Chip Gaines describes his behind-the-scenes life on "Fixer Upper" as torturous in a new interview.
When Gaines and his wife and co-star, Joanna, announced the HGTV series would end after five seasons back in September 2017 they said they wanted to "catch our breath for a moment" and "give lots of love and attention to both our family and our businesses". But in a Q&A with Cowboys & Indians magazine published online Tuesday, Gaines offers further insight as to what might've been behind the decision to pull the plug.
"TV was a funny thing for me. I’m an authentic, sincere person. So, as long as things are natural and organic, I’m in my element," Gaines, 44, said. "But the more staged something becomes, or the more required something becomes, it boxes me up, and I felt like toward the end of the 'Fixer Upper' journey, I felt caged, trapped.
"Jo and I couldn’t figure it out. I mean, why?" he added. "You’re getting to have all this fun, right? But it’s like if I put a camera in your face and said, 'Hey, say something funny.' Or if I put a camera in your face and said, 'Hey, be smart.' I just struggled with that environment. Especially at the end of it.
"At the beginning, it was so fun," he continued. "The first three years of 'Fixer Upper' were some of the best years of my life. The last two years, not that we don’t look back on them fondly, but they were more of a job."
Gaines previously spoke out about the reality show filming grind to People magazine in October 2017.
Chip said filming the series, which People reported took 11 months, began to take its toll.
“Nobody told us that that was unique,” he remarked of the production schedule. “Nobody told us that that was a little bit irrational.”
Gaines shared that the production schedule also weighed on his brood.
“(The kids) would ask, ‘Mom and Dad, do you guys have to film again today? When is this going to be over?”
Speaking to the couple's decision not to continue, Gaines told Cowboys & Indians: "Something about breaking out of that has been liberating. Jo and I are both just kinda giddy, just like, 'Man, what’s the future look like, and what’s the next step?' "
Last month, the Gaines revealed a partnership with HGTV parent Discovery on a new network.
The new channel will be called the Magnolia Network, named for the couple's design and decor company. They will own a minority stake. The channel is expected to replace an existing, underperforming Discovery network, most likely DIY, Destination America or Great American Country, said a person familiar with Discovery plans who was unauthorized to speak publicly.
Contributing: Sara M. Moniuszko and Gary Levin
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chip Gaines details 'Fixer Upper' nightmare: 'I felt caged, trapped'