In their new book, “The Magnolia Story,” Chip and Joanna Gaines reveal how their hit renovation TV show, “Fixer Upper,” came to be.
In 2012, a friend submitted pictures of Joanna's home that she and Chip were living in at the time. Impressed by the couple's renovations, a talent hunter for a television production company contacted Joanna to see if she and Chip would be interested in doing a show.
Joanna talked to Chip about it and they agreed that they would give it a go. However, when cameras arrived to film a promotional reel that would be presented to TV networks, the couple choked.
Chip says in their book:
“My mouth was all dry and I couldn't think straight, and Jo was a little dull. It was obvious we were trying to make something out of nothing.”
But on the very last day of filming, Chip's surprise for Joanna arrived— a houseboat.
Chip, having agreed to buy “as is,” had no idea what he had actually been sold.
With cameras rolling, Joanna freaked out about the massive amount of money Chip had spent on a rusty, moldy boat with holes while trying to figure out how to make the best of it. Chip realized he had been scammed. In the process though, together, they had finally made great television.
The story of the houseboat ends there in the couple's book. But in an article by Radar Online titled “More ‘Fixer Upper’ Fakery! Court Docs Reveal How Chip Plotted To Get On TV,” reveals that Joanna's account of Chip telling her that the houseboat was non-returnable and “paid for” appears to be only partially true.
Chip had agreed to buy the boat for $19,400. According to court documents recovered by Radar Online, he paid $15,000 upfront and then was supposed to pay “$4,400 within twenty-four (24) hours upon delivery.”
When Chip failed to pay the remaining balance on the boat, the original owner filed suit.
Radar Online provides part of the court documents that further explain the situation. A counterclaim was also filed by Chip under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices laws, claiming that the seller had not been honest about the condition of the boat.
In March 2013, the court ruled in favor of the boat’s original owner. The judge ordered the Gaineses to pay $20,000 of attorney's fees and the remaining balance of the boat plus five percent interest.
Although not shown in documents provided online, Radar Online also quotes that Chip purposefully set up the boat situation to get the show:
“Gaines purchased the Boat as a surprise to his wife and as a fixer-up project to be filmed as part of a reality TV show they were attempting to have produced… It was most important for Gaines that the boat be deliverable on or before a certain date when a television producer and cameraman would be present to film his wife’s surprise upon seeing the Boat for the first time.”
Even if that's true, why is putting your fixer upper skills on display for an opportunity at a show that would showcase that exact talent considered “fakery”?
***Independent Journal Review has reached out to Chip and Joanna Gaines for comment.