Joanna Gaines Gets Daughter’s Driver’s Test Results During Live Interview

Joanna Gaines on phone

Magnolia Network / YouTube Joanna Gaines talks on her phone

Joanna Gaines is feeling emotional about her oldest daughter turning 16. The mom of five, who rose to fame on HGTV‘s “Fixer Upper,” revealed in an interview on daughter Ella’s 16th birthday — October 20, 2022 — that though she said it’s a joyful occasion, she had just “cried all night” over the milestone occasion. And when she received news about Ella’s driver’s test results during the live interview, she got emotional again.


Joanna Gaines ‘Cried All Night’ Before Daughter’s 16th Birthday

Just after midnight on October 20, Joanna posted an Instagram video of the “Sweet 16” decorations she’d put up around her family’s Waco, Texas, farmhouse for Ella to find in the morning, from streamers on the staircase to a ceiling full of big balloons with colorful tassels hanging down from them.

In the caption, the mom of five wrote, “My sweet girl turns 16. I’m trying my darnedest not to cry like a big fat mama baby when she drives off by herself tomorrow.”

Despite her best attempts, Joanna revealed in an Instagram Live discussion with friend Jen Hatmaker, who’s promoting her new “Feed These People” cookbook, that she didn’t succeed at achieving a tear-free night after all.

“I literally cried all night,” she told Hatmaker, an inspirational author and speaker who also has five kids. “I’m like, ‘what is wrong with me?’ But I think most mothers…we get it. It’s just like a season changing.”

During their discussion, Joanna interrupted to say her husband, who launched the Magnolia Network with Joanna in early 2022, had just arrived home with Ella following her test to get her driver’s license.

“Jen, she just pulled up and Chip gave me a thumbs up, which means she passed her driving test,” she said as she peered out the window. “So she just went to do it…and I was like, ‘oh please pass!'”

Shortly after, Chip entered the room with his arms in the air in a show of victory. Joanna raised her arms up, too, and excitedly said, “This is a ‘we made it!'”

Grinning widely, Chip then leaned down to talk to Hatmaker on the screen and said, “My oldest daughter, who turned 16 today, just passed her driver’s test with flying colors!”

“Watch out world!” Hatmaker replied.

Joanna reflected further with Hatmaker on why Ella’s 16th birthday feels so emotional for her.

She said, “It’s this bittersweet thing of, like, the joy that she has in this growth and, like, ‘I’m free! I get to go drive!’ And then for me, you know, it’s like we’re not in the car together like we used to. You know this. But we’re not gonna talk about that topic because it’s a fun day today! We’re gonna talk about your cookbook and I’m not gonna cry!”

These milestones with her kids are clearly meaningful to Joanna, who also recently penned an emotional blog post about her eldest son heading to college soon.


Joanna Gaines Made Lots of Sweet Plans for Daughter’s Sweet 16

Joanna and Ella Gaines

Magnolia Network / YouTubeJoanna Gaines cooks with daughter Ella on “Magnolia Table”

Joanna clearly has a tight bond with her eldest daughter. In addition to the decorations celebrating Ella’s 16th birthday, Joanna has two days worth of fun planned. She told Hatmaker they were going to get their nails done, going out to eat, shopping and doing “whatever she wants today” in the Waco area. She also said they were planning a “fun little day trip” to Austin, which is less than a two-hour drive north from Waco.

As an advance birthday gift, Joanna also took Ella to Paris in September for a week of delicious food and creative activities, including learning from a famous French baker how to decorate cakes, taking a scent-making class, and exploring an artists’ studio there.

Ella also spent part of the summer helping her mom with graphic design projects. Ella assisted in designing a t-shirt that raised over $24,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and she helped come up with the look of her mom’s new book cover.

In addition to Ella, the Gaines are parents to Drake, 18, Duke, 14, Emmie Kay, 12, and four-year-old Crew.

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