Why ‘Fixer Upper’ Star Chip Gaines Says ‘Life is the Same’ After Getting Famous

by Suzanne Halliburton

Chip Gaines and his wife, Joanna, shot from Central Texas obscurity to national stardom thanks to Fixer Upper, their renovation show on HGTV.

Fans adored the couple because what they saw on the screen with Fixer Upper felt very real. Chip and Joanna, the then parents of four children, renovated houses in their hometown of Waco, Texas, population 136,000.

So what did fame feel like? Oprah Winfrey posed this question to the Fixer Upper stars earlier this year.

“I have discovered that fame is just, your life is the same, you’re the same,” Chip Gaines told Winfrey. “And everybody has an idea of what that is, it’s just more people know your name. And I think if you don’t know who you are when the fame thing hits then you lose yourself.”

Gaines added: “Really what happened — and was the truth for Jo and I — was it was no big deal for her, but for me to become famous. I lost a part of myself that was really… it was sad. I would say it took me a year or two while I was still filming to try to grapple with what exactly it was that I was losing.”

The Gaines Turned Fixer Upper into a Lifestyle Brand

The Gaines now are managing a lifestyle brand that extends far beyond Waco. The couple launched Magnolia Network on Discovery+ earlier this summer. There’s also a Magnolia app. And of course, Fixer Upper is a cornerstone of the network’s content. But it’s been rebranded as  Fixer Upper: Welcome Home. The network now is digital-only, but it’ll head to cable by January 2022.

The original show started on HGTV in 2013 and ran through 2018. But the Gaines wanted to be known for something more than Fixer Upper. Magnolia Network could be worth as much as $1 billion. In contrast, back when the show first came on the air, the Gaines made $500,000 a season. The Gaines also own restaurants. Joanna has houseware and furniture lines. There are books and a magazine. Joanna hosts a cooking show and then uses her social media platform to share her favorite recipes.

Earlier this month, Joanna posted a snap of a perfect pizza the family was eating the night before school started. The couple had a fifth child after the show went off the air on HGTV.

.And Chip even trained for a marathon. It’s also documented on their network.

The couple is super famous in Waco, a town midway between Dallas and Austin. They own a five-acre shopping complex across the street from the First Baptist Church. Fixer Upper even made Waco a destination city, as opposed to a pass-through town on the interstate. An estimated 2 million visitors travel to Waco each year to shop at the Silos and Magnolia Market.

So Fixer Upper fame became unavoidable. As Chip Gaines told Winfrey, the key was knowing who you are before everybody else recognizes you.