Joanna Gaines and Chip Gaines have been married for almost two decades. However, the 42-year-old designer didn’t exactly fall head over heels with the 45-year-old house flipper when they first met.
Joanna told the whole story for Magnolia Journal‘s summer “Risk” issue.
“It wasn’t love at first sight for Chip and me,” the Fixer Upper star wrote in a note titled “Slow Yes.” “For one thing, I was typically attracted to guys who were more on the quiet side. Based on our first date, it was clear that Chip was anything but quiet. He was all over the place, talking about the businesses he’d started, and these ideas he had, and how he was buying up little houses and flipping them, and I was wondering if he was just a bit crazy. 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.”
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Still, there was something about Chip that “intrigued” her.
“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,” she continued. “When Chip did eventually stop talking, if only to take a breath, I found myself wanting to fill the silence with plans and dreams of my own. Ideas that I kept close and half-baked for fear that I didn’t have what it would take to turn them into realities. Dreams that I knew required the heart of a risk taker, a quality I’d long considered to be one I simply didn’t possess. Somehow those aspirations felt real, achievable even, in Chip’s company.”
The couple tied the knot in 2003, and they continued to bring this risk-taker mentality to their flipping business. While Joanna admitted she may have had some initial anxieties about their projects, she found she “actually enjoyed the challenge of proving my first impressions wrong.”
The same proved to be true with their farmhouse. In her note, Joanna wrote about how she had a lot of reservations about the property. After all, the husband and wife duo already had a finished house and tending to the 40 acres and renovations needed seemed like a lot of work (not to mention expensive). But after spending time there, she saw its potential and knew they could turn it into a home. The shiplap sweethearts still live there with their five kids: Drake, Ella, Duke, Emmie and baby Crew.
Joanna and Chip have certainly taken a lot of chances over the years. From building their business to launching their own network after their time on HGTV, the two have continued to pursue new dreams. As for fans hoping to follow in their footsteps, Joanna encouraged them to trust their intuition and instincts.
“Chip and I had already proved in our own relationship what can happen when I let something grow on me instead of making a snap judgment or an unwavering conclusion at first glance,” she wrote. “Chip calls it my ‘slow yes’ and I’ve learned to trust it above all else in matters of both work and home.”
To read the rest of Joanna’s note—and Chip’s note—check out Magnolia Journal‘s summer “Risk” issue, available May 8.