After months of rumors, innuendo and speculation about the health of their marriage and the future of their show, 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 Joanna’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 — have built a home improvement empire out of Waco, Texas, that includes the TV show, a retail store, a magazine, a real estate show, a bakery, a 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 that would open for vacation rentals this month.
Earlier this month, Target announced plans to roll out a new home and lifestyle brand built around the “Fixer Upper” couple and a “modern farmhouse” theme.
The tabletop, home decor and gift items in the line, called Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, are set to launch Nov. 5.
Last month Chip addressed a fan on Twitter who said she was sick of hearing stories about how he and his wife were breaking up.
“Won’t ever happen ... you can take that to the bank!” Chip tweeted.
Amid those rumored marital problems the couple 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 Joanna’s 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 sort of fell into their laps in “little bitty” Waco.
On camera they make a fetching couple — her beauty, his goofy brawn. He’s the builder. She’s the designer, the woman who singlehandedly taught a nation to love shiplap — a wooden board commonly used on the outside of houses that Joanna uses indoors.
She has more than 5 million followers on Instagram.
Chip landed in headlines in April when 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.”
At the end of 2016 the Gaineses were swept up in the undertow of a controversial Buzzfeed report that their pastor, Jimmy Seibert, opposes same-sex marriages and views homosexuality as a “sin.”
The couple stayed silent until right after the New Year, when Chip wrote a post called “New Year’s Revelation” on the Magnolia Market website in which he seemed to be addressing the topic.
“Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world, this is our home. A house divided cannot stand,” he wrote.
He also wrote that he and Joanna “have personal convictions. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth. It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith.
“That’s all fascinating, but it cannot add or take away from the reality that we’re already pulling for you. We are not about to get in the nasty business of throwing stones at each other, don’t ask us to cause we won’t play that way.”
Rumors about Joanna leaving the show to start her own skin care line popped up on the Internet this year, too, where every now and again they would catch some tail wind and send fans into a panic.
The couple addressed those rumors as well on Tuesday.
“This has nothing to do with a fraudulent skincare line or anything else you’ll inevitably read,” they wrote.
“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.”
They called their time on TV “an amazing adventure.”