Struggling & Broke! 'Fixer Upper' Stars Joanna & Chip 'Scrambled Every Month' Before Reality TV

//chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper

Oct. 26 2016, Updated 10:18 a.m. ET

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Joanna and Chip Gaines are living in the lap of luxury due to their Fixer Upper success — but the couple was once struggling to make ends meet! Click through these 15 slides to learn about the Texas couple's struggles before hitting it big on TV.

The Build Series Presents Chip & Joanna Gaines Discussing Their New Book “The Magnolia Story”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

Chip, 41, and Joanna, 38, met when Joanna was just 23-years-old. But the now-happy couple didn't get off to a great start.

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The Build Series Presents Chip & Joanna Gaines Discussing Their New Book “The Magnolia Story”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

"Our first date was over before it even started," she detailed, noting he was an hour and a half late.

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AOL Build Presents: “Fixer Upper”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

"I liked stability. I liked safety. I liked traditional and I liked being on time. And this Chip…wasn't any of those things," she said. Chip agreed, saying, "it wasn't exactly a love at first sight for me, either."

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AOL Build Presents: “Fixer Upper”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

Regardless, Joanna gave Chip another chance. But when she had to cancel their second date due to an injury — she didn't hear from him again! "I needed to go into the hospital for surgery, and I let Chip know that," she detailed. "He seemed real concerned and wished me luck — and then he didn't call me again. He didn't send flowers to the hospital. Nothing…that would've been the chivalrous thing to do. Everyone thought it was rude that you didn't call after that."

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The Build Series Presents Chip & Joanna Gaines Discussing Their New Book “The Magnolia Story”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

"Our first date happened at the end of October, and it wasn't until after the turn of the New Year — early January something — that I finally got another phone call from him," she recalled.

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Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines exit the AOL BUILD studios, NYC

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

They ended up dating anyway, and after four months he said, "I love you." But, she reciprocated by saying "thank you" and "he grabbed the basketball from under my arm and went storming off with it like a four-year-old," she described.

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The Build Series Presents Chip & Joanna Gaines Discussing Their New Book “The Magnolia Story”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

"I really thought, 'what in the world is wrong with this girl?'" Chip said. "'I just told her I loved her, and that's all she can say? Am I dating an emotionless cyborg or something?'"

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The Build Series Presents Chip & Joanna Gaines Discussing Their New Book “The Magnolia Story”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

The couple was financially crippled from the start, as Chip grew up in a poor family. The couple joked that her engagement ring is "an 80 dollar diamond," and he had to borrow money from his mom to afford it.

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AOL Build Presents: “Fixer Upper”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

Their marriage wasn't any easier. "She cried," Chip later detailed of their newlywed phase. "That was sort of her thing during year one. If we ever write a marriage book, chapter 1 will be called, 'she cried.'"

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AOL Build Presents: “Fixer Upper”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

The couple's struggles didn't get any easier, as they could barely afford to live. "Jo's idea of being 'broke' was when she had, like, $1,800 left in the bank," Chip described. "But 'broke' for me meant actually broke. I wasn't much for bank accounts or credit cards back then."

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The Build Series Presents Chip & Joanna Gaines Discussing Their New Book “The Magnolia Story”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

They noted that they "scrambled every month" to afford their bills. And didn't get easier when their first child Duke, now 11, arrived. Chip consistently left the newborn at home, and even forgot to dress him on occasion.

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The Build Series Presents Chip & Joanna Gaines Discussing Their New Book “The Magnolia Story”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

The HGTV stars went on to have three more children, but they couldn't afford their lifestyle! "It seemed that no matter how hard we worked, no matter how many extra jobs we picked up, we were still barely scraping by and living with huge amounts of debt," Joanna said. "Chip never stopped pulling crazy stunts, and each time I'd get just as angry over them as I'd gotten when he left Drake home alone those two times in his first few months."

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chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper

"For the first four years of having kids, I threw elaborate birthday parties," she later detailed. "I spent money we shouldn't have spent. And then I realized that my two-year-olds didn't even notice all the details I'd spent so much time and money on. All they wanted was cake!"

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chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper

Meanwhile, Chip was more concerned with his own birthday! "It was funny because we were basically poor," he said of his thirtieth birthday party. "We didn't know how we were going to pay our bills at the end of the month, and we were living in this tiny house, and I invited all of these college buddies to my party who'd gone and started making real money. They came in from Dallas and Austin and parked their Beemers and their Range Rovers up on the lawn of this $30,000 property we owned."

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The Build Series Presents Chip & Joanna Gaines Discussing Their New Book “The Magnolia Story”

chip gaines joanna gaines broke money marriage problems fixer upper
Source: Getty Images

Are you shocked by Joanna and Chip's struggles? Tell us in the comments!

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