Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper have won the hearts of millions with their lovey-dovey antics and picture-perfect life. The houses they work on are amazing, but there’s no doubt that the Gaineses are the true stars of the show. And while they are refreshingly honest about their partnership, they do have the odd secret! Here are 20 things that even hardcore Fixer Upper fans might have never been told about Chip and Joanna.
20. Their first romantic moment didn’t go as planned
When Chip first told Joanna he loved her, he got the response no one ever wants: a simple “thank you” and nothing else. Chip responded with anger. “I grabbed my basketball and I walked home like a four-year-old,” he told Us Weekly in 2016.
19. Joanna is half-Korean, part-Lebanese and part-German
Many fans of Fixer Upper have questioned Joanna’s ethnicity, with many people guessing Native American. She eventually cleared things up on her website, saying, “Although I did play Pocahontas in high school, I am not Native American. My father is half Lebanese/half German and my mother is full Korean.”
18. They helped a couple adopt a child
In 2016 Austin and Kenzi Reddick set up an Etsy store to raise enough money to adopt. One of the mugs they sold featured the words “Joanna Gaines Is My Spirit Animal.” Because of this, Chip immediately bought one and promoted it on Instagram. His assistance helped get the couple their money.
17. Chip fell in love with Joanna’s photo
The early days of the Chip-Joanna relationship were positively fairytale. Chip used to visit her father’s auto repair shop and one day he noticed a picture of Joanna and her family behind the counter. He’s since said he immediately he knew he was going to marry her, and, of course, he did.
16. The couple don’t have a TV in their house
Despite being reality TV stars, Chip and Joanna don’t actually possess a television set! When their show comes on, they watch it at a friend’s place. They also don’t allow their kids to have cell phones, because they want them to spend their time interacting with nature instead.
15. Joanna has a strict health regime
How is Joanna Gaines so slim? Healthy living. In fact, she drinks 125 ounces of water every day. “It used to be 100, but I just bumped it up,” she wrote on the official HGTV website. She also eats plenty of vegetables.
14. The couple aren’t originally from Waco
Chip and Joanna Gaines became the golden couple of Waco, Texas, thanks to Fixer Upper. But they’re not actually from there originally. Chip’s birth city is Albuquerque, New Mexico; he later moved to Dallas. Joanna, meanwhile, grew up in Kansas.
13. The couple were broke before Fixer Upper
Chip and Joanna didn’t always lead such a picture-perfect life. Back in 2003, when they were first married, they were pretty much completely broke. And the financial meltdown of 2008 made things worse; indeed, at one point they were $100,000 in the red.
12. Joanna likes to wear the same outfit every day
Joanna Gaines may be a style icon, but she’s an accidental one. “My friends make fun of me because typically I wear the same outfit almost everyday,” she wrote on her website in 2014. “It’s comfortable, easy, and I don’t have to think about it.”
11. They’ve had parenting disasters
The Gaineses have four children now, and like any parents they’ve had moments of forgetfulness. In 2016 Joanna shared one of Chip’s worst parenting moments with People: he once left their six-week-old son in the house alone, twice in the space of seven days!
10. Joanna was bullied at school
While she was growing up, Joanna was made fun of for her looks and her ethnicity. “Who I was wasn’t good enough,” she said in a 2015 video released by Baylor University. But she more than got the last laugh.
9. Chip was once arrested for non-payment of fines
When the Gaineses were living in poverty, they were issued some hefty fines from animal control over their unleashed dogs. They couldn’t pay up, so Chip was arrested. Joanna had to empty her store’s cash register to pay his bail.
8. Joanna has no educational background in interior design
It’s hard to believe when watching Fixer Upper, but Joanna actually hasn’t had any formal education in interior design. She actually majored in communications and only fell in love with design when she fell in love with her husband. Aww!
7. The pair have had lawsuits leveled against them
It’s not all plain sailing for the Gaineses. They’ve had a couple of lawsuits served to them, including one in 2017. A lady from San Antonio sued them for an alleged head trauma she got while shopping at the couple’s Magnolia Market.
6. Joanna designed her own engagement ring
Chip’s way of proposing to Joanna was absolutely the sweetest. He explained to her that he was taking her to a concert. However, instead, he took her to a shopping mall, proposed and then took her to the local jewelry store to design her ring. Bless!
5. Joanna leaves little notes for Chip when he goes out of town
The Gaineses are very busy people, but they do everything they can to keep their spark alive. Whenever Chip has to go off and travel, his wife leaves notes for him in his bag! “I have a pile of them from over the years,” Chip told Popsugar in 2015.
4. Chip once bought Joanna a drum kit without asking
Chip is rather prone to making impulsive purchases, but it tends to work out in the end. “I said I wanted to learn the drums once, and the next day there was a full set in the house,” Joanna told People in 2016. Now that’s love!
3. Joanna’s first job was at an all-you-can-eat buffet
Joanna’s first ever job was nothing to do with houses or decoration. In fact, she actually worked at an all-you-can-eat buffet, all the while trusting in God to find her a true calling in life. “I still have an appreciation for buffet lines,” she told Popsugar in 2015.
2. Their first date was a disaster
Chip and Joanna may be the perfect couple now, but they got off to a spectacularly bad start. Chip showed up an hour and a half late for their first date and he didn’t even apologize. And he hadn’t planned where he was going to take Joanna.
1. Chip and Joanna’s church is anti-gay
Chip and Joanna are devout Christians and famous for it. Yet there may be a darker side to their church, the Antioch Community Church. It’s run by a pastor who fiercely opposes homosexuality, and, notably, the Gaineses have never featured a gay couple on their show.