Fans of the hit HGTV series "Fixer Upper" were stunned when its stars, Chip and Joanna Gaines, stepped away from the show, but the couple have now revealed that the decision came during a "low point."
After the decision was made, the famous duo, who are parents to five children, explained on Thursday's "Today" that they were not even sure they wanted to continue with showbiz.
"Five seasons in, which really translates to six years of being on television or filming on top of our growing family and our business, I think we were just exhausted," Joanna explained. "When you start getting in that rhythm of just doing and then you forget the why, which I think by Season 5 we were just showing up."
After ending the popular home renovation series, Joanna said she and Chip needed time to re-evaluate their lives and goals. That was when the idea to establish their Magnolia Network, a new TV venture that launched on July 15, first came about.
"We both knew we needed to step back and just kind of evaluate what we were saying ‘yes to and the why," Joanna continued. "So, we just said for a full year we’re going to not take any calls, just sit back, focus on the business, focus on home."
"Fixer Upper" was at the height of its success when Joanna and Chip decided to end it. It may have seemed like strange timing, but Chip said they never intended for the show to become a mega-hit. They realized it was time for a break when they stopped feeling fulfilled.
"Can you imagine somebody in law school wanting to be an attorney and then finding out as they’re taking the Bar, 'I don’t know if I want to do this with my life,'" Chip said. "Well, you’ve committed to that place. For us it was a little more like, 'hey if this isn’t going to be our future, then let’s take a step back.'"
The couple have spoken before about their decision to quit "Fixer Upper." During a 2020 interview with Inc. magazine, they admitted to struggling with balancing personal business ventures with their HGTV show. They were also finding themselves unable to identify with the direction the show was taking.
The show initially appealed to viewers because of its authenticity, but the network reportedly began pushing to play up on the couple's relationship. Chip recalled how they were told to "always be together." The network would say, "Chip, if you're hanging drywall, we need Joanna to be standing there making cupcakes."
The famous home renovators said they felt like the show was drifting away from what they had originally intended for it to be. At the same time, they were focusing on developing a homewares store as well as a furniture line and then developing Magnolia Network, but the pair said they would have struggled to see their dream become a reality if they had stayed with HGTV.
"The show was limiting our involvement in what was taking place here in this office," Joanna said of "Fixer Upper." "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."
Chip added that, "as things started getting complicated," he made a bet with Joanna. "We bet on ourselves. We knew there was a real chance that everything else would go away without the show. But would it be a complete kick in the pants to end up operating a great construction company in Waco? No. I'd be honored. And, as soon as we accepted that, much greater opportunities started presenting themselves."
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