Chip and Joanna Gaines have been married for 18 years, and in that time, they've worked hard to become successful enough to be a household name. The husband-and-wife home improvement duo started out with their wildly successful Fixer Upper series on HGTV and then turned that into an entire home improvement empire complete with a business complex in Waco, Texas, multiple books, a Target home accessories line, and their very own entertainment network. On top of all of that, they've also managed to parent five children as well. No wonder their love story is so fascinating! Here's a look at how they met and everything they've gone through together since then.
- Chip and Joanna Gaines first met in 2001 and wed in Texas in 2003.
- On May 23, 2013, their HGTV show Fixer Upper premiered, catapulting them to stardom.
- They are parents to three sons and two daughters.
- In June 2021, the couple celebrated 18 years of marriage.
2001: First Meeting
The two first met in Waco, Texas, where an automotive shop brought them together. Chip went to the shop one day, which was owned by Joanna's father, and saw a photo of the family behind the counter. He told Popsugar, "I knew I'd marry her one day just by the picture on the wall."
Chip returned to the shop several times in an attempt to meet Joanna, and told KWTX, "My buddies used to always joke that no one could get their brakes done as often as I got my brakes done." The two finally met in person when Chip went in to get his brakes done and Joanna was working in the office. They met in the waiting area, and according to Joanna, "hit it off immediately."
2001: First Date
Not long after they met, the two went on their first date together, and things didn't go as smoothly as either one of them planned. In their memoir, The Magnolia Story, they detailed their first date. In an excerpt published on Today, Joanna wrote that Chip was ninety minutes late to pick her up, and she was ready to cancel completely. But when he showed up, that changed.
"I still don’t remember what he said that convinced me to walk out the door with him. He didn’t even have a plan for our date," she wrote. "He said, 'So, Joanna, where do you want to go eat?' He didn’t apologize for being late, either. He had so much confidence. I don’t know. I can’t explain it. Only Chip could be an hour-and-a-half late and have no one mad about it."
And while the date ended up going well, it took Chip months to call Joanna afterward for a second date. In an excerpt from The Magnolia Story, he explained that he had made a bet with a friend to see who could hold out the longest before calling their dates back. "I really wanted that fifty dollars from John! That's the only reason I didn't call," he wrote.
2002: The Engagement
About a year after they started dating, Chip popped the question. According to an excerpt of The Magnolia Story published on Cosmopolitan, Chip told Joanna they were going to a private concert. Instead, he took her to a shopping center and proposed before going to a jewelry store to get her engagement ring designed. They went out to dinner afterward and Joanna wrote, "My parents, my little sister, Chip’s parents, and his sister were all there waiting to celebrate our engagement with us."
May 31, 2003: Wedding In Texas
Another year later, the couple tied the knot in Waco, Texas at the Earle Harrison House, a historic mansion that Joanna has said looks like where they had their first date.
2003: First House Flip
Joanna started helping Chip flip houses and almost immediately after their wedding they bought their first house, which was also their first official flip together. Joanna told Popsugar they started renovations right after their honeymoon, saying, "All I could remember is the smell. The house was bad. Chip did all the construction, and I remember many nights he was on his hands and knees staining floors or laying tile."
October 16, 2003: Opening Magnolia Market
After that flip, the two started another part of their business: they opened their first retail store, Magnolia Market. In an Instagram post, Joanna later said, "I was extremely grateful for the forty customers that came in that day to support us." In an interview with Baylor University, Joanna noted that opening a retail shop had been a dream of hers, saying, "For 10 years, I had a notebook where I would write all my dreams and other business ideas. When we married, Chip suggested I make one of those actually happen."
2004-2010: Growing The Family
For the next seven years, the couple focused on expanding both their family and their business. On May 4, 2004, their first son Drake was born; their first daughter, Ella Rose, was born on October 23, 2006; their second son, Duke, was born on May 23, 2008; and their second daughter, Emmie Kay, was born on February 1, 2010.
In 2005, they ended up closing Magnolia Market and turned the building into the business headquarters for Magnolia Homes, where they could work on real estate, home renovation, and interior design. "We had to learn to work together," Chip told Baylor University, adding, "It really helped to forge a solid marriage that has served us well not only in business but in life in general."
May 23, 2013: The Show Begins
Fixer Upper, the HGTV success that catapulted the Gaines' into stardom, premiered and was an instant success, with 1.9 million viewers. Joanna later told Popsugar, "I always dreamed of the idea of television but never thought it would have to do with design or renovations."
October 2015: Another Store Opening
Not long after Fixer Upper premiered, the two went into retail yet again. They opened Magnolia Market at the Silos, a retail complex featuring several different shops, bakeries, and restaurants. According to Texas Monthly, in 2016 the complex brought in up to 35,000 people a week.
The two have talked about the struggles of working so closely together. Joanna once told People, "Early on we had our fair share of fights and figuring out where the boundaries were. He’s good at the big picture, and he’s good at risk. I like the details."
2016: More Business Launches
Thanks to the success of Fixer Upper and Magnolia Market at the Silos, 2016 was a huge year for the couple. They launched a line of paint colors, wallpaper designs, and furniture. They also opened a bed-and-breakfast called The Magnolia House and published the first issue of their quarterly lifestyle publication, The Magnolia Journal.
This was also the year that their first book together, The Magnolia Story, was published. In the book, they wrote about their biggest milestones and moments together and shared details about their relationship. In an excerpt from their book published on their blog, Joanna wrote, "One pretty amazing thing we learned early on was that the more time we spent together, the better our relationship was." She added, "We seem to give each other energy. We function better together than we do apart, and I don't think either one of us has ever felt the urge to say, 'I need a break from you.' Don't get me wrong, we've certainly had our share of disappointments and arguments, but we just always wanted to tackle our issues together."
August 2017: Divorce Rumors
Everything seemed to be going great for Chip and Joanna, but in 2017, possible divorce rumors began circulating. When one fan tweeted that they were sick of the stories, Chip replied with a tweet of his own, saying, "Won't ever happen! You can take that to the bank! #loveOfMyLife"
September 2017: The End of "Fixer Upper"
Chip and Joanna surprised fans when they revealed that season five of Fixer Upper would be the last. In a blog post, they wrote, "Our family is healthy and our marriage has honestly never been stronger. This has nothing to do with a fraudulent skincare line or anything else you’ll inevitably read. This is just us recognizing that we need to catch our breath for a moment. Our plan is to take this time to shore up and strengthen the spots that are weak, rest the places that are tired and give lots of love and attention to both our family and our businesses."
Around the same time, the couple announced they were launching a home and lifestyle brand with Target, called Hearth & Hand with Magnolia.
January 2, 2018: A Big Announcement
At the start of 2018, the couple surprised fans again when they announced they would be growing their family. Chip posted a cute photo of the two comparing "baby bumps," with the caption, "Gaines party of 7.. (If you’re still confused.. WE ARE PREGNANT) @joannagaines"
February 26, 2018: A New Restaurant
The two had yet another announcement to kick off 2018: they opened a restaurant called Magnolia Table. Located in Waco, Texas, the breakfast-centric restaurant uses some of the fruit, veggies, and eggs grown in Joanna's personal garden.
June 23, 2018: Crew Gaines Is Born
At the start of the summer, Joanna shared a photo of herself and her newborn son in the hospital to announce his birth. She wrote, "Our baby boy, Crew Gaines, is here and we couldn’t be more in love. He made an unexpected (and speedy) entrance into the world two and a half weeks early–which is fitting given he was a sweet surprise from day one. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We are so grateful."
April 2019: A New Media Company
Despite the arrival of their fifth son, Chip and Joanna proved in 2019 they had no plans to slow down their business. Discovery, Inc. released a press release saying they would be launching a "multi-platform media joint venture" with Magnolia. This would later turn into Magnolia Network.
August 2020: A Big Reboot
Fans were excited to hear that Chip and Joanna would be rebooting Fixer Upper exclusively on Magnolia Network. According to Deadline, Chip explained that they missed the show, saying, "These past few years, we’ve continued tackling renovations and projects, doing the work we’re passionate about, but I don’t think either of us anticipated how the show would become such a permanent fixture in our hearts. We’ve missed sharing the stories of these families and their homes with you, and we’re excited to do that again very soon!”
June 2021: Anniversary Celebrations
Chip and Joanna celebrated 18 years of marriage together in June. Joanna posted a sweet video tribute on Instagram that featured photos from their time together with the caption, "18 years. Thankful to be on this adventure with you—happy anniversary." Around that time, they spoke to Oprah Winfrey for a Super Soul special about how they bring out the best in each other. Chip said, "I was like a dog chasing his tail in a circle, trying to be all the things for all the people and I can just, beyond a shadow of a doubt, quickly say [Joanna] grounded me. And it's almost like the dog then saw the tennis ball or whatever and calmed down."