If we were forced to choose just one television network to watch for the rest of our lives, it would be HGTV. The channel is truly one of the best out there, not only for its amazing home transformations and impressive dream properties, but also for its amazing cast of characters. It seems like everyone and their mother knows who Chip and Joanna Gaines are, and who hasn’t caught an episode of Flip or Flop while scrolling through the channels?
The thing that seems to make HGTV draw viewers in is its focus on real people making real, positive, lasting changes to their communities — just look at how Waco, Texas has evolved since the Gaines team took over.
So when the cameras aren’t rolling, what do the lives of some of our favorite HGTV stars look like? Do they always have a camera crew following them, or have they learned to shut it off? Are their lives insanely lavish, or do they walk the line of famous, but down to earth? Well wonder no more, because here are the HGTV stars who live surprisingly normal lives.
HGTV's Chip and Joanna Gaines have kept their life down to earth
If one couple is HGTV, it’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Fixer Upper stars. Their humble beginnings — they met while Joanna was working in her father’s auto shop — have led them to enormous success (via People). Not only did they have the HGTV show, but they’re in the process of creating their own network, continuing oversee their businesses, and raising their five kids. But according to Today, Chip and Joanna have kept their life off-camera — most of which is spent at their family farm — very normal.
Joanna revealed in April 2020 that life at home, quarantining with the kids due to the coronavirus pandemic, was not a bad thing at all. “It’s spring on the farm right now,” Joanna said. “So every baby animal you can think of is being born, and everything is blooming. I feel like everything is coming back to life here. It’s been nice to just get outside.”
Joanna also shared that she keeps her kids busy with puzzles, school work, and life outside, and said that the time that they’re all spending together is priceless. We love them.
HGTV's Ben and Erin Napier spend as little time on screens as possible
Ben and Erin Napier were met with fame and success when their HGTV show, Home Town, hit the network. Since the premier, the Napiers have had several spin-off shows and have continued to see their fame grow. But despite the success on-screen, they maintain a really off-screen life, especially when it comes to their daughter. “We want to keep Helen away from screens until it’s absolutely impossible,” Erin told People. “She plays outside a lot. That’s the goal. That’s how we grew up and we both had a magical childhood.”
The Napiers have even gone as far as shutting down their screens and access to the bustling business world. Erin shared on Instagram in June 2020 that she and her family had taken time off to reconnect with each other and normal life. “We’ve spent the last three months away from cameras and internet, camping every other week, showing Helen the beach, rivers and the mountains,” she wrote. “It’s been the most special time of our life since she was born.” Note to self, leave the cameras at home and go on a hike every now and then.
Hilary Farr from HGTV lives her best life in North Carolina
HGTV’s Love It or List It is great — it incorporates design, real-estate, and healthy competition among its two hosts. But when she’s not on camera, Love It or List It designer Hilary Farr lives a down-to-earth life, and shares snaps of her world on social media. The star of Farr’s show (off-camera, that is) is her dog Mimi, who seems to go everywhere with her.
Most notable was the trip that Farr and Mimi took together to vote in North Carolina during the 2020 election. “Mimi and I went to vote early at Roberts Park earlier this week — no line at all,” Farr wrote on Instagram, accompanying a snap of her holding Mimi surrounded by political signs.
And despite the coronavirus pandemic, Farr has kept busy while working from home. In January 2019, before the pandemic, she worked on the Covington Fabric and Design “Come Together” collection, and has used the initiative to make face masks. She updated her followers on Instagram about the collection, announcing that 25 percent of the proceeds would go to different non-profits. We love to see it.
Christina Anstead from HGTV lives a surprisingly normal life
HGTV’s Christina Anstead (formerly Christina El Moussa) has been in the headlines a lot, given her frequently changing marital status. But despite her divorce from Tarek El Moussa and her estrangement from her current husband, Ant Anstead, Christina lives a pretty down to earth life. Her HGTV show, Christina: Stronger by Design delves “deeper into my…plans and things I’m currently doing to stay happy and at peace,” she told People.
And to keep her life and her kids’ lives as normal as possible, Christina went off the grid to give them all some breathing room. She posted in December 2020 that she and the kids would be “going offline for the remainder of 2020 to stay present,” a healthy option given that so much of her personal life has been in the news.
To top off a healthy, balanced professional and personal life, Christina and her kids adopted a new puppy into their family in late 2020. Their Rottweiler puppy, Biggie, was just the addition that their home life needed, and Christina took to Instagram to share pics of the sweet little man.
