If you’ve turned on a TV, read a magazine or walked into a store lately, you probably know who Chip and Joanna Gaines are. Their mega-hit show, Fixer Upper, which airs on HGTV, is just about everywhere. But the cute couple has plenty of behind the scenes secrets that not just anyone knows. Sure, you know their goofy on-camera antics are endearing and the houses they make over always have the “wow” factor, but what got them started? What did they really want to become? Seeing people on TV makes them feel long distance, but this couple is in touch with reality in more ways than one. Enjoy these surprising facts as you get to know TV’s It couple better in a variety of ways.
15 Chip wanted to play baseball, not be on TV
You’d think that everyone who is on TV has big dreams of becoming famous and living their life onscreen. In reality, all Chip ever wanted to do as a kid was be a baseball player when he grew up. He never dreamed of TV stardom or of the real estate game. No, he wanted to be a professional ball player. His second choice was to become a politician. Rather strange combination. But instead, he became a business major at Baylor University, the college Joanna also attended, though not at the same time. While he played football from time to time, his baseball dreams were never realized and he had to move on to more practical ways of supporting himself, like tearing houses apart.
14 Joanna always wanted to be on TV, but not reality TV
Joanna, on the other hand, always had a dream of being on TV herself, but she didn’t think it would come together in the form of designing or renovating homes. She got a degree (also from Baylor University in Waco, TX) in broadcast journalism and even had an internship with Dan Rather when he was a part of CBS in New York City. But after all that excitement, she returned to Waco and started working in her father’s tire shop. Her TV debut came when they needed someone for his tire commercials and she seemed to be just the right person for the job. She’s spent plenty of time on screen since, but the tire ads will always be her first venture onto the tube.
13 Joanna crushed on Chip's roommate
Chip and Joanna met when he took his car to her father’s shop and saw her photo tacked up on the wall. He says it was love at first sight, even though they had yet to meet. He was excited when his car broke down again so he could finally meet Joanna, who was working behind the counter. Joanna, on the other hand, had eyes for his roommate, who he took along with him when he got his brakes fixed at the tire shop. Joanna attempted to approach the roommate first, but Chip swooped in and broke the ice instead, telling her he recognized her from the tire commercials. The rest, as they say, is history. Who knows how the world would be different today if she had talked to his hot roommate as she’d planned.
12 Their relationship started off on the rocky side
When Chip asked Joanna out for the first time, he was half an hour late. She, however, let it slide when he laid on the charm. Even though the date went well, he didn’t call her again for months. He said his roommate made a bet with him as to which one of them could hold out longer before calling their prospective dates again. There were 50 dollars on the line and he used that as his excuse for not calling sooner. However, once the second date finally occurred, they were on the right path and headed toward marriage a little over a year later. He’s pretty lucky that Joanna said yes to a second date at all after that much time went by. Perhaps he used the bet money on her.
11 Flipping houses didn't come to them as a natural talent
You’d think that people who are famous for flipping and improving houses would have a natural talent for it. However, that is not the case for these two. Chip flipped his first house in college and Joanna got in on it after their honeymoon when they tried to turn an ugly old house into something charming so they could sell it again. But their lack of experience was painful for them and they learned by the error of their ways. They painted over wallpaper, left old ceilings in place and spent too much on new shower heads. We suppose a rough start is a good thing because they won’t make the same mistakes again, which turns out well for the families who appear on the show.
10 Their HGTV audition was a flop
When Chip and Joanna started buying, living in, remodeling and eventually selling houses, Joanna started posting their projects on a personal blog. Word spread from there and an HGTV producer contacted them and came to Waco with a camera crew to see how they would work on camera as a couple and a team. Joanna says they were horrible and froze up during the audition. However, as the crew was packing up to leave, a leaky houseboat was delivered…something Chip had purchased that Joanna didn’t know about. He said he thought it would be fun for them and the kids to move aboard and live there for a bit. Joanna, however, was horrified and their natural reactions—something we all know and love today—got them the show.
9 There's a lot more to the shooting site than what you see
When you watch the show, you see Chip and Joanna and the stellar job they are doing. But there are often a lot of things going on in the background, or even up close and personal that you never realized were there. There are often animals around during the filming, for example. There might be dogs under a nearby tree or even planted underneath a camera operator’s tripod. And, more often than not, they have their children along with them as well. While the camera shoots them talking about their project from the waist up, they may have a child circled around their leg below the shot. There’s always plenty going on within any set they work on, and that’s not to mention the actual work going on for the project.
