creatively stemmed from this little fixer upper," she wrote in the Instagram caption.
They got married a year later.
Once Jo had joined Chip's business full time, she saw the full potential of life as a Gaines. "At first, I couldn't believe how kind Chip was—he had kind eyes, and made me laugh a lot. I knew he was the one because I knew I could trust him," Joanna told Popsugar.
Chip clearly felt the same way. He drove four hours to a strip mall near where he grew up, convincing the unsuspecting Jo that they were attending a concert. When she got out of the car, both families were waiting to celebrate Chip getting down on one knee.
They married in 2003 at the Earle-Harrison House, with a halo set, 1-carat diamond engagement ring Joanna had custom designed. Magnolia Market opened the same year, offering the farmhouse chic decor the Gaineses are known for.
Now celebrating 16 years of marriage, Chip & Jo celebrate their love every May 31st with throwbacks to their wedding and wishes of a long life of love. On their 15th wedding anniversary Chip posted a sweet ode to their marriage.
"15 years...where’d they go, 15 years...I’d like to know, 15 more, to God I pray, 15 more just to make her day, Happy anniversary sweet girl!" he wrote on Twitter.
This year it was Jo's turn to write an inspiring message to the father of 5 by posting a casual photo outside their farmhouse with the caption reminding fans of how in love they remain.
"16 years and it feels like we're just getting started... I love you Chip Carter Gaines #16", she wrote on Instagram.
Fans were quick to comment on the photos, remembering their 12th anniversary episode of Fixer Upper. The season 3 episode featured a farmhouse brunch, planned and decorated by Chip and their children. After admitting he's never successfully surprised his wife, he leads Jo to the floral tablescape, reading a beautiful speech dedicated to their strong marriage.
"When asked if I was "actually surprised" I simply point out my outfit (a t-shirt and jeans) to prove that I was most definitely surprised!" she told Style Me Pretty.
Magnolia Market re-opened, thanks to Fixer Upper.
They focused on their construction business, Magnolia Homes, until HGTV came knocking in 2014. As Fixer Upper took off, they bought and renovated the silos, now Magnolia headquarters: office, shop and restaurant.
Chip thought HGTV was a scam.
In 2012, after stumbling across Joanna's blog about family and the home-renovation business, High Noon producer Katie Neff called the Gaines to talk about her style and starting a business with Chip.
"I was just really impressed by the fact that they were so in love with the town and so dedicated to it—and so dedicated to making a more beautiful place to live in. It’s the perfect place to be flipping homes, because there were so many horribly decrepit homes that you couldn’t live in,” Neff told Texas Monthly.
Despite offering to come down and shoot the hilarious pilot, Chip didn't believe HGTV wanted anything to do with them.
“He was like, 'it’s a scam, do not call them back ,'” Joanna told Today. Luckily, she ignored him and called them back. Their pilot was so charming, HGTV signed them for a five-season deal right off the bat.
Their kids help with renovations, so they can spend time as a family.
The family of seven, welcomed baby Crew June 21st of last year, to the joy of siblings, Duke, Ella Rose, Emmie Kay, and Drake. The kids have featured on Fixer Upper, helping plant things, demo homes, and even design the shiplap interiors.
In line with the Gaines newly announced DIY Network takeover, one of Crew's first photos was for his passport! Whether or not Magnolia goes global, we're sure to see the Gaines kids in future episodes, or even on the new Magnolia streaming app.
Divorce will never be on the Magnolia Table.
After six books, five seasons, and 15 years of marriage, with an estimated net worth of $18 million according to Business Insider, the Gaines are stronger than ever. Chip and Joanna have admitted to their differences in the past, and even fans of the series have seen the serious designer and goofy contractor clash, but the couple relies on their faith and connection to stay close.
"Every now and then, there are times when we notice we're getting off track and have to regroup. But it's like everything we care about, everything that's important to us—we know it's going to require work," Chip told People.
"Won't ever happen...you can take that to the bank! #loveofmylife," he wrote to a fan talking divorce rumors on Twitter. With all the scandals they've weathered, we can't wait to see the bright future of the Gaines crew.
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