The Truth About Chip & Joanna Gaines' Children

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When we ponder all the home improvement programming available to consume these days, few do it better than HGTV. And of course, HGTV arguably wouldn't have the footprint or success it enjoys today without Chip and Joanna Gaines. The couple made a huge splash when their Waco, Texas-based show dropped. Viewers were instantly taken by their charm, design style, and — of course — their adorable family. Chip and Jo's four kids rarely made it on camera, but when they did, viewers were quickly reminded why they fell in love with the couple in the first place. As the seasons came and went, the Gaines kids were approaching their teen years, and the Magnolia founders found themselves at a crossroads.

It came as a big shock when Chip and Jo announced that "Fixer Upper" would be coming to a close in 2018. It seemed as though the show — and the Magnolia brand — was at the height of its success. It didn't take too long for the dynamite couple to get something back in the works. Not only did they return to the screen, but they brought the entire Magnolia Network to cable and streaming. Their empire has only grown with time, and their kiddos have grown, too. Now teens and tweens (except for Baby Crew), the Gaines kids are clearly not the little Chip and Jo 2.0s we met all those years ago. Here's the truth about Chip and Joanna Gaines' children.

The eldest, Drake, was Joanna's shop baby

Before they were Chip and Joanna Gaines, the "Fixer Upper" stars were simply Chip and Jo — new parents of baby Drake and business owners in their infancy. As noted by the Magnolia website, the couple's first foray into the interior design industry came with their very first storefront, dubbed the Little Shop on Bosque. It was amid those humble walls that the couple got their start in the industry that has changed their lives — and little Drake was along for the entire ride.

"Drake was my little shop baby, and he came to work with me every day. I was either wearing him on me or he was sleeping in the pack n play behind the counter," Joanna wrote on Facebook on Drake's 16th birthday. "One of the things I remember most about those early days of chasing dreams and being a new mom was all the wisdom, encouragement, and support that came from other moms who would come in to shop. The one consistent thing they all would say is, 'Cherish this time and hold him tight, because before you know it, he will be driving one day and then off to college.'"

The Little Shop on Bosque now serves as a last chance/discount store for all things Magnolia. And, of course, it stands as an integral part of Magnolia's – and Drake's — early years.

The four older kids fight over their baby brother

When Chip and Joanna Gaines announced that they were expecting their fifth baby (the unexpected nature of which we'll get into later), fans were obviously thrilled for the family. And if you thought there was any harbored resentment in their older kids (after all, introducing a new baby to a tight-knit family isn't the easiest thing to do), Chip and Jo's kiddos couldn't have been more loving toward their baby brother. In fact, Jo shared during Magnolia's Silobration event that the four kids — Drake, Ella, Duke, and Emmie — consistently fought over baby Crew.

"It's been so fun with the kids," Joanna said to the audience members, per Country Living. "We never get to carry the baby because from the time I wake up, they get in line ... they fight over who gets to hold him all morning, all night. It's so sweet."

Clearly, the kids are a helping hand around the house and with baby Crew, and Joanna shared that the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Crew came when the cameras were no longer rolling on "Fixer Upper," allowing the growing family to spend quality time together. "It has been restful for us," the Magnolia founder continued, per Country Living. "Something about enjoying these simpler moments with our family is better than any mountain-top journey we could be on. It's been a really sweet past year."

Ella is definitely following in her mom's footsteps

From the Magnolia Network to the Silos, to the Target line and Magnolia furniture collection, to Magnolia Realty and the family's farm, Chip and Joanna Gaines clearly know how to make a business stick (and there are plenty more fixer-upper projects, renovations, restaurants, and projects that would take a full page to spell out). You'd think that Chip and Jo's kids would be following in their footsteps, but as it turns out, they all have their individual interests. "Fixer Upper" gave a glimpse into the kids' lives — from sports to gardening to helping tend the family farm, the Gaines kids clearly are living the Texas life. But when they're not at home or practice, they can often be found at the Magnolia headquarters, with Jo telling People that it's become a "second home." As for baby Crew, "he's my little sidekick," Joanna shared.

