Inside Joanna Gaines' Relationship With Chip Gaines

There are HGTV celebrities — think the Property Brothers or the stars of "Flip or Flop," Tarek El Moussa and Christina Haack — and then there's Chip and Joanna Gaines. The superstar couple started their media careers with the storied home improvement network with their show "Fixer Upper," and like kindling to a match, they lit the network (and the world) up like none other. "Fixer Upper" transformed Chip and Joanna from humble house flippers to bona fide stars, and their fame resulted in home collections, expanded businesses in their hometown of Waco, Texas, and even their own network.

It's safe to say that no other couple has their finger on the pulse of the home improvement media landscape like Chip and Jo, but what makes these two that much more enduring is their love for one another. As parents to five kids, Chip and Jo make it clear to their fans that family comes first, and their love story is proof of that. So what was it like for Joanna to fall in love with Chip? What is her relationship with him like when the cameras aren't rolling — or when cameras weren't yet pointed at the couple at all? Let's take a look inside Joanna's relationship with Chip.

Joanna may have gone to the same college as Chip, but they didn't meet until after graduation

Lots of people meet their future spouses in college. Well, both Chip and Joanna Gaines attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, but contrary to popular belief, the two didn't meet during their college days. As noted by Country Living, Chip was born on November 14, 1974, and Joanna on April 19, 1978, so the two are almost four years apart in age — meaning that their schooling was about one full university generation separated from each other. Chip left school in 1998 after getting his degree in marketing and business administration, and Joanna got her communications degree in 2001. 

The famous couple wouldn't meet for a few more years after Joanna left school, which may have been a good thing, because she got to vet her career options and explore what she wanted to do. Joanna told the Baylor Alumni Magazine that she was always interested in being on-camera, despite being a rather "shy, introverted person." As such, her early career in broadcast journalism helped her develop those on-screen chops we all know and love.

Chip knew Joanna was the one for him after seeing a photo of her

You know it's going to be a romance for the ages if it only takes a picture to seal the deal, and that's what happened with Chip and Joanna Gaines. Chip told PopSugar that while patronizing Joanna's family's auto shop, he saw a photo of her hanging behind the counter. "I knew I'd marry her one day just by the picture on the wall," he said — be still our beating hearts. Chip later returned to the family business during one of Joanna's shifts, and the two hit it off right away. She told PopSugar that they met in the waiting area, and she was taken by how "genuinely engaging" he was. "He had such a sincere smile," she said of their initial encounter. 

Joanna elaborated on the experience during an interview with Baylor University's Alumni Magazine, and shared that she and Chip spent quite a while chatting (even though she was technically working). "We ended up sitting outside and talking for 30 minutes. The next day he called the shop and asked me out. Very romantic," she said. Chip and Jo had their very first date at a historic restaurant in Valley Mills, Texas, and the rest is history.

Chip wasn't initially Joanna's type

Just based on the empire that Chip and Joanna Gaines have created, you'd think that they were destined to be right off the bat. But while writing for the Summer 2020 issue of "Magnolia Journal," Joanna revealed that her future husband wasn't her type, and it took her a minute to come around to the idea of dating him. Confessing that she was usually into "guys who were more on the quiet side," Joanna revealed that Chip certainly threw her a curveball. 

"Based on our first date, it was clear that Chip was anything but quiet," she wrote, further revealing to readers that her then-date was "all over the place" and wouldn't stop talking about the homes he wanted to renovate, businesses he one day wanted to own and operate, and all the risks he was willing to take to reach his goals. "I was wondering if he was just a bit crazy," Joanna wrote, as noted by People. "In my mind, I somewhat instinctively checked his penchant for risk and chatty nature as two reasons we probably wouldn't go on a second date." But clearly there was some magic between the two of them, because a second date happened.

This is what sold Joanna on Chip's character in their early days of dating

Joanna Gaines may have figured herself to be attracted to the sweet, silent type, and while she definitely got a sweet guy, Chip Gaines is anything but quiet. Joanna told PopSugar that it was Chip's ability to make her laugh that ultimately won her over. "I couldn't believe how kind Chip was — he had kind eyes," Joanna said. "I knew he was the one because I knew I could trust him." 

The "Fixer Upper" star elaborated on her initial impression of Chip in the Summer 2020 issue of "Magnolia Journal," and as chronicled by People, Chip's vision of life and what he wanted to create for himself was also very attractive to Joanna. "All the ideas and dreams he held for himself were anything but ordinary, and he talked about the world around him through the lens of untapped potential," Joanna wrote. She went on to explain that when Chip did pause, "if only to take a breath," she found herself coming up with ideas and dreams of her own to fill in the gaps. "This near-stranger had drawn out a side of me that I didn't yet know existed," Joanna wrote of those early dating days.

