A writer for USA Today who questioned the Fixer Upper stars' "family first" values has issued an apology to the soon-to-be parents of five.

May 28, 2018
Chip Joanna
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines will soon welcome their fifth child and are known for their "family first" philosophy. Now, a writer named Daryl Austin who came under fire for questioning their parenting has issued an apology.

If you msised the controversy, it was back on April 27, on the USA Today blog “All the Moms," that Austin critiqued the Fixer Upper stars’ "family first" philosophy.

Austin wrote, “There is much to be admired about them, including their commitments to their faith, marriage, family and community. There’s an important distinction, however, that I think their millions of fans and would-be imitators need to remember: Chip and Joanna Gaines did not get where they are now by putting their family first. ... No matter how rich and famous, we are all limited by the same 24 hours in a day. You cannot do all they’ve done (or even a fraction of it) and still have any real time left over for family. Frankly, I wonder where they even find the time to brush their teeth, let alone spend quality, one-on-one time with each child daily."

He questioned the couple could ossibly run all of their businesses and spend quality time with their four kids, Drake, 13, Ella, 11, Duke, 9, and Emmie Kay, 8.“This is just not possible,” Austin wrote. “And it does a disservice to the parents who really are putting their children first.”

On April 28, Chip took to Twitter to respond.

Fast-forward to May 24 when Austin wrote an article for Fox News titled “Chip and Joanna Gaines, I’m sorry I slammed your family values — Please accept my apology.”

Austin revealed that he stood by his thoughts on the reality stars until he took a trip to Mexico on Mother’s Day and took his family on a tour bus: "As we saw a group of young children digging through piles of trash, my 7-year old looked up at me with tears in her eyes and asked: 'Where are their moms and dads?'" Austin wrote. "Suddenly, the parenting choices of two well-meaning American parents paled in comparison. Especially because as bad as it seemed to be for some of the children I witnessed in Mexico, I knew in that moment that many children all over the world were suffering even more. I smiled as I realized how lucky any of those kids without parents would feel to have a mother and father like Chip and Joanna Gaines. I don’t know them personally, but I suspect they really are terrific parents. I’ve never said or thought otherwise. And just because Chip Gaines chooses to spend his time differently than I do doesn’t make him any less of a father."

He shared that he regretted writing the piece, and he didn't do it "to be hurtful, out of jealousy, or to cause controversy—all motives I was accused of. I wrote it for one simple reason: because I believed every word I wrote to be true. I was speaking from the personal experience of running my own company for nearly eight years. My own experience has taught me that even just one business venture takes an awful lot of time and effort each day, and that if I wanted to give my wife and three young children more of my time, I’d have to say 'no' to many personal ambitions along the way. So, I have."

Austin concluded, "I don’t [the Gaines] personally, but I suspect they really are terrific parents. ... I’ve never backed down from anything I’ve written before now, but maybe progressing in my beliefs and doing better next time is what being a fixer upper is all about."

Neither Chip or Joanna has since responded. But in the meantime, hopefully their fans will see Austin's latest piece as heartening. Props to him for having the humility to stand corrected.