It's the Gaines' eldest daughter, Ella, who is likely to follow her mom's example (and luckily, she'll have a ton of summer job options at her family's many businesses). Taking to Instagram, Jo shared a photo of Ella along with a caption about her daughter's summer side hustle. "Her new summer business is selling baked goods at the office when she goes to work with me. Tonight we stayed up late and she made Aunt Opal's banana pudding and the chocolate chip cookies from my cookbook," Jo wrote. "She's going to make a heck of a businesswoman."

Chip and Jo ended Fixer Upper in part because of their children

Given how successful "Fixer Upper" became, it seemed strange that Chip and Joanna Gaines pulled the plug on the show. After five seasons, the house flipping duo and founders of the Magnolia company and business lines announced they were saying goodbye to the cameras, leaving so many fans asking the same question: What happened? As it turned out, a big reason the Magnolia founders decided to step away from "Fixer Upper" had to do with their kids, who were 12, 10, 9, and 7 at the time.

"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," Chip and Jo wrote at the time, per People. But speaking directly about their kids, they continued, "They're so young, and we want to give them the chance to have a normal childhood. Family is the most important thing in the world."

Once the camera crew left Waco, Texas, the Gaines family kept a very low profile. Jimmy Don Holmes of JDH Iron Designs, who made frequent appearances on "Fixer Upper," told Closer Weekly that the couple stuck to the Magnolia headquarters, and that was about it. "They spend the majority of their time tending to family matters and spending more time at home," Holmes said.

Little Emmie was often on the set of Fixer Upper

Up until baby Crew came along, little Emmie Gaines was Chip and Joanna Gaines' youngest kiddo. As such, she was often on the set of "Fixer Upper" alongside her parents, and even sat at her mom's feet while she shot on-camera interviews (from the waist up). When Emmie did make it in front of the camera, viewers were treated to her sweet little personality — and the littlest Gaines could be pretty feisty at times.

As noted by PureWow, Chip once tried to teach Emmie how to lay tile as part of a "Fixer Upper" episode. At just 7 years old, Emmie paid attention up until she realized it was her dad's job. "You should get to work," she ended up saying to Chip.

Emmie went on to have some memorable experiences thanks to "Fixer Upper." As noted by CheatSheet, she met former first lady Laura Bush while with her mom at the family's tree farm, helped her mom design a rose garden, and even saw her dad eat a handful of chicken food.

Joanna continues to learn from her kids

You'd think that with five kids under her roof, Joanna Gaines would know everything about being a parent. From diapers and colds to transitioning from middle to high school and everything in between, Jo — with her seemingly always put-together persona — is the one who should be a pro, right? Well, in a sit-down interview with Jenna Bush Hager for Southern Living, Jo shared that while she is a mom of a small clan, she is constantly learning from her kids.

"I learned early on that in order to connect with my children, I need to watch them," Joanna said, turning her attention specifically to her oldest, Drake. "I see what makes Drake tick and notice the things that make his eyes light up. I tuck that stuff in my mind and away in my heart."

Telling the "Today" show host that her eldest is at a point in his life where he's expressing what he is personally interested in, Jo shared that it's hers and Chip Gaines' job to encourage his growth. "As parents, we need to help our kids express what they're passionate about and challenge them in the things that are hard, knowing they probably won't appreciate this until they're about 40 years old," she said. "It's a balance of both."

The four eldest Gaines kids wrote a children's book with their mom

As if Chip and Joanna Gaines weren't impressive enough, their kids are just as motivated — and creative! The four older kids — Drake, Ella, Duke, and Emmie — worked with their mom on a children's book titled "We Are the Gardeners," which became a New York Times bestseller. The book details the family's own experiences and adventures while working in their own garden at home.

Joanna discussed the project during a sit-down interview with Jenna Bush Hager for Southern Living, sharing that her kids started gardening alongside her as a helpful chore, but later came to love it themselves. "Nurturing plants together does something, and it was a simple way to connect with my kids — and I think that's the reason for this book," Jo said of the project. "We have this large garden now, but the size of it is not what's important. The point is if you have a little box outside your door that you and your children are tending to, then it does something to your heart as a mom."

