Joanna Gaines Breaks Down to Mom About Not Embracing Her Korean Heritage: 'I Always Wanted to Say I Was Sorry'

Joanna Gaines mother
Joanna Gaines mother

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Joanna Gaines had a tearful moment with her mom on the final episode of her podcast The Stories We Tell with Joanna Gaines.

The Fixer Upper star, 44, invited her mom, Nan, on the show for an emotional deep-dive into her past. Having grown up with an American father and a Korean mother, Joanna has not always been accepting of her "halfness," a difficult journey she discusses on Monday's episode.

"I don't know that I ever told you this," she tells her mom, beginning to get emotional, "but I always wanted to say I was sorry for living in halfness. And not fully embracing the most beautiful thing about myself, which was you."

Holding back tears, she continues: "The culture that was half of me as a Korean little girl, as a Korean teenager, as a Korean woman. That I felt that guilt and that regret. Like dang it, that's my mother, this is her culture."

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She also recalls the time she spent in New York City, specifically Koreatown, when she was a senior in college, and how visiting the neighborhood made her miss her mom when she saw "other mothers holding their daughters' hands."

"I didn't fully own who I was until that moment," she explains. "That I am this culture, this Korean history, this Korean story, my Korean mother, my Korean grandmother. That's the richest part of who I am. And walking in the fullness of that really changed the narrative for me."

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Later in the episode she adds that she now feels "so free," especially seeing her daughters embrace their Korean culture. (Joanna shares daughters Ella, 16, and Emmie, 12, and sons Drake, 17, Duke, 14, and Crew, 4, with husband Chip.)

As her mom sniffles in the background at the emotional sentiment, Joanna says, "I just wanted to tell you mom, that I now am fully in a place of just complete pride."

In addition to discussing her heritage in her new memoir, The Stories We Tell, the Magnolia Network star recently shed light on the subject with a powerful video shared on Instagram. In a series of clips posted in November, Joanna returns to Koreatown with her daughters to explore the meaningful neighborhood with them.

RELATED: Joanna Gaines Returns to Koreatown with Her Daughters 20 Years After Eye-Opening First Visit

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Joanna opened up about what an eye-opening experience it was for her to first visit the neighborhood when she was 21 years old in a November cover story with PEOPLE,

"I saw more people that looked like me than ever before," she said. "I left really understanding the beauty and uniqueness of Korean culture and for the first time I felt whole, like this is fully who I am and I'm proud of it."