Chip and Joanna Gaines have dedicated the last few years of their lives to renovating family homes in Waco, Texas.
The Gaines family had no idea when they started transforming the Texas town that they would soon become a phenomenon. They also didn't anticipate the struggles that would come with their newfound fame.
As the couple told Texas Monthly in a lengthy piece released this week, the Gaines family — who star in “Fixer Upper,” a TV show on HGTV in which the couple goes around helping families choose a new home and then remodel it — saw their success come in the form of an unexpected whirlwind.
“We were joking, ‘We’re like zoo animals here,’ ” Chip Gaines said in the article. “ ‘We’re inside this fence, and I think we’re the animals.’
“On the flip side, it’s just such an honor to be in this position, and the opportunities, the things that come with this that we would’ve never dreamt of in a million years, I think certainly overshadow the fact that there are some downsides to this, and those are somewhat obvious."
See, the popular couple started restoring homes long before HGTV found out about it. And they even felt like they were going to leave Waco. But HGTV came calling when they saw how influential the show could be, giving the family an opportunity to rebuild homes while on national television.
They’ve helped many people throughout the heavily Christian city of Waco.
One of those people is David Ridley, who worked in New York City as a part-time model before he got his real-estate license. After making friends with wealthy people, David became heavily involved in alcohol and drugs and soon hit rock bottom, according to Texas Monthly.
“I just reached out to the Lord. I cried out, ‘God, something’s got to change. I don’t even want to live anymore, but I can’t take my own life because I have family.’ ”
David moved back to Texas to get some help. He went to church with his sister one Sunday, who said she had been praying for him for the last 10 years. He soon gave up the alcohol and drugs. Not long after, Chip and Joanna restored David’s home, giving him hope for the future.
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.