You might be surprised by who is the stricter parent

Just a clip of "Fixer Upper" will likely show Chip Gaines hurling himself through a wall, demolishing a home right down to its studs, and getting into some sort of trouble. Joanna Gaines, on the other hand, is the calm to Chip's storm. So when it comes to parenting, you'd think Jo would be the stricter one of the two, right? As it turns out, Mr. Demo Day himself is actually the parent who rules with a firmer hand.

"I grew up in an environment that was pretty much 'back by dark' — [my parents] didn't generally know what we were doing, and it was all good, clean fun. So I thought, 'Oh, I'm gonna be a wild parent,'" Chip told People. "And when I got to be a parent, I don't know what it is about it ... I feel a little bit like a drill sergeant sometimes. Some elements of my personality, as a parent, I'm not real crazy about."

Giving specific examples like his kids' access to technology, Chip joked that he's "a quarter Amish," telling the magazine that he doesn't adhere to "normal technological advances."

"I don't even know what's gonna happen when the girls start asking to wear makeup, but we keep telling our kids they don't get a phone until they go off to college," Joanna further shared.

Drake is now 16 and a licensed driver

When we met Chip and Joanna Gaines all the way back in their early "Fixer Upper" days, their kiddos just seemed like mini versions of themselves that would help their mom decorate renovated homes at the end of each episode. But time is a fickle thing, and in the blink of an eye, the couple's eldest is now a licensed driver! Chip told People that the driver's test day in question was "emotional." On the one hand, he was thrilled for his son — on the other, Jo was nostalgic and a little weepy.

"We get this kid his license, and the first morning he goes to drive, Jo bawls her eyes out," Chip told the outlet. "She was just devastated and wanted no part. She wants to hire him a chauffeur!"

Of course, most parents have anxiety about the day their kid gets behind the wheel of a car, but clearly, Chip and Jo are actively giving their children the tools to grow while still under their parents' roof. Further explaining his parenting philosophy to People, Chip said of his growing kids, "The idea of 'It's my way until you leave my house' — we're the opposite. Instead, it's 'You're in our house, but this is a place for you to explore, experiment, and process the feelings and thoughts that you have in a safe place.'"

Baby Crew was not expected

Fans were thrilled when Chip and Joanna Gaines announced they were expecting their fifth child. The news definitely came as a surprise, given that their four kids were quite close in age. Was baby Crew planned? That was the question so many people were asking when Jo went public with the news. She eventually shared with People that she was feeling "a little emotional and crazy," and that such behavior was out of the norm for her.

"Then all of a sudden I realized, 'Hey, I remember this,'" Jo said, speaking of her elevated reactions and emotions. "When I saw the results of the test, my jaw dropped. Chip was in the driveway about to leave when I called him back and said, 'We're pregnant!' He was so excited. We're both just so excited."

And while baby Crew was not planned, the timing couldn't have been better for the family. Chip and Jo had revealed shortly before their pregnancy news that "Fixer Upper" would be coming to an end, giving the family the space and time to welcome their newest addition. "It was a total surprise. But when we found out, it solidified that it was the right decision to leave when we did," Jo said.

Fixer Upper's fame led to a scary incident with Duke

When Chip Gaines wound up in the middle of a pretty scary interaction involving his middle son, Duke, the experience solidified just how wild the "Fixer Upper" fame had become. In an interview with NBC's "Today," Chip shared that while he was at a flea market, a number of people "swarmed" around him and he ended up separated from Duke, who was walking in front of him.

"The experience of that had become a little bit normal for us, because we definitely had gotten to that position in our careers where we were recognizable in public, but in that exact second, I sort of lost contact with Duke," Chip shared. "And so I was basically on my way to kind of gobble him up and get him back into a safe place, and at about that same second, I was surrounded by this group of people."

"It was sort of a disturbing series of events, only because I realized in that moment I was incapable of communicating accurately that I was actually a desperate father trying to get my son into a safe place, but also at the same time kind of trying to resonate with these people and trying to not be rude," he explained.