Life After Fixer Upper: How Chip and Joanna Gaines Are Finding Happiness Out of the Spotlight

The beloved couple may have said goodbye to HGTV, but they are still busier than ever with an ever-expanding empire and new baby

By Tierney Bricker Oct 24, 2018 6:56 PMTags

Missing those open floor plans yet?

Chip and Joanna Gaines went from Waco, Texas' go-to remodel-and-design duo to bonafide TV superstars when Fixer Upper premiered in 2013, with fans falling for their barnyard chic aesthetic as well as their family values, with their four children often featured on the HTGV hit series. You wanted to grab a beer with Chip. You wanted to go antiquing with Jo. You wanted to be around when they lit fireworks with Drake, 13, Ella, 11, Duke, 9, and Emmie Kay, 8, after a long day of work. 

Still, the beloved couple is still as available as ever to their dedicated fans...even if they aren't being treated to Chip and Joanna playfully bickering/giving us endless #houseporn on their TV screens each week.

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So of course HGTV fans were shocked when they learned Fixer Upper was coming to an end after five seasons of massive ratings, which the couple announced just over one year ago on Sept. 26, 2017.

"While we are confident that this is the right choice for us, it has for sure not been an easy one to come to terms with," the couple said in a statement at the time. "Our family has grown up alongside yours, and we have felt you rooting us on from the other side of the screen. How bittersweet to say goodbye to the very thing that introduced us all in the first place."

And it wasn't just fans of the network that were upset to hear Fixer Upper was ending, as it was one of HGTV's most successful shows. 

If the home makeover genre is a well-decorated high school, Chip and Jo are the prom king and queen. The season four finale was one of the highest-rated cable TV episodes of 2017. It was nominated for two Emmys.  Joanna was given a spinoff series, Fixer Upper: Behind the Design. The network continued to try and replicate their effortless charm and chemistry with a seemingly endless roster of couple-led home-reno shows, but the Gaines' magic proved impossible to replicate.


Of course, rumors immediately started flying about why the couple would walk away from their hit television show when it was at its peak. And the most salacious was that Chip and Joanna were having marital woes and divorce was likely on the horizon.

While they acknowledged the need to give "lots of love and attention" to their family, they shot down reports of trouble within their marriage.

"Our family is healthy and our marriage has honestly never been stronger," they said. "This has nothing to do with a fraudulent skincare line or anything else you'll inevitably read."

The Gaines once again addressed the split rumors when they appeared on E!'s Daily Pop

"When you put yourself out in the public light like this, people are going to speculate like this and we have had our fair share of that, but Jo and I are just as happy as we have ever been."

Fans were equal parts surprised and overjoyed  when the Gaines announced they were expecting their fifth child in January 2018, an announcement that helped bring those pesky split stories to a screeching halt. 

And the couple was adamant that stepping away from Fixer Upper and the spotlight it shone on their family was a necessary step they needed to take—and not even a massive offer to stay would change their minds. 

"Unfortunately, I don't think if they came back and offered a billion dollars that we would step back at this point," Joanna told E!. "We are pretty headstrong and when we feel like it is the right decision for our relationship, for our family, for our business, it would take an act of congress to knock us off that position."

But for loyal followers, the end of Fixer Upper might not have been too surprising, as TV stardom was never the couple's ultimate end-goal.

"We're local businesspeople, so we're thinking very local," Joanna told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. "'Seize it while it's here,' that's what we hear, but we want this brand to last. TV is just part of the equation."

The final episode of Fixer Upper aired on April 3, with Joanna commemorating the end of that five-year chapter of their lives with a tweet looking back on their very first episode. 

"If you would have told me that I'd end this season of the show pregnant with our fifth baby, I would've laughed," she wrote on her blog. "Like the entire Fixer Upper opportunity as a whole, life has a way of surprising us. With our little ones getting bigger, we had this gut feeling that it was time to step back and focus on them and our businesses here in Waco, Texas. And although that's why we thought we decided to step away from the show, we now realize with this little one on the way that there was a bigger plan in place for us all along."

In June, Joanna gave birth to Crew Gaines, with Joanna announcing the seventh member of the Gaines crew's arrival in a sweet Instagram post.

"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," she wrote. "Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We are so grateful." 

In the fall issue of their Magnoila Journal magazine, Jo opened up about being pregnant at 40, admitting she "truly believed she was done" before Crew came along and surprised her. 

"It's sweet how, even in the most unpredictable ways, we're given exactly what we need for that exact moment in time," she wrote. "It wasn't something I could have anticipated. But being pregnant and 'forced' to slow down has been a gift."

Though Fixer Upper has come to an end and another child is sometimes keeping them up all night, Chip and Joanna are still busier than ever in their professional lives: They are still renovating and building houses in their hometown, operating vacation rentals, releasing issues of their quarterly magazine The Magnolia Journal, they re-opened a discount shop for original Magnolia store, and the couple opened a new restaurant, Magnolia Table in Waco, releasing a cookbook of the same name simultaneously. Plus, Joanna was working on her highly anticipated design book, Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, which hits shelves in November. Oh, and Chip released a House Flip game and decided to bring home a new puppy and new kitten to add to their expanding brood. 

That is all in addition to their successful ongoing partnership with Target on their Hearth & Hand lifestyle brand and, of course, their original (and ever-growing) company, Magnolia, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary. 

"It all started with a dream that I jotted down on a legal pad back in 2003," Joanna wrote in an Instagram post. "Thank you Chip Carter for helping me turn what was on that piece of paper into a reality. These last fifteen years have been equal parts scary and exciting and there's no one else I'd rather by my side than you."

The couple celebrated the milestone at the fourth annual Silobration at Magnolia Market at the Silos, the massive-yet-community-focused complex the couple first opened in 2015 (that includes Joanna's bakery and garden store BTW). Roughly 40,000 people turned out to enjoy the festivities, which included a vendor fair, concerts and more that took place this past weekend. 

Despite their still-growing empire, Chip and Jo, who celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary in May, are still taking the time to savor the little moments, often sharing glimpses into their private home life on their social media accounts. 

Joanna quietly celebrated her 40th birthday with doughnuts. Chip, 43, ran his first-ever marathon, "fulfilling a lifelong goal." Joanna often posts about the family's cuddling sessions for her almost 9 million Instagram followers. They're making memories with their children, big (like attending a hot air balloon festival) and small (think fishing trips and wildflower-picking). 

When they initially announced the show's end, the Gaines said, "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."

And it looks like they're doing just that...and are happier and busier than ever.