Joanna Gaines & Sisters Open Up About Growing Up in Mixed-Race Home

Joanna Gaines opens up about her childhood

Today / YouTube Joanna Gaines opens up about her childhood

Former HGTV host and co-head of the new Magnolia Network Joanna Gaines is opening up about her life and early childhood in her new podcast, “The Stories We Tell”. The four-episode podcast, which shares a name with Gaines’s new memoir of the same name, serves to spark discussion about Gaines’s book and the topics discussed in her book, including her childhood and upbringing in a mixed-race family in the 1970s and 80s.

Gaines’s mother is Korean, and her father is American of Lebanese and German descent, according to Insider.

In the latest episode, Gaines speaks with her sisters, Mikey and Teresa, and the three open up about being bullied in school, being embarrassed of their Korean heritage, and what helped them to embrace their family history more as they became adults.


Joanna Gaines and Her Sisters Were Bullied Since Kindergarten

Joanna Gaines and her two sisters, Mikey and Teresa, shared that it was hard growing up as mixed-race children in the 1970s and 80s, and that they faced a lot of insecurity and embarrassment in their early years as a result of bullying by other children.

Teresa shares that it began in kindergarten for her, where she remembers “being pointed at and made fun of, and not just made fun of for being Asian, but saying ‘You’re ugly.’ So I associated the ‘Asian’ with ‘ugly’.” Teresa goes on to describe how she internalized this, letting it grow into a resentment towards their Korean mother, who she saw at the time as the “common denominator” behind this teasing.

Joanna and Mikey say that learning this gives them more clarity on their upbringing, as it contextualized all of the fights Teresa would get into with their mother.

Joanna has spoken about this bullying before, telling People earlier this month that she was really hurt after being bullied for things like eating rice at school lunch. “I realized if this isn’t accepted, maybe I need to hide it and play more into the other side of who I am,” Gaines said, telling People that she didn’t speak to an adult about a lot of this bullying, preferring to work through her feelings alone, which looking back she does not think was the right choice.

“I just internally processed all by myself, which as a kid, we all know isn’t healthy because what you end up doing is just shoving it somewhere,” Joanna said, “It ends up coming out at some point because we have to deal with it. So for me, sadly, it took years for me to wrestle with that.”

Joanna has opened up about this bullying before, telling Hoda Kotb on the “Today” show that she would be teased for eating rice her mother made during school lunchtime.

Joanna and her sisters agreed on the podcast that they have worked through a lot of this bullying and are now very appreciative and celebratory of their Korean heritage, and that their children love to learn more about their Korean culture, food, and family history, and that they don’t share the same insecurities that Gaines and her sisters first felt as children.


How Did Joanna Gaines Parents Meet?

Joanna Gaines parents’ love story “is one you hear about in the movies”, according to the star on Instagram. The two met in 1969 while her father Jerry was stationed in Korea, where her mother is from. Country Living reports that the two met at a party, and Nan had a feeling that night that the two would get married, though it took a few years to happen.

Jerry returned to the United States, and after corresponding through letters, in 1972 he bought Nan a plane ticket and asked her to marry him. Despite their parents not approving, the two eloped in Las Vegas, and have been together ever since. Eventually, Jerry got a job at Firestone Tire, where Joanna was working when she first met Chip years later.

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