Joanna and Chip Gaines have been in the spotlight for nearly a decade after their hit HGTV series Fixer Upper kicked off in 2014. And while the couple has become a household name known for their passion for home renovations and decor, fans have surely noticed the biggest change to the show is the dwindling screen time for their five children.
While celebrating the launch of Gaines's new memoir, The Stories We Tell, she tells Yahoo Life that having the kids appear less frequently on their latest series Fixer Upper: Welcome Home was a conscious choice they made after recognizing the impact that the series had on their family.
"Those first few years, our kids, they really came to work with us, so it was natural for them to be a part of it," Gaines says. "Where the older they've gotten, I've learned to just let them have their own identity outside of this. So unless they want to be a part of it, I don’t even ask them because I don't want them to feel like, 'Oh, you're the kid from Fixer.' I do not want that. Chip and I can get that all day long, that's normal, we said yes to that."
Drake, Ella Rose, Emmie Kay and Duke were exposed to that type of recognition as they appeared on the show's earliest seasons as little kids joining their parents at work and trying their hand at some of the projects. At that point, Gaines says that she and Chip didn't know what to expect when it came to the success of the show.
"Originally when Fixer Upper started, we didn't actually know what we were getting into. We were so naive. We really thought, 'Oh people in Waco will know we design homes and build homes, maybe we'll get more business.' We thought about Waco, never beyond that," she recalls.
As the show gained popularity and the family became famous, they became more thoughtful about how much their personal lives would be shown.
"With our kids, I've just gotten more mindful of it being their decision as they've gotten older. And none of them are interested in being on TV, so now they don't show up," she says.
With college on the horizon for the couple's oldest son Drake, 18, they also have their children's futures to consider. "I just want them to go to college and be known as who they are and not, 'Are you that kid from [Fixer Upper]?" she explains.
The older kids's presence on their mother's Instagram account, where she has over 13 million followers, has also lessened in an effort to protect their privacy.
The one child who continues to be featured is Joanna and Chip's youngest son, Crew. "He's my little guide," she says. "He teaches me so much. He's like a wise old 4-year-old. I learn more from my 4-year-old than most people because of the simplicity of how he lives life. It's actually how most of us should be living life. We just forgot."
While Crew makes appearances on social media and on the couple's show now, it's likely that he too will be exposed less as he gets older after what they've learned from their years on television thus far.
"The first round I kind of chalk it up to I didn't know what was happening," Gaines says of her eldest kids. "If I could’ve redone some things, I would've."
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