At the height of their reality TV popularity, Fixer Upper stars Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines have decided to choose family over fame and are officially leaving their HGTV show. The series finale (sadly) aired last night, and just like us, Joanna Gaines agrees it came way faster than we wanted it to.
"Back in September when Chip and I posted on the blog announcing that this season would be our last, it still seemed so far away. April felt like it was forever away, but somehow it snuck up on us," she wrote in a post on her blog on April 3. "Time is funny like that, the days sometimes seem long, but the weeks, months and even years fly past us when we least expect it."
In late September, the couple — who together are the king and queen of surprise reveals on the show that catapulted them to interior design and renovation fame — announced the most surprising reveal of all. In a joint statement posted on their website, they divulged that they wouldn't be returning to HGTV in the future. "It is with both sadness and expectation that we share the news that Season 5 will be our last," the statement read at the time.
Joanna — who is pregnant with the couple's fifth child — went on to explain in her blog how their baby on the way ended up influencing their decision to leave without them even knowing it. "If you would have told me that I’d end this season of the show pregnant with our fifth baby, I would’ve laughed. Like the entire Fixer Upper opportunity as a whole, life has a way of surprising us," she said. "With our little ones getting bigger, we had this gut feeling that it was time to step back and focus on them and our businesses here in Waco, TX. And although that’s why we thought we decided to step away from the show, we now realize with this little one on the way that there was a bigger plan in place for us all along."
Her husband has previously said that their move to back away from the spotlight was motivated by the desire to protect their family, but many fans of the series are still shocked. "I don't care enough about my finances to compromise my family or their well-being," he once confessed. "It's very important to take other peoples' opinions into consideration, but in the end, it's your life and your work. I won't go against my gut."
Going against his gut, Gaines explained, would mean going against a promise he and his wife made in their marriage. The couple insisted that once they make a decision that feels right, it's a done deal. Currently, their instincts are highlighting the need to, "catch our breath for a moment. We have poured our blood, sweat, and tears into this show. We would be foolish to think we can go and fire on all cylinders and never stop to pause."
The show has undoubtedly helped the Gaines' business expand, as well as their pockets. The couple has launched their own magazine The Magnolia Journal, a paint line, written both a cookbook and a tell-all of their journey, opened the Silos Baking Co. at Magnolia Market, opened up a restaurant called Magnolia Table, and ultimately, created a home improvement empire. But aside from expanding the couple's businesses and helping them financially, the show has done a lot of harm. Unwanted rumors about the authenticity and longevity of their marriage have ultimately launched the couple into protective mode over their four kids — Drake, 12, Ella, 11, Duke, 9, and Emmie, 7. And the Gaines children aren't the only ones supportive of the Christian parents' decision to lay low. "They earned some time to rest," Chip's mother, Gayle Gaines, exclusively told Closer Weekly in a recent interview. "They care very much about how their children turn out, and they are very well aware that spending time with them and investing in their lives is important."
The couple got a very humble start in Waco, TX after tying the knot in 2003. "Jo and I were living in an 800-square-foot house and had a brand new baby to feed," Chip wrote of his first son's arrival in his book, Capital Gaines. Not even having health insurance, the broke newlyweds had to borrow money from their friends in order to continue flipping houses. Now, thanks to her business savviness, Joanna is worth $8 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
The strong foundation of their marriage is what both Joanna and Chip attribute their success to. While balancing their private lives and newfound fame was oftentimes difficult to manage, they leaned on each other. "Our marriage never suffered in all we've gone through," Joanna stated, "because Chip and I were drawn closer together, knowing deep in our hearts that we had to hold onto each other if we were ever going to make it out alive." But lately, rumors about their marriage have been spiraling out of control, causing them to fear for the kids. "We want to give them a chance to have a normal childhood," Joanna once said. Chip added, "It's not worth it to take on some big deal and leave the kids for weeks. We try to watch them really closely, because obviously, they didn't ask for any of this."
Being on the same page — in virtually every aspect — has long been the couple's saving grace, which is why both seem unafraid looking into their fragile future. The couple is taking the leap, a decision they've agreed on since day one. "As far as I've known, they've always planned on stepping out to make sure their kids got to enjoy part of their childhood out of the spotlight," Sydney Noh, a former Fixer Upper associate producer told Closer recently. "Their ability to know when it's time to step out and move into a new part of their lives is a testament to what amazing people they are."
While the TV couple's timing may have caught a ton of people off guard, the Gaineses are confident in the next phase of their lives bringing as many blessings as the one prior. "We've had empty pockets before and that's nothing we can't take on again," Chip said. "Even when the decks are stacked against us, we keep on betting on us." "Maybe it's kind of fun to not plan," Joanna chimed in. "Maybe it's more fun to see where life takes you. After all, we're living proof that sometimes even the messiest stuff and the biggest mistakes can take you someplace wonderful."
But before they move on for good, Joanna took a second to reflect on their last season on her blog. "This season of life has been rewarding, challenging, unbelievably fast and furious and nearly everything in between," she confessed. "I really loved this final Fixer Upper season because there was such a variety of styles and projects that really kept us on our toes." She concluded, "Today is really bittersweet for us. Fixer Upper is the thing that introduced our family to yours, and every Tuesday night for the past five years, we have felt you rooting us on from the other side of the screen. We’ve said it many times, but it’s worth saying again — thank you to everyone who has walked beside us on this journey. Whether you watched every single show since season one or you are just now tuning in, you all have been a part of this, and Chip and I will always be grateful for your support."
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Closer Weekly.