Literary agent sues Chip and Joanna Gaines

Lawsuit claims the couple changed their book deal without consent

David Vigliano; Chip and Joanna Gaines (Getty, Vigliano Associates)
David Vigliano; Chip and Joanna Gaines (Getty, Vigliano Associates)

Well-known house flippers Chip and Joanna Gaines are being sued by a New York literary agent over their book deal.

New York literary agent David Vigliano claims the “Fixer Upper” couple unilaterally changed the terms of their five-book publishing contract, which provided the Gaineses with a $12.5 million advance, without his consent, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The lawsuit claims that the changes to the contract reduced the number of books from five to four, and eliminated the option for a sixth book. Vigliano is seeking at least $1 million in damages based on alleged lost earnings from the disputed books and nonpayment of commissions.

Vigliano’s lawyer, Larry Hutcher, of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, said the contract dispute is the result of the Gaineses breaking off from their previous management company, Westport Entertainment Associates, which represented the couple in the original 2017 publishing deal. Vigliano Associates was a third-party beneficiary of the contract between HarperCollins and the couple.

The contract called for two cookbooks and three non-fiction books to be written by Joanna Gaines. She wrote and published the first two books before the couple parted ways with Westport and both landed on the New York Times bestseller list, the lawsuit alleges.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

After the couple hired United Talent Agency in 2019, they amended the original contract to a four-book deal and changed it so one of the books would be solely written by Chip Gaines, the lawsuit alleges.

The couple hasn’t published the fourth book outlined in the contract, according to the outlet.

Last month, the couple, which built their brand transforming historic structures, announced plans to open new offices in two of Texas’ historic railroad towns, Grapevine and Granbury.

Read more

— Victoria Pruitt