Joanna Gaines is revealing aspects of her childhood.
On Tuesday, the “Fixer Upper” star appeared on the “Today Show” to promote her upcoming memoir, “The Stories We Tell,” in which she details the struggle of growing up half Korean in her hometown in Kansas.
“I told the other kids my middle name was Anne because it sounded more American than Lee,” Hoda Kotb said as she read aloud an excerpt of Gaines’ book. “The lies I told out loud though weren’t as harmful as the lies I was letting take root in my heart.”
“It was like I couldn’t find my place,” Gaines shared with Kotb. “I remember going to Korean church and feeling like, ‘I don’t look like them,’ because I felt like, you know, I was a ‘halfie.’ And then going to school and being the only girl who looked pretty Asian.”
JOANNA GAINES GETS EMOTIONAL THINKING ABOUT MOM’S STRUGGLE AS AN IMMIGRANT
The interior designer shared that she always viewed herself as “somewhere in the middle” and finding her place was an “internal” process.
She explained that her childhood bullying began in the school cafeteria while eating her mother’s Korean cooking.
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“I loved rice. I loved my mom’s food. And, in the moment when you’d open it, that’s when all the kids where like, ‘What?’” Gaines explained she “laughed off the insults” and did not process the bullying until later in life.
Gaines’ daughters, Ella, 16, and Emmie, 12, appeared with their mom on set of the “Today Show” to show support Tuesday.
Gaines and her “Fixer Upper” co-star and husband, Chip Gaines, also share three sons: Drake, 18, Duke, 14, and Crew, 4. The couple has been married since 2003.
Last week, Gaines revealed she wanted to be more spontaneous in her 40s. She explained to People magazine that, over the past several years, she has felt burned out and felt the pressures of her own high expectations.
“I was about to turn 44, and I realized, the last 10 years, a lot of it felt like a blur,” she told the outlet. “It was fast, it was exciting and there was so much to be grateful for, but there was something in me that just felt so tired. I wanted to go back and regain moments that I had missed along the way.”
In her new memoir, “The Stories We Tell,” Gaines shared that she began a journey of self-discovery by journaling and healing. That process led to happier moments.
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“The Stories We Tell” released on Tuesday.