Chip Gaines' proposal to Joanna was unique

When a woman says that she doesn't care about her engagement ring, but rather the meaning behind it, trust her — if it's from the right guy, it could be a Ring Pop for all she cares. However, in Joanna Gaines' case, Chip popped the question in a jewelry store and immediately had Jo give her input on the exact ring she wanted (which is an excellent way to go about it, everyone). 

As noted by CheatSheet, Chip took Jo to a jewelry store in Archer City, Texas and got down on one knee (without a ring, we should add). She of course said yes, and then the two of them made their way into the store so Jo could pick out her diamond — she opted for an antique-inspired diamond in a platinum setting. In her book, "The Magnolia Story," she later recalled what the proposal meant to her. "I just about melted," she said of the experience. "The jeweler was a man named Billy Holder, who had gone to high school with Chip's dad ... The fact that the selection of the ring tied back to Chip's roots and family history made it all the more special for me."

Joanna utilized Chip's handiwork for her very first flip project

There's nothing quite like being able to envision a project and execute it by yourself. Chip Gaines has been flipping houses for a long time, as he started his real estate career at an early age. He told the Baylor University Alumni Magazine that after investing in his first real estate project, he was hooked. He made a $30,000 profit from his first flipped house, and that was it — he was bitten by the bug. "It became obvious to me that I could work an entire year and make $30,000, or I could work for three months flipping a house and make the same amount of money," he said. "I became very excited about investing in rental property and flipping property." 

So what did that mean for Joanna Gaines? Basically, it meant that as soon as she married her husband, they went into business together. The couple told PopSugar that as soon as they tied the knot, they started working on different real estate projects together — clearly, they were onto something. "We started renovations on [our first home] immediately after we came home from our honeymoon," Joanna recalled. "Chip did all the construction."

Joanna doesn't think that she and Chip are a 'match made in heaven'

You'd think that after all the success Chip and Joanna Gaines have had, the phrase "match made in heaven" would apply. While we certainly seem to think that these two are other worldly, Joanna doesn't share the similar sentiment. She told People that, "Match made in heaven is not the term you would use to describe us," and that she thinks her dynamic with Chip is far more of a "spark" than anything else. 

"From day one, when we were dating, I realized he is not going to be put in a box. And if there's a rule, he's going to break it," she said. Joanna shared that at the beginning of their relationship, she and Chip had their "fair share of fights" and that they had to work together to figure out what boundaries worked for their relationship — but once they did that, they found their harmony. "He's good at the big picture, and he's good at risk. I like the details," she said. What's more is that Joanna credited Chip for bringing her out of her shell, telling People that he "always pushed [her] to be the best" version of herself. "He empowers me to be confident," she shared.

Joanna and Chip named their business Magnolia for a sweet reason

Have you ever wondered how Chip and Joanna Gaines came up with their business name, Magnolia? We've always had questions, and as it turns out, the business name is an homage to one of Chip and Jo's earliest experiences together. In the final episode of "Fixer Upper," which aired in March 2018, Chip explained to the couple's four children (this was before they welcomed baby No. 5, Crew) that the name Magnolia came about after one of Chip's very first dates with Joanna. 

"You know what's interesting about a magnolia tree? One of Mama and I's first dates, I climbed up a magnolia tree and I pulled her off a magnolia bloom and I gave it to her," Chip explained to his kids, as noted by People. If you've got the waterworks, you're certainly not alone. That small gesture became the jumping off point for the business that would ultimately change Chip and Jo's lives forever, and it's such a lovely tribute to their early days as a couple. "We love magnolia trees. It really embodies our company. It's basically become our mascot," Chip said. "So every project we do, we love to plant a magnolia gem."

This is how Joanna balances working with Chip professionally

Joanna Gaines and her lovely husband, Chip Gaines, might look as though they have their professional lives down to an art, but they've been very upfront about the challenges that couples can face when working together. After all, it's hard to balance personal and professional circles, especially if your partner is involved in both aspects. In a press event with People, Joanna revealed that for those wanting to get into business with their spouse, it's important to be incredibly upfront. 

"If you can't figure it out, bring in someone that will help so you don't end up ending your marriage," she said. "Get a mediator, get a designer ... and allow yourself room to make mistakes." Joanna's sentiment was seconded by Chip, who shared that for him and his wife specifically, they had to work on not forcing anything that didn't feel natural. He shared that early in their professional lives together, he realized that he shouldn't step into Joanna's world, as she didn't "micromanage" his responsibilities. "After about a year of sort of wrestling with each other like that," he shared, they found their stride.

