How Chip Gaines' Bad Business Practices Once Caused Major Trouble For Joanna's Dad

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Judging by the Gaines' success today, Chip Gaines — half of the famous "Fixer Upper" duo — seems to have the magic touch. He and his wife, Joanna Gaines, first gained popularity with their HGTV show, which did so well it ran for five seasons. Meanwhile, the pair built their Magnolia empire, which includes shops, a television network, a magazine publication, and products. But it wasn't always this way.

When Chip was just starting out, he dabbled in many simultaneous projects within the construction world. In his book, "Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff," the Waco, Texas resident detailed how many of his employees were Spanish speaking at the time, and he wanted to be able to converse with them better. To accomplish this, Chip enrolled in an immersive language class that would take him to Mexico for three months. Joanna, his girlfriend at the time, agreed and said she would even help manage his books while he was away.

However, his finances weren't as cut and dry as one would've hoped and involved tracking down tenants as well as managing client and employee payments. Two weeks into his course and Joanna had an ultimatum. According to Chip, she said, "'Your business is a joke! All these people are coming to my dad's shop demanding to be paid, and there's no money! Lucky for you, your dad is bailing your sorry butt out. You have three days to get back to Texas, or this relationship is over.'"

Joanna's dad lent a helping hand

Joanna Gaines' dad, Jerry Stevens, is a familiar character to those who keep up with the family. He owned a tire shop in Waco, where Joanna worked. It also served as the infamous location of Chip Gaines and Joanna's first meeting where she almost picked his roommate over him. When Chip's clients and employees began turning up at the tire shop's doorstep wondering why checks had bounced, Joanna's dad swooped in to rescue his daughter and her MIA boyfriend. Chip admits in his book (via People), "Though he's Jerry to me now, this story still scares me so much that I'd like to revert to calling him Mr. Stevens."

Stevens helped Joanna save the day, presumably covering the costs until his future son-in-law returned from Mexico – which Chip did. Chip got himself back in the United States ASAP, ready to apologize to more than one member of the Stevens family. The "Fixer Upper" celeb reflects that the look on his face must have been "pitiful" because Jerry's expression went from "anger to grace" (via Today). 

Chip writes, "It became my mission to prove to Jo, my parents, her parents, and myself that I could do this — that I was the real deal and I wouldn't stop until I made this entrepreneurial dream of mine a reality." He's certainly done that and more!

Where was Joanna's mom during this?

Jerry Stevens is married to Nan Stevens, Joanna Gaines' mother. The pair have been wed since 1972 when she flew from South Korea to be with the military man she fell in love with. Joanna wrote in her book, "The Magnolia Story," that after the passing of Jerry's mother, he began to shed some of his bad habits, and that's when he took a job at the Firestone tire shop in Waco. Presumably, Joanna's mom Nan was around for Chip Gaines' business blunder.

In spite of their rocky start, Chip and Joanna married in 2003 and have been happily in love ever since. In a sweet turn of events, their (presumed ill-fated by Joanna's parents) romance has flourished and The Magnolia Network name is in honor of this. The couple went on a big family trip with a total of 24 family members to South Korea, Nan's birthplace, in April 2023. Hopefully, Joanna's parents now view Chip as a sure thing, especially considering he's definitely lived up to his post-misguided-Mexico trip promise.