Chip & Joanna Gaines Sued by Former Agent

Chip and Joanna Gaines

Magnolia Network Chip and Joanna Gaines

Chip and Joanna Gaines are facing a new lawsuit filed by their former literary agent and his agency, which claims the former HGTV superstars breached their contract and purposefully cheated the company out of a huge payday, including profits from Joanna’s latest bestselling book.

Here’s what you need to know:

Literary Agency Claims Chip & Joanna Gaines ‘Concocted a Scheme’ to Breach Contract

Joanna Gaines' new book

GettyJoanna Gaines’s newest book on display during a New York City launch event in November 2022.

Joanna released a new memoir entitled “The Stories We Tell” on November 8, 2022. The mom of five, who’s turned her Magnolia lifestyle brand into an empire with Chip, said she started journaling in early 2022 after feeling burnt out and unsure of what she wanted her future to look like. Writing out the stories of her life, including long-held beliefs about herself that she realized were untrue, was therapeutic and, she realized, might be helpful for others to read.

In August, she announced the upcoming book would be published by her and Chip’s new Magnolia Publications, an imprint they created with Harper Collins, according to Publishers Weekly. But now their former literary agency, Vigliano Associates, claims it was unfairly and purposefully cut out of the deal in a breach of contract.

On December 7, the Wall Street Journal reported that the literary agency filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court, alleging that the couple changed the $12.5 million, five-book publishing deal that agent David Vigliano had brokered for them in 2017. WSJ says the couple, two of their companies — C&J Gaines Limited Co. and Magnolia Brands LLC — as well as their management company, United Talent Agency, are all named as defendants.

In court documents obtained by TMZ, Vigliano Associates says the original contract provided the agency with a 7.5% cut of any payments the Gaines for five books written by Joanna. Though it did receive that commission for her first two books in the deal, the agency claims the Gaines then “concocted a scheme” to change the deal, trying to cut the contract down to four books instead of five and making Chip the author of one of the remaining books. Vigliano also says Joanna signed a separate deal with a different agency in the process.

Vigliano Associates believes it should be profiting from Joanna’s new book, “The Stories We Tell,” so it’s suing for at least $1 million in damages. And the agency isn’t holding back on how bitter it is about how things have gone down.

TMZ says that in the lawsuit filing, Vigliano says, “Joanna and Chip Gaines brand themselves as moral Christians who purportedly operate in an ethical manner” but says that “nothing could be further from the truth.”

The Gaines and their representatives have yet to comment on the lawsuit.

This Is Not the First Time the Gaineses Have Been Sued

Joanna and Chip Gaines

GettyJoanna and Chip Gaines announcing their 2022 lineup of shows on Magnolia Network

As is the case with many celebrities, the Gaines are no strangers to facing lawsuits.

For instance, in 2016, a man who owned the land adjacent to their popular Magnolia Silos tourist attraction had a lease agreement with the couple, allowing their customers to park for free on his lot. But, according to Country Living, when that man sold his property, the new landowner wanted to charge people $10 to park.

The Gaines then built a metal fence between their property and his, which he did not appreciate, so he sued. According to KTBX, the Gaines offered to just buy the 1.4 acre property and the case was dismissed.

In 2017, two of Chip’s former business partners, John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark, accused him of convincing them to sell their shares of Magnolia Realty, the company they all created together, without telling them that he and Joanna were about to begin filming a show called “Fixer Upper” for HGTV.

They sued him for $1 million, according to People, saying that the company became more profitable once the show aired. However, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald, a judge dismissed the lawsuit in February 2020, and sealed the records of the case.

Meanwhile, in 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency launched an investigation into the Gaineses’ renovation work on “Fixer Upper,” claiming that they’d violated the EPA’s lead paint rules in 33 properties on five different counts. The Gaines had to pay a $40,000 fine and create education campaigns to alert the public to safety issues with lead paint.