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Writer apologizes for saying Chip and Joanna Gaines don’t put family first

On second thought, Daryl Austin said he was wrong.

Last month, the Utah-based writer questioned  in a USA Today column whether HGTV “Fixer Upper” couple Joanna and Chip Gaines had the time to put family first with all their business responsibilities.          

The couple have four kids, Drake, 13; Ella, 11; Duke, 9; and Emmie Kay, 8; and a boy on the way.          

"This is just not possible,” Austin wrote. "And it does a disservice to the parents who really are putting their children first."

Fans of the once-popular show jumped to the Gaineses' defense, and Austin apologized recently in a Fox News article.            

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'I regret writing it'

In the second article, Austin said: "I regret writing it."“I didn’t write it to be hurtful, out of jealousy, or to cause controversy — all motives I was accused of. I wrote it for one simple reason: because I believed every word I wrote to be true. He mentioned the flood of attention his opinion received, many from hostile Gaines fans, and one from Chip Gaines:

'Mine was a flawed argument'

Austin said his own experiences as a parent and a small-business owner shaped his opinions. A trip to Mexico, where he saw a mother working on Mother's Day and children digging through trash, opened his eyes onto how he projected his own judgments onto the Gaineses.

"I don’t know them personally, but I suspect they really are terrific parents,” he wrote. “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."

What being a fixer upper is all about

Chip and Joanna Gaines have not responded to the apology. Austin concluded his article by saying his intention with his first article was to start a conversation on what it meant to put family first but his means of doing so was off course.

"I’ve never backed down from anything I’ve written before now, but maybe progressing in my beliefs and doing better next time is what being a fixer upper is all about."             

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