When it comes to critics, Chip and Joanna Gaines seem to have one strategy: rise above. Case in point: They have officially forgiven writer Daryl Austin, who claimed in a USA Today opinion column that the Fixer Upper stars, who have five kids (including new baby boy Crew!) and run multiple businesses, don't put family first.
reports that Austin reached out to the couple to apologize, and their representative replied that it was "water under the bridge."
"I already respected them a lot, despite some concerns I addressed in that article," Austin told the publication, "but now I respect them even more.”
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."
Shortly after his op-ed was published, Chip took to Twitter to shut down the statement as false.
"I dont know daryl, & he clearly doesnt know me," Chip tweeted. "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."
Following some reflection (and not to mention an flood of responses from Fixer Upper fans), the reporter said he regretted slamming the HGTV hosts.
In a follow-up apology piece for , Austin wrote, "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 backtracked (his first time as a writer, he said), but not because it was unpopular, and not even because of Chip's reply.
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."
We have a feeling Chip probably appreciated Austin's conclusion: "Maybe progressing in my beliefs and doing better next time is what being a fixer upper is all about."