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Chip Gaines responds after opinion writer says 'family first' mantra is just for show

After a USA Today column questioned whether Chip Gaines and his wife, Joanna, could be good parents and manage a business empire, the star fired back.
by Ethan Sacks / / Source: Today

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Chip Gaines is firing back at a USA Today op-ed that questioned whether or not the reality star's own home is in dire need of being fixed up.

A USA Today column that ran over the weekend opined that "Chip and Joanna Gaines did not get where they are by putting their family first."

Image: Today - Season 67
Chip and Joanna Gaines of the Magnolia empire Nathan Congleton / NBC

Opinion contributor Daryl Austin, a small-business owner from Utah, claimed that it was physically impossible for the HGTV stars to devote the proper time to the parenting of their four kids — Drake, 13, Ella Rose, 11, Duke, 9, and Emmie Kay, 8 — given the demands of their real estate and reality TV empires. Joanna Gaines, who recently turned 40, is pregnant with the couple's fifth child, a son.

Chip Gaines, though, was quick to hammer home the point that the foundation of Austin's op-ed was pure conjecture with a tweet on Saturday:

The op-ed still seemed to bother the "Fixer Upper" star two days later. Gaines, 43, tweeted a quote from Sen. John McCain — "Whether we think each other right or wrong on the issues of the day, we owe each other respect" — that seemed to be a pointed response.

Austin's perception, of course, runs counter to the carefully crafted image of the Gaines as perfect parents first, and perfect businesspeople second.

In the USA Today op-ed, he suggested the reality that wasn't shown on the recently wrapped "Fixer Upper" is that running a successful real estate company across the Texas cities of Waco, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio, two best-selling books, a quarterly magazine, an online store, a restaurant, Joanna's blog, and line of products for Target is more than a full-time job for two people. It's a full-time life.

"This is just not possible, and it does a disservice to the parents who really are putting their children first. No matter how rich and famous, we are all limited by the same 24 hours in a day," Austin wrote. "You cannot do all they’ve done (or even a fraction of it) and still have any real time left over for family."

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