Drew & Jonathan Scott Say You Will ‘Ugly Cry’ Watching New ‘Celebrity IOU’
Kris and Kendall Jenner operating heavy machinery is not something you’d expect to see, but here we are. The two, alongside Kim Kardashian West, join Drew and Jonathan Scott for a labor of love on Celebrity IOU. The brothers are back for more episodes of the HGTV series in which they link up with big-name celebs to gift a home renovation to a special person in their lives. In the June 21 return, Kris and her daughters surprise Lisa, her best friend of 40 years.
“Lisa is the godmother to her kids,” Drew Scott explains. “It was so cool to give back to someone who lost her husband and mom in the same year. She had a really hard time trying to figure what life means to her. She saved up every penny to get this house, living in the same neighborhood as Kris, but couldn’t afford to do anything with the yard. The type of transformation — it is life-changing. We feel really fortunate to be a part of that.”
Other new episodes feature Kevin Hart, Gwyneth Paltrow, Darren Criss, Josh Groban, Ali Wong and Howie Mandel. Here, the twinning Property Brothers preview the heartwarming stories told in Celebrity IOU and why you might want a box of tissues nearby.
We know these famous faces, but this show really takes them out of their element and into a really relatable environment.
Jonathan Scott: Every single celebrity we worked with, the audience has learned something or seen them in a way that they’ve never seen before…I’ve heard Kris is a very savvy businesswoman. I was blown away. I really had the wrong impression. They all have hearts of gold. They really wanted to do something special for Lisa. Kim was funny, because right off the top she said, “I’m wearing heels and not doing demolition, I’ll help you pick finishes. I’ll help you pick the color palette.” She was really great with all of that, but it was really Kendall and Kris who were like, “We want to smash something.”
These celebs are like a kid in a candy store when it comes to getting to smash some stuff.
Drew Scott: This is not a show where the celebrities go in and say, “Go do something nice for these people we love.” They are in there and all hands on deck to get it done. Gwyneth has a really great design eye but hasn’t physically done a lot of this construction before. They loved these people so much they were willing to get as dirty as they need to get it done.
Jonathan: Ali Wong, every time there was a bang or smash, she would just about jump out of her skin. She admitted she does not like loud noises or the chaos of demolition, but she was willing to do it because it was for someone who deserved it.
Drew: Kevin Hart is hilarious. This was the most laughing we did at a construction site. He is such a trash-talker and talks a big game. You would think he was a licensed contractor of 40 years with the way he talks. Then there was a little spider by his head. The moment he saw that he squealed like a little girl and ran to the other side of the room.
Jonathan: He spent five minutes trash-talking the cabinets we were about to rip out and let the cameras roll. I love it.
How many projects are you working on at once?
Jonathan: We’re doing about 20 projects at a time, so we have a full slate of projects because we’re filming Celebrity IOU and Forever Home. We have a pretty incredible team that goes to bat to pull off these renovations. Look at the Jenner and Kardashian episode, that was probably the largest outdoor project we have ever done. Drew and Kris conspired to add this big pool to the back of the property so we can have a better layout. That wasn’t originally supposed to be part of the project. The way it turned out is incredible.
Drew: If you have talented people like Josh Groban or Darren Criss, you don’t just whistle while you work. You sing while you work. Josh and Darren are so talented and play like 10 instruments each. Darren ended up writing a song about the project, and he performed it at the end.
Is there one episode that was especially meaningful to film for you?
Drew: The episode that stands out to me is LeAnn Rimes. She was giving back to her longtime friend and therapist Roger. LeAnn speaks openly about this, that she had some very dark years. She dealt with depression and Roger really helped her through that. There is so much emotion behind this transformation. Roger loves to cook. To see her come in wanting to completely transform this kitchen and outdoor kitchen and entertaining space. If you watch this show and don’t cry…
Jonathan: You’re dead inside if you don’t cry at these episodes. For me, it was Kevin Hart’s episode. He had a tragic car accident. The doctors told him there is a good chance he’ll never be able to walk again. It was “Boss” [Ron Everline] his trainer, who dropped everything and said, “I’m not only going to get you through this physically but emotionally.” