Welcome to Waco, Jason Kennedy!
On Monday's all-new In the Room, the E! personality swung by the central Texas town. Why? To pay a visit to Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines, of course.
As E! readers surely know, fans were shocked when the beloved HGTV couple announced their "bittersweet" decision to end Fixer Upper. With the last episode of the hit home design and renovation show airing in April 2018, viewers were left missing the twosome's barnyard chic aesthetic and loving banter.
Yet, as was made abundantly clear on In the Room, the Gaines' departure from Fixer Upper was merely a sabbatical from the limelight, not a definite exit. Not only have Chip and Jo continued to grow their empire through many business endeavors—including a bakery, a restaurant, a magazine, a target line and more—they've planned a return to TV, on their terms.
Specifically, Chip and Jo have teamed up with Discovery Inc. to launch their own network, appropriately named, the Magnolia Network. Thus, Jason sat down with the handy duo to get the scoop on what's to come and to learn more about their love story.
For everything this week's In the Room taught us about Chip and Jo, scroll through our major takeaways below!
On being recognized for the first time:
When Fixer Upper first aired on HGTV in May 2013, the Texas-based couple had no idea what a smash hit their show would be. In fact, per Joanna, they thought Fixer Upper would only resonate with Texas viewers.
"When this thing first landed, we thought, 'Oh there's gonna be people in Waco that know us—we thought Waco and maybe Dallas and Austin would watch this Fixer Upper show," the mother of five shared. "We went to New York for some media thing and people on the streets of New York noticed us."
Unsurprisingly, being recognized in such a huge city had the couple saying, "Whoa!"
"For us, it really set in, people are watching this and we were just completely dumbfounded by it," Joanna added.
Fast forward to today, where fans from across the country are flocking to the Magnolia Market Silos for a chance sighting of the Gaines family.
How to keep a relationship strong:
"I think anybody can have it," Chip revealed. "You know, at the end of the day I love Jo more than anything in the world and I think that when you start experimenting with this idea that I love something more than I love myself."
Chip and Joanna, who have been married for 16 years, have five children together: including sons Drake, Duke and Crew and daughters Ella and Emmie.
"And I'm an arrogant, self-centered freak," he continued. "I was not a person that was naturally built for marriage. I got married when I was a little later. I mean, we're in the Bible Belt so my friends were all getting married at 21, 22 to having their first kid at 23, 24. And I was just like, 'Y'all are crazy! Who would want to do that?'"
On ending Fixer Upper:
After putting their heart and soul into an HGTV show, Chip and Joanna chose to walk away from Fixer Upper. While the couple couldn't be more grateful for the success they found during their Fixer Upper years, they described the whirlwind prosperity as a "blur."
"That whole time period feels like a blur," Joanna admitted. "When I look back, I remember 2012 and I remember last year, but then that time in the middle it was just such a blur…trying to juggle the business, the family and this whole production thing with Fixer Upper."
Thankfully, amid their break, Chip and Joanna found that "time has slowed down." Apparently, Chip and Jo were working "100 hours a week" during the height of the show.
"I think for Jo and I, as we look back on the whole Fixer Upper thing, the reason we were so excited and almost desperate to step out of it was just because we felt that whirlwind had gotten so complicated to that it was hard for us to coexist in it," Chip expressed.
Nonetheless, between the upcoming launch of the Magnolia Network and other projects, the Gaines family is as busy as ever.
What's in the future for Chip and Jo:
Speaking of the Magnolia Network, the twosome is excited to "explore this new universe." Although Chip and Joanna are launching the network as a duo, they won't be starring on a new show together.
As it happens, Joanna will be the solo star of a new cooking show. However, Chip said he's eager to have a cameo here and there.
"I keep asking Chip, 'Do you want to be a part of this with me?' He's like, 'Nope!'" Joanna spilled. "But, we've already filmed a few in here—and guess who just magically shows up?"
"I don't want to be famous, unless somebody walks by me and doesn't recognize me," Chip defended. "Then I'm like, 'Hold on a second!'"
Regardless, Joanna (who was a broadcast journalism major) noted that their production and development projects are far more her dream.
"Production stuff isn't what Chip ever dreamed of. So, for him to continue to walk alongside me in this journey, even with the network, it's really Chip saying 'Jo, if you want it, I'm gonna get it for you,'" Joanna shared.
Which kid is just like Chip:
The answer: Crew!
Even though the youngest Gaines is only 1 year old, it's clear that he has taken after his father. As Chip expressed, Crew is him "reincarnated."
Apparently, while filming with Jo, Crew kept hamming it up for the cameras. "He kept falling in the garden bed with his belly, 'cause his belly is bigger—it leads him. So, he kept falling in and realizing everyone was laughing. So, he'd look around, fall back in," Joanna shared. "I'm like, 'Chip! You no longer need to show up. We've got Crew.'"
Their love of Waco:
As Kennedy mentioned during filming, tourism in Waco has tripled since the debut of Fixer Upper. Unsurprisingly, Chip and Jo only had gush-worthy things to say about their hometown.
"For both of us, we feel so indebted to Waco for so many reasons. They supported us through some tough times before the show ever existed," Chip relayed. "I mean, there were some ups-and-downs with our construction company and they supported us through that. Jo had a little shop on Bosque…there were women in town who would frequent her store on a regular basis."
According to Chip, those loyal customers still shop Magnolia products today. Without those "various purchases," Chip and Jo "wouldn't be" the moguls they are now.
"For us to have fallen in love with this community and then to now see this boom of sorts…it's definitely a special thing," Chip added. "We've always pulled for Waco and Waco has always pulled for us. I believe we're stronger when we work together."