Chip and Joanna Gaines are as emotional about the end of Fixer Upper as fans are, but they feel strongly that it’s the right decision for them — and more specifically, their marriage. Appearing on the Today show together this morning, the beloved HGTV stars sat down to discuss their shocking decision to step back from the spotlight at the height of their success, explaining that they wanted to be proactive about protecting their relationship from the spotlight.

When Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie pointed out that some people think their reason for ending the show is that there are problems in their marriage already, Chip Gaines replied, “I’ll give them a little credence. I mean, there is always, ‘What’s next?’ And for us, the most important thing in the world is Jo and I’s relationship, followed very quickly by these four beautiful kids.” (Chip and Joanna are the parents of 12-year-old Drake, 11-year-old Ella, nine-year-old Duke, and seven-year-old Emmie Kay.)

The contractor continued, “We didn’t want to push it, redline it for so long that we woke up and realized we are at a point of no return. We wanted to take a step back and focus on the thing that was absolutely the most important thing to us in the world.”

As Chip said, that thing is their relationship, and at the moment, it’s about as good as it can get. “People in our inner circle, I tell them, we’re as healthy as we’ve ever been,” he explained. “I just didn’t want to continue pushing this envelope to the fullest extent. We’re really thankful that we had the opportunity to sort of step back and take a break.”

The couple’s home-improvement show has dominated the genre since it hit screens back in 2013, becoming the highest rated on the network and launching a booming career for the duo that includes books (they wrote a bestseller, The Magnolia Story), a magazine, luxury vacation rentals, an upcoming restaurant, a real estate company, a retail store, wallpaper and furniture lines, and products for Target.

However, all of the success required a juggling act that, in the end, was just too much to handle. “Nobody knows when you get into something like this,” Chip revealed. “I’m an idiot — I thought this was like a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. …Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy. … The emotion and the amount of energy that it takes to kind of pour something like this together. … Every day we showed up to work we wanted this to be the real deal. We wanted it to be authentic, sincere.”

They’re looking forward to the time off — but that doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate their supporters. Joanna made sure to thank their fans, saying, “We’ve kind of all grown together. With the audience, they’ve come alongside with us. On the other side, there’s so much encouragement. Even though [the decision to end the show] was sad, they get it.”

As for a possible return to TV when the kids are a little older, the couple aren’t quite ready to commit to anything quite yet. Though Chip teased, “Who knows? We’re so excited about this break. But would we go back and do this again? Absolutely. It was a joy it was a pleasure. All the things you know about.”

You’ll be able to watch the fifth and final season of Fixer Upper when it premieres on HGTV in November.

What do you think about Chip and Joanna Gaines’ reason for ending Fixer Upper? Could you see yourself making the same decision? Let us know @BritandCo!

(photo via Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)