16 Things You Didn't Know About Fixer Upper's Chip and Joanna Gaines

Chip and Joanna Gaines, the husband-and-wife team behind HGTV's hit show Fixer Upper, couldn't be more compatible. He's a real estate and construction pro who knows how to turn an affordable but "blah" house into a sparkling gem, and she's a designer with an eye for shabby chic flea market finds. Together, they own and operate Magnolia — and raise four kids. We took a break from watching Chip and Joanna help families purchase and renovate their dream homes on the small screen to talk to the couple in real life. What we learned made us love them even more. Read on for 16 adorable facts about the Gaineses.


Chip Knew Joanna Was "the One" When He Saw Her in a Photo

Warning: get ready to swoon. Chip told us he knew Joanna was "the one" long before the two ever met: "Her dad made the mistake of putting a pic of the family behind the counter at his [automotive] shop. I knew I'd marry her one day just by the picture on the wall."


Faulty Car Brakes Brought Them Together

The two didn't meet in person until Chip came into Joanna's father's automotive business on another occasion to get his brakes worked on. Fortuitously, Joanna was working in the office. "We met in the waiting area and hit it off immediately. He was genuinely engaging and he had such a sincere smile," she said.


Joanna Fell For Chip Because He Made Her Laugh

While it was love at first sight for Chip, Joanna took a few months to open up. "At first, I couldn't believe how kind Chip was — he had kind eyes, and made me laugh a lot," she told us. While she was guarded at first, he eventually won her over. "I knew he was the one because I knew I could trust him."


Joanna's First Job Was at an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

Joanna now spends hours perusing flea market aisles for decor treasure, but her first gig was tending to aisles of buffet food. "I still have an appreciation for buffet lines," she told us, adding that these days the kids are the only ones she can convince to dine all-you-can-eat style with her.


Their First Fixer-Upper Was Their Newlywed Home

"We started renovations on it immediately after we came home from our honeymoon," Joanna said. "All I could remember is the smell. The house was bad. Chip did all the construction, and I remember many nights he was on his hands and knees staining floors or laying tile."


It Took Time For Joanna to Hone Her Design Style

Today, clients line up to work with the Magnolia Homes design pro, but back when she was working on Chip's and her first home, Joanna admits her design aesthetic wasn't as refined. "I was experimenting with my design style at the time and every room had a different theme." She continued, "The living room was nautical themed with cheap sailboats and prints as decor. The kitchen was French themed with horrible mustard-colored walls. The den was cowboy themed for Chip, of course . . . horns, leather, and lots of cedar. It was all very interesting, to say the least." Proof that even great talent takes time to mature!


Chip Wanted to Be a Baseball Player or Politician

HGTV stardom was a pleasant surprise for the Fixer Upper star, who said he never dreamed he would be doing this — especially the TV part. His childhood dreams included playing baseball or being a politician.


They Have a Romantic Travel Ritual

Whenever Chip goes out of town, Joanna leaves a note for him in his overnight bag. As if that isn't sweet enough, Chip saves the notes! "I have a pile of them from over the years," he told us.


Chip Would Live in Kansas City If He Wasn't in Texas

Chip recently fell in love with Kansas City, MO, and said he would move there if he had to leave Texas. Joanna said she would move back to New York City, where she lived in 2000. "It has a special place in my heart," she told us.


Joanna Always Dreamed of Being on TV

The HGTV star wanted to be a broadcast journalist. Joanna said, "I always dreamed of the idea of television but never thought it would have to do with design or renovations."


Business Talk Is Off-Limits During Date Night

Working with a spouse has its challenges, such as turning off the business chatter. Joanna said, "We really enjoy the problem solving, but there comes a point when we need to focus on us. We have the weekly date nights where we try our hardest not to talk business."


Joanna Is the Worrier in the Relationship

When they took on their first fixer-upper home for another family, Joanna had some concerns: Would they be able to sell the house? Could they stay within their budget? But Chip was never scared. "He thrives with risk," Joanna said. "I learned quickly to trust Chip's instincts on the buy and to be resourceful when it came to implementing the design so that we were smart with our investments."


Chip Once Surprised Joanna With a Set of Drums

At the beginning of their relationship, Joanna casually mentioned that she wanted to learn how to play the drums. "The next day there was a brand-new set of drums in the living room," Joanna said. "This theme of pushing me to follow my dreams has continued in our 12 years of marriage. Whether it is drum lessons or starting a business, he has always been the wind at my back that encourages me to go for it." How sweet is that?!


They've Suffered Design Fails

While renovating a 100-year-old house in Waco, TX, Chip and Joanna told the painters to go ahead with a yellow exterior color without testing it first. They returned at the end of the day to find worried neighbors standing in front of the now-school-bus-yellow house. Since then, they've always tested colors before giving painters the go-ahead.


Working With His Spouse Was an Adjustment For Chip

This dynamic duo has grown into an unstoppable business force, but perfecting their chemistry took work. "I was single through my 20s, self-employed, and strong willed. It took me a while to learn to say, 'Yes, ma'am,'" admitted Chip.


Joanna Sticks to a Strict Budget at the Flea Market

Flea markets are all about good deals for Joanna, so you'll rarely finding her blowing big bucks here. "I always go with a budget in mind, so I don't get carried away," she said. "When I find something I like, I first determine the value and what I will spend on it before I look at the price tag."