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More 'Fixer Upper' Fakery! Court Docs Reveal How Chip Plotted To Get On TV

chip gaines sued houseboat fixer upper fakery joanna gaines

Oct. 31 2016, Published 7:54 p.m. ET

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Chip Gaines shelled out big bucks to help boost the storyline of his struggling reality TV show, has learned.

The Fixer Upper star, 41, purchased a 1978 Gibson houseboat on May 11, 2012 for $19,4000, according to court documents obtained exclusively by As fans know, that boat played a central role in the early days of the show.

Chip's wife Joanna Gaines explained in The Magnolia Story, "On the fourth day of shooting, just before the camera crew was scheduled to go home, their top guy pulled us aside and said, 'Look, if something doesn't happen here, there's no way you guys are getting a show.'"

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"Then something happened," she continued. "The very next morning, the houseboat arrived. With cameras rolling, Chip put a blindfold on me and drove me to an empty lot by the lake."

She detailed how they fought over his impulsive purchase in front of the crew. After the fight, she wrote, the head cameraman congratulated them on sealing the deal for the show.

READ The Documents!

But it wasn't just a coincidence that the boat showed up at the very moment when the couple's reality TV dreams were in jeopardy. According to court documents obtained by, Chip bought it specifically with the goal of putting it in front of the cameras!

Joanna Gaines

The original owner of the houseboat filed a small claims suit against Chip just 12 days after he surprised Joanna, over his "failure to pay off" the balance owed on the $19,400 boat. Chip didn't show up in court on July 9 of that year, and the original owner was granted a default judgment. But, he still hadn't paid off his debts by December of that year, and another suit was filed against him.

Court documents filed in that case claim that "Gaines purchased the Boat as a surprise to his wife and as a fixer-up project to be filmed as part of a reality TV show they were attempting to have produced ... It was most important for Gaines that the boat be deliverable on or before a certain date when a television producer and cameraman would be present to film his wife's surprise upon seeing the Boat for the first time."

In March 2013, the court ruled in favor of the boat's original owner. Chip was ordered to pay his balance. He was also ordered to pay $20,000 in attorney's fees and court costs at a 5% interest rate until it was paid off.

Do you think 'Fixer Upper' would have been a hit without the houseboat? Let us know in the comments!

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