HGTV star Tarek El Moussa lives a surprisingly normal life
Not too dissimilar to his ex-wife, Tarek El Moussa has endured a lot of personal life headlines. But since his high-profile divorce came to a close, Tarek has been living a pretty normal life with his fiancé, Heather Rae Young, and kids. He told People that much of his life consists of navigating parenthood, and of course, getting into petty fights with his 10 year old, Taylor. “Taylor doesn’t like the beard,” Tarek shared. “I’ve had this beard for like, four or five months. Heather loves the beard, Taylor hates the beard,” resulting in a “battle in the house.” If this is what their family fights consist of, then count us in.
Tarek’s HGTV show, Tarek’s Flip Side, has enabled him to show more of his normal life, and he explained that the experience has been made better by Heather and Taylor. “Normally, people see me on TV doing my job flipping houses and working on projects,” he said. “But Flip Side is more of a personal look into my life, so it’s completely different than the normal Flip or Flop or Flipping 101.”
HGTV's Mina Starsiak has a super normal relationship with her mom
We can’t imagine going to work with your family every day, but it’s a reality that Mina Starsiak and Karen E. Laine have gotten used to. The pair are the stars of Good Bones on HGTV, and as noted by People, drew a huge audience due to their great on-screen dynamic and amazing eyes for design. According to Starsiak, the pair are a “couple of likeable gingers” who have made it big on HGTV. But when the cameras aren’t rolling, the mother-daughter duo have a really normal life, and very normal relationship.
Starsiak told IndyStar that not only do they live next door to each other, but they are “friends as well” as mother and daughter. But like all parent/child relationships, the two admit that they’ve needed breaks from each other. “In regular life we would go to our separate corners when we need a break,” Starsiak said. “But when we’re filming it’s full time, five to six days a week, so there wasn’t time to go to our corners.” Healthy boundaries are definitely a plus, especially when your mom is your co-star.
This HGTV star endured some hardships, but came out stronger on the other side
People on television can sometimes give the impression that their lives are pretty perfect, that nothing ever goes awry, and that their career has them set for life. But Windy City Rehab‘s Alison Victoria has had some pretty tough hurdles to jump over, and like everyone else, has had some less-than-fun work experiences. As noted by People, Victoria not only had to deal with her relationship with co-host Donovan Eckhardt ending, but also with former clients taking her to court — yeah, you read that correctly. On top of a breakup, which we all know is brutal enough, some of Victoria’s professional accomplishments were tested.
What exactly happened? Well, as reported by People, the former clients (who were featured on the show) “attempted to freeze host Alison Victoria’s financial assets” after alleging that their home had “leaks and water penetration” coming from the walls, ceilings, and windows. In the season finale of her show in October 2020, Victoria broke down and said, “I’m just dealing with a nightmare.” Honestly, we all know the very normal feeling of watching your personal and professional life go crazy.
This breakout star of HGTV's Fixer Upper lives a surprisingly normal life
One of the best aspects of HGTV’s Fixer Upper is seeing the craftsmanship in each renovated house, and a huge part of accomplishing the designs is in part due to Clint Harp, Joanna Gaines’ go-to carpenter. Harp is such a great addition to the show, and brings a really down-to-earth vibe into the mix. But as noted by People, his life before the show was really tough.
Harp left his lucrative position in medical sales to pursue woodworking full-time, but the plan didn’t go well at first. “We had savings that we thought would last us for a certain amount of time. It didn’t,” he confessed. “I came up with this plan and talked about it with my wife and she was on board, but of course it didn’t end up how you think.”
Things began to change when Harp met Chip Gaines at a local gas station in Waco, Texas. Harp introduced himself, and the rest is history — and Harp is now a well-off carpenter who isn’t struggling for cash. Talk about a rags to riches story.
HGTV's Jonathan Scott lives a pretty down-to-earth life
The Scott brothers are like HGTV’s royalty; known for their show Property Brothers, the Scott twins bring their realty and design chops to the screen. But when the cameras aren’t rolling, Jonathan Scott — the show’s contractor — lives a pretty normal life with his girlfriend, Zooey Deschanel, the beloved star of New Girl. The two are adorable together, and as noted by People, had “chemistry right away.”
“We literally make each other laugh nonstop,” Scott said. “I have never been in a relationship where my partner is as romantic as, if not more romantic than, I am. I’m usually the one who carries the romantic load.” The gushing didn’t stop there. Scott admitted that Deschanel is cuter, funnier, and smarter than he is, and is the most considerate person. “I had said before that the most important thing for me was a sense of humor,” he revealed (via People). “But you have to be kind, and she definitely is.”
Despite their high-profile, Deschanel and Scott aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty, and have even gone in on some renovation projects together. We love to see it.
