Last month, writer Daryl Austin wrote an opinion column for USA Today claiming that Chip and Joanna Gaines, who have four kids (and a fifth on the way) and run multiple businesses, don't put family first. Shortly after, Chip took to Twitter to shut down the statement as false. And now, following some reflection (and not to mention an flood of responses from Fixer Upper fans), the reporter says he regrets slamming the HGTV stars.
Austin originally wrote:
"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."
In the follow-up apology piece for , Austin begins, "I regret writing it," adding that he didn't intend to be "hurtful" or to "cause controversy" but because it was what he really believed based on his own personal experiences as a parent.
He's backtracking now (his first time as a writer, he says), but not because it was unpopular, and not because of Chip's reply, which went: "I dont know daryl, & he clearly doesnt know me. But for the record: If there is ever a need w/ my family (1st), I'll shut this circus down so fast it will make your head spin. BUT jo & I believe, w/ God anything is possible. Including having an amazing family AND career you love."
Austin's change of heart came after a trip to Mexico, where he gained some perspective and realized that "many children all over the world were suffering even more" and "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. Mine was a flawed argument that projected my if/then belief system onto another family. My intention was to start a conversation about what it actually means to put family first, but my means of doing so were way off course. If our society is ever going to have the conversations we need to be having, judging and shaming one another is a terrible place to begin, especially when there are so many more serious concerns that need addressing."
As of the time of this article's publication, Chip hadn't yet responded on Twitter, but we'll update if and when he does.
We have a feeling he'll appreciate Austin's conclusion: "Maybe progressing in my beliefs and doing better next time is what being a fixer upper is all about."