After years thinking he was destined for the spotlight, Chip Gaines is more than happy to play a "supporting role" to wife and Fixer Upper co-star Joanna Gaines. In an essay from the upcoming spring issue of Magnolia Journal titled "Best Supporting Role," Chip opens up about how the pair have become a power duo, building not only their Magnolia TV network slated for this summer, but also a boutique hotel in Waco in addition to all of their ongoing Magnolia projects.
In the essay, excerpted by PEOPLE, Chip revealed he always felt he was destined for life in the public eye, even considering as a child a future as the president.
"Throughout grade school, I was the popular guy, the athlete, the comedian," he recalled. "I had become a rather impressive chameleon by the time I graduated from high school — always prepared to knock the socks off anyone I encountered."
When he and Joanna were asked by HGTV to star in their breakout show Fixer Upper, Chip explains he felt his time had come to become a star.
"In a very literal sense, it seemed as though I was going to be the superstar I’d always envisioned myself becoming," he wrote, noting that Joanna felt the opposite way about being in the spotlight.
Around Season 2 of the show, however, Chip noticed that Joanna might be the star he had always imagined himself as, while he might be better off supporting her. This was made especially obvious to Chip when he was meeting with HGTV execs, and when asked a question, he would respond with an answer he had "been rehearsing since birth . . . I all but expected a standing ovation. Everyone around the table would respond to me with these expressions of amazement and bewilderment, not at how incredible my answer had been, but because they had no earthly idea what I was talking about."
When Joanna responded in a much more subdued way, however, people tended to listen.
"The reality was, when Jo spoke, it changed the dynamic of our meetings," he recalled. "People would straighten up in their chairs and lean in . . . I was slowly realizing that this universe we’d stepped into was actually built for Joanna in the lead role, not for me."
"Any fantasy I’d concocted about my own future paled in comparison to the potential I was seeing in Jo," he continued. "You see, something is built into the fabric of Joanna’s being that is quietly compelling and meant to be shared with the world. She’s a visionary. She’s captivating. Even though it may not resemble what I thought those qualities were supposed to look like."
Since then, he's been happy to be not only his wife's co-star and partner, but also her biggest fan.0comments
"The role I thought I was born to play ended up not being the one intended for me," Chip concluded. "Instead, I’ve accepted my supporting role, a role I’m actually honored to play. And I gotta tell you, it’s been the absolute joy of my life!"
Photo credit: Larry Busacca, Getty