‘They Aren’t Notorious for Compliments’ (Exclusive)


Even Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t immune to a little teen angst.

The Magnolia Network founders opened up in this week’s cover story about the realities of raising four teenagers (and a preschooler), what their kids think about their parents’ success, and their hopes for the future.

“What we have realized about our kids is, they want to feel as normal as possible. So they don’t ever talk about any of it. I think they love the idea of flying under the radar, feeling normal,” says Joanna. The couple share Drake, 18, Ella, 17, Duke, 15, Emmie, 13, and Crew, 5.

“We get that. But maybe they’ll be proud of this one day,” she adds, referring to the lifestyle empire she and Chip have built over the last 20 years, which started with a small home goods shop in downtown Waco, Texas and has grown to include a hit HGTV show, product lines, books, and as of 2022, their own TV network.

Joanna Gaines/Instagram

On the rare occasion their teens do let slip their admiration for their parents’ projects, the Fixer Upper stars can’t help but bask in it.

Shortly before opening their latest project, the 33-room boutique Hotel 1928 on Nov. 1, Joanna gave Ella and Emmie a sneak peek. “They kept saying, ‘I can’t believe something like this is in Waco. We feel like we’re in New York City’ That was the biggest compliment,” she says . “I was like, ‘Ah, they’re finally impressed.’ It felt like a big win.”

Joanna Gaines/Instagram

“Teenagers aren’t notorious for compliments,” adds Chip. “I’m sure we’re not the only parents that come home and are like. I wonder it these teenagers even like us, much less are fond of the work we’re doing.”

“They’re working through their own stuff,” says Joanna.

Chip Gaines/Instagram

While they would love for some of their brood to join the family business one day, priority No. 1 is letting their children discover their own paths.

“Obviously at some point it’d be so fun to have one or two of our kids work with us, but that’s definitely not what we’re saying out loud to them,” says Joanna. “Chip is really good at saying, ‘You need your own identity. When you’re finished with college, go do some stuff on your own. Learn some stuff. And then if you want to come back years later and teach us, we’re here.'”

Kimberly Salmon

For more on Chip and Joanna Gaines, pick up this week’s issue of People, on newsstands Friday.

Fixer Upper : The Hotel is airing now on Max and Magnolia Network.

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