After months of rumors, innuendo and speculation about the health of their marriage and business, Chip and Joanna Gaines, the popular hosts of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” are calling it quits - on TV.
The news came quietly in a “bittersweet” joint post to Joanne’s blog in the early hours of Tuesday.
“It is with both sadness and expectation that we share the news that season 5 of Fixer Upper will be our last,” they wrote.
“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. 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.”
Fan reaction turned “Fixer Upper” into a trending topic on Twitter.
The dynamic duo of DIY - known as Chip and Jo - built a home empire out of Waco, Texas that includes the TV show, a retail store, magazine, real estate show, bakery, bed and breakfast and a line of furniture, paint, rug and wallpaper. A new book, “The Magnolia Story,” is due out in October. The couple, married since 2003, also live on a working farm with their four young children.
“Just when you think they’ve maxed out on new ventures, the dynamo duo drops another bombshell,” gushed HGTV when the couple announced they had renovated a turn-of-the-century home in Waco and planned to open it for vacation rentals this month.
Amidst rumors they were having marital problems they appeared on the cover of People magazine in May. In the accompanying story they talked about barely having two dimes to rub together when they started out in business.
“I remember when we first got married the only money we had was what was in Chip’s pocket,” Joanna said. “He always had a wad of cash, but we were broke. If I needed to go grocery shopping it’s whatever was in his pocket. That’s how we paid the bills.”
Chip started flipping houses when he was in college, a not-so-lucrative venture that gave her parents pause.
“Her dad spent the first two years of our marriage asking me if I was going to get a job,” Chip told People. “I was like, ‘I have a job and I like it.’”
They’ve always said that fame fell into their laps in “little bitty” Waco.
On camera they made a fetching couple - her beauty, his goofy brawn. She’s the decorator, the woman who singlehandedly taught a nation to love and appreciate shiplap - a wooden board commonly used on home exteriors.
Joanna has more than 5 million followers on Instagram.
Since the beginning of the year they’ve been hit with rumors and at least one scandalous headline concerning Chip’s business dealings.
In April, his former business partners filed a $1 million fraud lawsuit against him. Magnolia Real Estate Co. co-founders, lawyers John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark, alleged that Chip bought them out of the company without telling them HGTV planned to broadcast ‘Fixer Upper’ nationally.
The lawsuit accused Chip of pressuring his two business partners to sell “before they discovered the company’s value was radically enhanced by ‘Fixer Upper.’”
Chip’s response? He tweeted a Bible verse: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Rumors about Joanna leaving the show to start her own skin care line began popping up on the Internet, where every now and again they would catch some tail wind and send fans into a panic.
The couple addressed those rumors, too.
“This has nothing to do with a fraudulent skincare line or anything else you’ll inevitably read,” they said in their announcement.
“This is just us recognizing that we need to catch our breath for a moment. Our plan is to take this time to shore up and strengthen the spots that are weak, rest the places that are tired and give lots of love and attention to both our family and our businesses.”
Last month Chip addressed a fan on Twitter who said she was sick of hearing stories about how the Gaineses were breaking up.
“Won’t ever happen ... you can take that to the bank!” he tweeted.