8 The larger than life posters were a last-minute brainstorm
When working on a fixer-upper reality renovation series, the big reveal of the work they have done is an important part of the process. During filming for the very first episode, they were trying to come up with how to deliver the client to their house without showing the house itself right away. At the last minute, they had a friend weld a huge frame and they stuck a billboard of the former home inside it. Luckily, they have friends in both welding and the billboard business to pull it all off before the big reveal was scheduled. Since it worked out so well, it became a fixture of the show that helps deliver families to their new homes while capturing their every reaction for TV purposes.
7 They change houses...not their clothes
While Chip and Joanna spend their working hours making tons of changes to homes on a weekly basis, their love never changes. But there’s something else in their lives that also doesn’t change…their clothing preferences! They have a love affair with the same jeans and boots, and have since they got married in 2003. His go-to style includes Gap jeans and Ariat boots. She likes Citizen skinnies and Frye boots. Whether it’s demo or decorating day, as long as they have their favorite jeans, boots and sense of humor, they are good to go on the renovation project at hand. Perhaps it’s like a lucky pair of socks to the athlete. Without them, they might just fail at the job at hand. With them, they’re golden!
6 Their home is literally a zoo
As you watch their show on HGTV, you can tell they can handle a lot of juggling in their renovation situations. But did you ever dream that they have even more on their hands when they go home? When do they relax? You may have seen their four children on the show, ranging in age from 6 to 11. But they live on a 40-acre farm that also includes 60 animals that keep having babies of their own and adding to the crew. Joanna said she wanted to have another baby, but Chip is not interested as they already have plenty to take care of, both at work and at home. Perhaps they will start bringing farm animals to the set to fertilize new grass…
5 They don't own a TV
Someone who makes a living on TV and doesn’t even have a TV is a bit strange, don’t you think? They aren’t even able to watch their own show or share it with their children! The couple says that they sometimes get together with friends and see shows on occasion, but mostly, in their home, they would rather be out in the world doing other things. We suppose they have plenty of other things to do with a busy career, four children and plenty of animals to care for. And they were already in all the scenes so they know what’s going on with their show, right? It looks as if they find ways to entertain themselves and their family. They probably wouldn’t have time for it anyway!
4 They finish jobs off camera without Fixer Upper budgets
You can tell things aren’t just for show with these two when they continue jobs they started until they are finished. On Fixer Upper, there might be certain rooms that are a priority and that are within budget. But when the cameras stop rolling, Chip and Joanna often finish the job they started using a different budget from the TV show. They complete rooms that weren’t a priority for the show to give families a complete job from top to bottom. It’s nice to hear that they aren’t just there for the show and as soon as the cameras are off, they’re out of there. They take their jobs seriously and the satisfaction of their in-person customers very personally. They’re a class act to these homeowners.
3 Their relationship is even sweeter off-camera
One of the reasons we love this couple so much is because of the way they relate to one another. Those who know them in person say that this is simply the way they are. And while we appreciate Chip’s wit and Joanna’s loving mannerisms, apparently, the couple is even better for one another off-camera. When Chip travels, for example, Joanna leaves notes for him in his overnight bag…and he’s saved every one of them. But he’s not short on the romance, either. He bought her a new set of drums after she mentioned that she always wanted to learn how to play. With that kind of encouragement, she always feels as if he’s standing behind her, encouraging her in her dreams. Insert the “aw” here!
2 Their kids have a sweet treehouse
While the kids don’t have a TV to watch on a regular basis (Chip and Joanna say they weren’t impressed with the few shows of mom and dad’s they have seen at friends houses) they do have an awesome tree house that any child would love to have. Built relatively low to the ground, they access the house by a set of stairs and then, they let the fun begin. With warm weather much of the year, the tree house is something they can use virtually any time. When they want to get away from the family goats, chickens and other animals, this is a great escape from it all. No doubt that Joanna finds Chip hiding out here from time to time as well.
1 Joanna owned her own business before they made it big on TV
Before their HGTV fame began, Joanna owned her own business, called Magnolia Market. Of course, you have probably heard that name because it still exists today in a much bigger form. In fact, it is considered one of the biggest tourist attractions in Waco. The couple also has Magnolia Realty and Magnolia Homes to their businesses. The market started out as a small building, but took over a downtown Waco property including two grain silos and a 20,000 square foot barn. The market is more than just a store, which used to be a retail shop, but is also more of a community center. The warm and welcoming market has history with the silos nearby and affordable merchandise, much of which is made locally and evolves quickly into new items.