Chip and Joanna Gaines make flipping houses look easy – but are some of their renovations faked? The Fixer Upper stars have been involved in several lawsuits over the years and court records reveal the truth behind their popular show.
According to Radar Online, Chip is currently involved in a lawsuit with the owner of a houseboat he purchased in 2012. Chip bought a 1978 Gibson boat for a little over $19,000 with the intention of renovating it for the show. In her book, The Magnolia Story, Joanna revealed that the boat played an important role in HGTV picking up the series.
“On the fourth day [of shooting], just before the camera crew was scheduled to go home, their top guy pulled us aside and said, ‘Look, if something doesn’t happen here, there’s no way you guys are getting a show,'” she explained. “Then something happened. The very next morning, the houseboat arrived. With cameras rolling, Chip put a blindfold on me and drove me to an empty lot by the lake.”
Realtor reports that Joanna and Chip fought over the purchase of the leaky houseboat and the cameras were there to catch it all unfold. Following their argument, the lead cameraman said the drama was exactly what the show needed to get picked up.
Although Joanna made it seem like the boat arrived at the perfect time, Chip actually had it all planned out. When the reality star bought the boat, he told the owner that he wanted it to arrive at a specific date and time. “It was most important for Gaines that the boat be deliverable on or before a certain date when a television producer and cameraman would be present to film his wife’s surprise upon seeing the boat for the first time,” the court documents explained.
Chip was unable to pay off the boat and the owner took him to court. Chip failed to appear in front of the judge, who ruled in favor of the owner. Still, Chip refused to pay off his debt. The lawsuit wasn’t settled until 2013 when a judge ordered Chip to pay off his debt and an additional $20,000 in legal fees.
In addition to the lawsuit, Fox News reports that most people purchase their homes before appearing on the show. Season 3 homeowner David Ridley revealed that he actually bought the house featured on the show before meeting with Chip and Joanna. Even more, he says that producers only select people who are under contract to purchase a home.
“You have to be under contract to be on the show. They show you other homes but you already have one,” he explained. “After they select you, they send your house to Chip and Joanna and their design team.”
Fixer Upper typically begins with Chip and Joanna showing three homes to a potential client. After the client selects the home they want to buy, the renovators turn it over and make it into a dream home.
There are other aspects of the show that aren’t what they seem. According to Pop Sugar, the furniture pieces featured in the final reveal do not remain with the house. Rachel Teodoro, who appeared in the Season 3 episode, “A Big Fix For a House in the Woods,” revealed that all the furniture is actually on loan. The homeowners are given an option to buy the furniture but usually can’t because their budget is tapped on the renovation.
That said, Teodoro admitted that Chip and Joanna’s work is superb and they actually renovate the entire house before moving on to a new project. “They just finish out the entire project, parts you don’t see on the show, to a tee,” she stated.
Season 5 of Fixer Upper is currently in development.
[Featured Image by HGTV]