How does Joanna approach parenting with her husband, Chip?

As if Chip and Joanna Gaines didn't have enough on their plate, the pair share five children. Yes, five — they're a small, very cute army who live on the family farm surrounded by nature, animals, and all good things Texas. But how do Chip and Jo approach parenting, and what does it say about their relationship with each other? 

In an exclusive sit-down with Jenna Bush Hager for Southern Living, Joanna shared her experiences as a mom and how she and Chip go about raising their kiddos. She shared that as parents, she and Chip do their best to support their kids and what they are passionate about, but they also do their best to challenge their kids "in the things that are hard. ... They probably won't appreciate this until they're about 40 years old. It's a balance of both," Joanna shared. She added that as she's raised her fifth child — who has a bigger age gap with his siblings — she's made more of a conscious effort to write things down and take note of the small experiences that make all the difference. "It's the little moments that stop me in my tracks, because that's what life is all about," she shared.

Joanna didn't want an updated engagement ring from Chip

We've all heard that each wedding anniversary year is marked with an object — the first is the paper milestone, the fifth is the wooden year (that one makes zero sense), and of course, the 10th anniversary has diamond status (that one we can absolutely get behind). Twelve years into their marriage, Chip Gaines presented his wife, Joanna, with the opportunity to update her engagement ring. 

As noted by CheatSheet, the original jeweler who sold Chip the original ring came to the couple's house and showed Jo a number of diamonds to choose from, but instead of going for a new, flashy diamond, Joanna stuck to the one she already had. "I looked [the jeweler] in the eye and I said, 'I'm sorry, but no. This is the original diamond I picked, and it's perfect just the way it is,'" she recalled about the situation. What made Jo so firm in her decision? She shared in her book, "The Magnolia Story," that her original ring was authentic to her and Chip. "It wasn't a 'perfect' diamond, but it was perfect for me," she wrote. "To me, my ring is part of our story."

Joanna revealed which of Chip's qualities she admires the most

To understand Joanna Gaines' relationship with her husband, Chip Gaines, is to understand what it is about him that she loves so much. Joanna told People during their Kindness Issue that it is in fact Chip's golden heart that she can't get enough of. She told the publication that Chip loves and shows kindness in a "no strings attached" kind of way, an approach that has made their family much better off. 

"If you are stranded on the side of the road, you want Chip Gaines to drive by, because he'll turn around and help," Joanna said. "It doesn't matter what's going on, who he has to meet, and he expects nothing in return. It's that quiet kindness that's challenged me, our children and everyone here at Magnolia. We all need more of that in our lives." As if we didn't already love these two with our whole hearts! 

For his part, Chip shared that no problem, debate, or argument is ever worth the peace of others, especially Jo. "In the end, Jo and I sincerely care more about one another than we do about one of us being right," he said.

Joanna shared that Chip helps her stay in the moment and enjoy life

The saying goes that opposites attract, and Chip and Joanna Gaines have seemed to find the sweet spot. Joanna told Oprah in a "Super Soul" special that as their popularity has grown, Chip has been the one who brings her back down to earth to enjoy the small moments in life, which can be so easily missed. "I'm more operational [and can] click into, like, a robotic mode and just show up and do the thing and forget the why a lot of the times — forget the joy," she said, as noted by People

Joanna went on to explain that at the end of the day, it's Chip who helps her remember to have fun and have gratitude for the little things. "Chip is always teaching me if you're not having fun, if you're not enjoying and savoring these moments, then why are you doing it?" she added. As for Chip, he shared that Joanna is the perfect compliment to his "dog chasing his tail in a circle" kind of energy. It seems that these two are peas in a pod.

Chip and Joanna Gaines have become television executives together

There is something so immensely satisfying about watching your partner grow with time. Chances are you already think they're wonderful, but seeing them reach new heights of success is so heartwarming, so imagine achieving those goals alongside your spouse! That's what Chip and Joanna Gaines are currently experiencing as of publication, as they are making their transition from on-camera talent to network executives. Yes, they will still star in "Fixer Upper: Welcome Home" episodes for fans to enjoy, but Chip and Jo are also now the proud overseers of the Magnolia Network, which is set to replace the DIY Channel on cable television on January 5, 2022. 

For those of us who are huge Chip and Jo fans, we've been keeping up with them on the Discovery+ app, but making the huge move to cable television is a giant leap forward for the couple. "We can't wait to see these stories brought to life on cable this January, and we're hopeful about the impact it might have — to help reclaim the best of what television can be," the couple wrote in a statement, as noted by Variety. These two are just getting started.