Some Fixer Uppers take time. With the release of HGTV personality Chip Gaines’ new book comes many new revelations about his high-profile marriage to Joanna Gaines. In his memoir, Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned From Doing Stupid Stuff, the devoted husband reflects back on his road to success and the initial struggles he had to overcome with Jo.
Their love story started back in 2001 inside a tire shop that was owned by Jo’s father. “The first time I saw Joanna, I knew for sure that I wanted to date her, but I wouldn’t say I knew for sure that she was ‘the one,’” Gaines writes in his book (via E! News). “Several dates in, I still wasn’t plotting to buy the ring.”
The early stages of the couple’s relationship was filled with struggle. After dating for six months, Chip went to Mexico for a language immersion trip that was supposed to last for three months. In his absence, he left a few things for Jo to handle from a business perspective—but he was unprepared. Chip writes that Jo called him one day and threatened: “‘…You have three days to get back to Texas, or this relationship is over.’”
“My heart broke,” he adds. “There are hard moments in life when you see yourself for the tonto that you are. This all felt so much bigger than a few bounced checks… It became my mission to prove to Jo, my parents her parents, and myself that I could do this—that I was the real deal, and I wouldn’t stop until I made this entrepreneurial dream of mine a reality.”
Of course, the pair stayed together–he proposed in 2002–and they married in their beloved Waco, Texas, hometown in May 2003. “They say opposites attract. I don’t what kind of research has been conducted to back up this theory, but if mine and Jo’s relationship is any sort of testament, that statement couldn’t be more accurate,” he writes. “During our dating years, it was glaringly obvious how different we were from each other. She’s a quiet, detailed, cautiously safe door locker, and I’m a wild, obnoxious break-every-rule-in-the-book risk taker.”
Naturally, those differences filtered over to marriage, initially causing a “few big fights” according to Chip. “The key is always giving each other enough slack in the rope to make mistakes,” he continues in his book. “Affording each other a little extra rope has (mostly) equaled smooth sailing for us.”
The couple skyrocketed to fame in 2013, when their HGTV show first aired on the network. Since then, the two have expanded their Magnolia empire, released a different bestselling book, and collaborated with Target for an exclusive home collection.
They only recently announced that they were ending their show after five seasons. “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 couple shared last month. “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.”