HGTV's standout sidekick, Shorty, is living his "best life"
HGTV’s standout show Fixer Upper was beloved for a number of reasons; yes, the designs were amazing, but the Gaines family business brought some amazing personalities to the screen. Any fan of the show knows that Chip Gaines lives for antics, and where there’s Chip, there’s Shorty. Shorty — his full name is Saul Sanchez — was one of the first people that Magnolia Homes ever hired, long before the Gaines found HGTV, as noted by Country Living. In his book, The Magnolia Story, Chip revealed that in the early days of the business, all the renovations were done by himself and Shorty — no camera crew, no demo team, just the two of them.
Since Fixer Upper left the air, fans have been missing Shorty, and one even reached out to Chip on Twitter to check on everyone’s favorite contractor. According to Chip, Shorty is out here “living THE best life,” and is still working in renovations, based on his Twitter activity. Here’s hoping that the new Magnolia network will bring Shorty back to our screens.
Before the fame, HGTV's Karen E. Laine had this normal day job
We love a lady that can wear a bunch of different hats, and HGTV’s Karen E. Laine might just have all of us beat. One of the stars of Good Bones, Laine is the mom of Mina Starsiak and quite the demo-day queen.
But before she was remodeling homes, tearing down old foundations, and helping to bring charm and beauty to Indianapolis neighborhoods, Laine was an attorney. Actually, let’s rephrase: Laine owned her own legal practice as a defense attorney — talk about a boss!
According to People, Laine closed her practice to focus on her and her daughter’s company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, and did something not a lot of us would have the guts to: she jumped into an entirely new career path, and taught herself everything she knows about home improvement. That’s bold. And manifesting definitely works, because Laine wrote to HGTV years before she made it onto the air, telling the network that they needed to do a show with the mother-daughter duo. So here’s your sign to quit your normal day job and teach yourself something new (or don’t, just watch HGTV).
This HGTV star is ready to slow down and start a family
We love Drew and Jonathan Scott, the Property Brothers, for a number of reasons. And one of them is Drew’s marriage to Linda Scott, the creative director of Scott Brothers Global and all-round wonderful human being. And when the cameras aren’t rolling, Drew and Linda live a really quiet life, and are even considering making it more down-to-earth. “I think it’s spending less time working and more time with ourselves,” Drew told People, divulging on the couple’s desire to have kids. “If we’re always on the road filming, it’s really tough to grow a family.”
The two also shared that they’re considering dialing their busy lives down so they can focus on their growing family, something that Drew thinks they’re up for. “I know Linda is going to be an amazing mom, and I hope I’ll be a great dad,” he continued.
And from the looks of it, Jonathan is ready to be an uncle to his twin’s kids — so maybe in the near future, we’ll be seeing less of the Property Brothers on television, and more pictures on Instagram of kids, holidays, and time spent with family.
Everyone's favorite HGTV ironworker, Jimmy Don, lives a surprisingly normal life in Texas
One of the touches that makes Joanna Gaines’ designs on Fixer Upper so amazing is the ironwork that she integrates into the home, and that work is done by none other than local Waco craftsman, Jimmy Don Holmes. And when the Fixer Upper cameras aren’t capturing his life in his shop, creating iron railings or signs for Joanna’s projects, Jimmy Don lives a really normal life.
As noted by Country Living, Jimmy Don had been selling his work out of a trailer for some time, but now has an established storefront at the Magnolia Market. When he’s not making iron goods, or sharing photos of his creative process on social media, Jimmy Don kicks his feet up, literally, on his property in Crawford, Texas. He revealed on Instagram in December 2020 that he’d gotten married to his now-wife, Shelley Edwards, and the two really embraced the boho-chic look for their big day (and looked adorable and so in love). When the Magnolia Network comes to our screens, we really hope that we get more Jimmy Don moments.
HGTV star David Visentin has a surprisingly normal life in Ontario
Love It or List It is one of HGTV’s most entertaining shows because of the banter between its hosts, Hilary Farr and David Vinsentin. But when he isn’t captured on camera, Vinsentin lives a normal life in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. He told Barrie Today that despite all the different areas that he’s worked in while on Love It or List It, Barrie is the place that he’s happy to call home. “Barrie is just one of those cities that gives you everything you need and gives me proximity to real estate, which I still do,” Vinsentin said, divulging that the city gives him the “culture, theater, great restaurants, and bike trails” that he loves. Of course, it helps that his real estate business, Country Living Realty, is close by.
Barrie brings other perks to Vinsentin’s laid-back life that other cities wouldn’t be able to do; he shared that both his family and his wife’s family are close to him in Barrie, and revealed that it was the city’s beautiful waterfront that sold him. Sounds like a perfectly normal and lovely life to live when the cameras aren’t rolling.
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