Can you imagine a world without Chip and Joanna Gaines as a couple? It almost happened!
In the fall issue of the HGTV stars’ magazine, The Magnolia Journal, Chip reveals that a former flame, who he calls Amy to preserve her privacy, almost stole the famous contractor’s heart.
“Amy put up with me despite my terrible approach to relationships,” he explained, referencing his bad habits of showing up hours late to dates and forgetting to call. “She and I dated for upward of two years.”
After graduating college, Chip, “kind of stuck around town” while he waited for his younger girlfriend to finish school. When that time came, she accepted a short-term job in London, where Chip paid her a visit.
“As we walked along the River Thames together, the conversation suddenly turned serious,” he recalls. “She asked me where I thought our relationship was headed, and I, being a complete idiot, said something along the lines of ‘You know, I’ve never given it much thought.’”
Realizing he had “managed to break her heart without the slightest intention,” Chip spent the long flight home reflecting on their relationship. “I felt convinced that Amy was the one,” he says. “I walked off that plane hell-bent on making that young woman my wife.”
Once Amy was back in Texas, Chip began actively pursuing her, even going so far as to ask her parents their permission for her hand in marriage. (“They politely declined,” he writes.) But things got awkward when one of his gestures went awry.
“My small construction company had just been hired to build a stone retaining wall here in Waco,” he says, adding that the project would be something Amy would have wanted to know about. “So just after I finished that wall, without any forethought, I hooked up my trailer containing leftover stone and building materials, and I drove to her apartment in the dead of night.”
Chip spent the evening building a miniature version of his retaining wall, and left a note explaining the gesture. However, as he quickly learned, without context, the small statue had a much more grim symbolism — especially to Amy’s roommates who stumbled upon it the next day.
“It’s not like I told anyone the note was hidden there,” he says. ‘So the only thing any of these young ladies saw was this wall…which apparently resembled a tombstone.”
FROM PEN: HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines on Their 14 Year Marriage
Following “that disaster,” Amy’s father sent Chip a “very kind but stern letter that expressed his concerns over my level of persistence,” he says. “I really respected this man, and for the first time throughout this whole ordeal, I realized that even though my intentions were good, I had pushed this too far.”
Even though he didn’t get what he thought was his fairytale ending, the bizarre incident served as a lesson for Chip. “It’s hard for me to articulate how grateful I am that we don’t always get what we want,” he says, referencing the theme of the issue, gratitude. “Sometimes it takes a strongly worded dad letter to convince me that it’s time to leave a dream behind.”
And, thanks to his reality check, he was ready when he finally met the one. “I knew almost from the beginning that I wanted a future with [Joanna],” he says. “I wasn’t ready to settle down at that moment, but the idea was no longer foreign.”
For the full details of Chip’s romantic mishap, pick up the fall issue of The Magnolia Journal, on newsstands now.