The Real Reason Chip And Joanna Gaines Left HGTV

Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines are the first couple of HGTV. When they departed the home renovation network in 2017, hearts broke all over the country. "It is with both sadness and expectation that we share the news that season 5 of Fixer Upper will be our last," they wrote on their blog at the time. The Gaineses added, "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."

They were quick to note it was a positive move, clarifying, "This is just us recognizing that we need to catch our breath for a moment." Chip and Joanna planned to focus on their growing family and businesses, but promised they weren't saying goodbye to home renovation. In fact, the fan favorite couple soon launched their own network, Magnolia, (via People). Chip and Joanna Gaines continue to go from strength to strength, but the question remains — why did they walk away from HGTV?

Were Chip and Joanna Gaines trapped in a horrible contract?

At the time they were leaving HGTV, Page Six speculated that a "horrible" contract led Chip and Joanna Gaines to cut ties. An insider described their contract as "very restrictive," explaining, "The talent can't do anything without [HGTV's ]approval — any appearance, any publicity, any endorsement, any product — you have to ask them for permission." Likewise, the network takes a massive cut of whatever the talent makes.

The source added, "As Chip and Joanna grew more famous and popular over the years, HGTV conceded to a few changes to their contract — like not taking a percentage of their Target collection — but they still wanted the Gaineses to shoot long days, promote the show and just work their butts off." As a result, Chip and Joanna Gaines left to get "the deal they really want: more money, less work, more control." However, a rep for HGTV strongly refuted the claims.

Chip and Joanna Gaines simply wanted more family time

The Gaines family is considerably large, with Chip and Joanna welcoming their fifth child in 2018 (via People). And, in a 2020 interview with Inc. magazine, Chip revealed that the increasing demands of family life weren't aligning with Fixer Upper. HGTV requested that the lovable couple always appear onscreen together, so if Chip was "hanging drywall, we need Joanna to be standing there making cupcakes." The pair wanted to walk away two years before they actually did. 

Joanna confirmed, "We were pouring so much time into doing this thing that had to fit in this format, and it was a conflict with our growing business." As a result, the couple decided to bet on themselves instead, reasoning they'd be content to live and work in their hometown of Waco with their family and focus on that going forward. Evidently, it's worked out well for Chip and Joanna Gaines, who have seen their empire grow exponentially even without the HGTV label. Betting on themselves paid off.