Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines took a break from the public eye after their hit HGTV show Fixer Upper ended in April 2018, and now are giving fans insight into the significance behind that break and the buildup ahead of it. In a PEOPLE preview of an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Chip opened up about how being in the hot HGTV spotlight was difficult for him at times.
After Winfrey asked about how fame affected Chip and Joanna, Chip quickly praised his wife of nearly 18 years. "I want to speak on Jo's behalf because she would never say things like this, but she is so incredibly wise, so incredibly grounded — all the things that you just described is (sic) who Joanna is." He then added that he found himself struggling with his newfound fame in the early years on the show.
"Really what happened — and was the truth for Jo and I — was it was no big deal for her, but for me to become famous, I lost a part of myself that was really... it was sad," Chip admitted. "I would say it took me a year or two while I was still filming to try to grapple with what exactly it was that I was losing." He said that the year spent away from the TV after Fixer Upper was a time when he and Joanna were able to "hunker down and really kind of try to unpack what it was about fame that seemed so incompatible with my personality."
It's not the first time Chip, 46, has spoken about his feelings toward fame. In December 2018, he told Cowboys & Indians magazine that "toward the end of the Fixer Upper journey, I felt caged, trapped." He said, "TV was a funny thing for me. I'm an authentic, sincere person. So, as long as things are natural and organic, I'm in my element. But the more staged something becomes, or the more required something becomes, it boxes me up."
"I just struggled with that environment," he continued at the time. "Especially at the end of it. The last two years, not that we don't look back on them fondly, but they were more of a job. So, something about breaking out of that has been liberating."
A few years away from Fixer Upper, the Gaineses announced that the show would be coming back to TV, rebooted as Fixer Upper: Welcome Home. It was originally set to debut on their Magnolia Network last fall. Due to pandemic-induced delays, the season will now debut digitally on the Magnolia app on July 15 and on TV in January 2022. Four preview episodes are available to watch now on Discovery+.
Chip and Joanna Gaines' Super Soul interview with Oprah Winfrey airs Saturday, March 13 on Discovery+ and will be available as a podcast on March 17.