After rocketing to superstardom on the popular show “Fixer Upper,” Chip Gaines has learned to keep things in perspective.
Gaines, whose new book, “No Pain, No Gaines,” is out now, said he remembers the moment when he knew that fame had become too hard to handle.
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“It was a bit of a sad moment where I realized that fame had sort of overwhelmed and taken over my entire life,” he said Thursday on TODAY.
The incident in question took place when Gaines was at a flea market that wife Joanna and their family would frequent. One day, Duke, who was their youngest son at the time, wandered off but was still about 10 yards ahead of Gaines. A group of people swarmed the scene, though, excited to see him in person.
“The experience of that had become a little bit normal for us because we definitely had gotten to that position in our careers to where we were recognizable in public, but in that exact second, I sort of lost contact with Duke.
"And so I was basically on my way to kind of gobble him up and get him back into a safe place, and at about that same second, I was surrounded by this group of people,” he said, noting that the fans were asking to take pictures and inquiring about where his wife was, with one woman even squeezing his cheeks.
Gaines, who now has five kids with Joanna, said the incident opened his eyes in a way that changed him as he took stock of how he needed to approach his life.
“It was sort of a disturbing series of events only because I realized in that moment I was incapable of communicating accurately that I was actually a desperate father trying to get my son into a safe place, but also at the same time kind of trying to resonate with these people and trying to not be rude and all the things that we struggle with in a typical situation,” he said.
The Magnolia co-founder, 46, also said it provided a jolt that made him realize fame had begun to take over his identity.
“But it was a bit of a shock to my system, and I, sort of, I would honestly say it sort of sent me into somewhat of a spiral that who I was in this famous situation really superseded who I was as a father and as a person," he said. "And it sort of forced me to reconcile with whether or not all of this was worth it in some of those kind of big life decisions you have to make in these cases.”
Chip and Joanna Gaines continue to be adored by fans, albeit from a distance. Their show “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home” returned to the small screen in January on Discovery+ after a massively popular five-season run of “Fixer Upper” on HGTV that ended in 2018.