Last month, HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines shocked fans when they shared that season five of their hit home renovation show Fixer Upper would be their last. In a post on Joanna’s Magnolia Market blog, the couple explained that saying goodbye is “bittersweet” but the best decision for their family.
“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,” the statement read. “Our family has grown up alongside yours, and we have felt you rooting us on from the other side of the screen. How bittersweet to say goodbye to the very thing that introduced us all in the first place.”
Unhappy with the pair’s family-first explanation, the media immediately began to speculate about the “real” reason—from martial problems to a desire for a bigger contract—behind the seemingly sudden announcement, but in this week’s People magazine cover story, the Gaines candidly open up about the toll their meteoric business growth and nonstop filming schedule has taken on them and their children as they explain how they made peace with their decision to walk away.
In the article, the couple shares that since Fixer Upper debuted in 2013, they have been filming 11 months of the year, while also managing their 500-employee strong company, Magnolia, which includes a real estate division, retail store, wallpaper and furniture lines, a quarterly magazine, luxury vacation rentals, books, an upcoming restaurant, and a product line for Target.
“Nobody told us that that was unique,” Chip told the magazine of the production schedule. “Nobody told us that that was a little bit irrational.”
With their children getting older, they realized the pace was unsustainable.
“The kids were so young when we started,” Joanna said. “Fast-forward to today and our oldest is almost a teenager — they’re all growing up so quickly.”
“They would ask, ‘Mom and Dad, do you guys have to film again today? When is this going to be over?” Chip added.
Ultimately, through their faith and commitment to family, the Gaines seem to have realized something that few others in the entertainment industry do: sometimes it is best to walk away when you’re on top.
“We would rather stop here, where we still feel we’re in a really good place,” Chip explained. “We have the chance to regroup and refresh and find out in two years, thank God we stopped and gave each other time and energy and loved our family more than we would’ve had the resources to do otherwise. Hopefully that will pay dividends down the road.”
“We really want to focus on this break and take a step back to let this all soak in,” Joanna concluded. “Regardless of what the future holds, we are hopeful for what God has for us and our family in this next season.”