Lifestyle & Human Interest

Chip Gaines Reveals Struggle with 'Fixer Upper' Fame: 'I Lost a Part of Myself'


The Gaines family has made it big in their business. They’ve become a household name, which is fitting considering the field they’re in.

Their laid-back demeanor, outspoken faith and no-nonsense approach to their projects (along with Chip’s sense of humor) make them endearing, relatable and homey.

But they’ve had their struggles, and they’ve dealt with the issues that fame tends to bring along with it. They took time off to deal with those issues, even as people whispered about why.

“TV was a funny thing for me,” Chip told Cowboys & Indians in 2018. “I’m an authentic, sincere person. So, as long as things are natural and organic, I’m in my element. But the more staged something becomes, or the more required something becomes, it boxes me up.

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“I just struggled with that environment. Especially at the end of it. … The last two years, not that we don’t look back on them fondly, but they were more of a job. So, something about breaking out of that has been liberating.”

Recently, the Gaines have touched on that topic again in an interview with Oprah, according to People. The hostess, who knows a thing or two about fame, shared a bit of her own perspective.

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

“Did you all start to sense that, or did you know that you were grounded before the fame thing hit?”

Jo spoke about needing to reassess their purpose. She said they’d lost their “why” and had just started to go through the motions.

Chip shared his struggle with fame and explained how it clashed with his nature, all while highlighting his wife’s even-keeled one.

“I want to speak on Jo’s behalf, because she would never say things like this, but she is so incredibly wise, so incredibly grounded — all the things that you just described, is who Joanna is,” he said, according to video obtained by People. “And to be really frank, I thought that’s who I was also.

“But 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, and 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.”

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During that year off, Chip added that he was able to “hunker down and really kind of try to unpack what it was about fame that seemed so incompatible with my personality.”

Though they’d hit pause on their public presence for a bit, the creative couple was still thinking of ways they could branch out once their hiatus was over.

“We knew we needed a break and a moment to catch our breath,” they told People last year. “But we also knew we weren’t done dreaming about ways to make old things new again.

“These past few years, we’ve continued tackling renovations and projects, doing the work we’re passionate about, but​ I don’t think either of us anticipated how the show would become such a permanent fixture in our hearts. We’ve missed sharing the stories of these families and their homes with you, and we’re excited to do that again very soon!”

While COVID has put a bit of a damper on their big plans to return to television, there are now four episodes of “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home” available on Discover+, and the show will begin streaming on the Magnolia Network in mid-July.

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