Fixer Upper has become one of HGTV’s most popular home improvement shows, and it’s all thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines. From Chip’s goofy personality to Joanna’s eye for decorations, fans can’t get enough of them. But there are a few little-known secrets about their rise to fame.
According to Nicki Swift, Chip and Joanna met at her father’s automotive repair shop. Chip noticed Joanna’s picture in her dad’s office and knew that she was the one. He didn’t meet Joanna until he brought his car in for a break repair and they bumped into each other in the waiting room.
“He was genuinely engaging and he had such a sincere smile,” Joanna remembers. “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.”
The couple had their first big break when a production company read one of Joanna’s blog posts and reached out. The company liked Joanna’s designs and thought that it was interesting how she and Chip flipped houses as a team. The conversations eventually led to what would become Fixer Upper.
Although the couple has been incredibly successful with their show, things weren’t always easy. Before their rise to fame, Radar Online reports that Chip was arrested because they refused to pay animal control fines. The two allowed their dogs to roam around their property in Waco, Texas, which annoyed their neighbors. One neighbor constantly called animal control whenever she saw the dogs without a leash and the penalties quickly mounted.
“These weren’t like parking tickets either,” Chip shared. “They came with heavy fines, which I absolutely refused to pay out of some misguided form of principle…. well, guess what? When you don’t pay your fines, eventually the police come looking for you.”
The police arrived at the Gaines’ home one day to arrest Joanna for the fines. Chip told the police that she wasn’t home. The couple then set up an appointment with a judge to get the tickets transferred to Chip’s name. The Fixer Upper star was arrested when he arrived at the meeting and an $800 bail was set. Joanna was forced to clean out the register in their store just to get Chip out of jail.
Meanwhile, when it comes to flipping houses, All Created reports that Chip got his start in the renovation business when he was still in college. “Once I caught on to the concept of buying something that is undervalued to then put value into it and sell it for a profit, I was hooked, too,” Chip explained.
Joanna and Chip owned Magnolia Market before their reality series took off. They now own their own real estate company, Magnolia Realty, and added Magnolia Homes to their line of business ventures.
As far as Fixer Upper is concerned, the show didn’t start out on good footing. According to Radar Online, the series was on the verge of disaster when a house boat renovation saved it all. Chip purchased a houseboat before the cameras started rolling and had it delivered as a surprise during the final days of filming.
Before the boat arrived, producers weren’t happy with how the show was shaping up and wanted more drama between the couple. Fortunately, Joanna wasn’t pleased when Chip surprised her with the new houseboat and their subsequent argument was exactly what they show needed to get picked up by HGTV.
The drama, of course, didn’t end there. Chip was later sued by the original owner of the boat for failing to pay him over $19,000. A judge eventually ruled in favor of the owner because Chip failed to appear in court.
Season 5 of Fixer Upper will premiere later this year.
[Featured Image by HGTV]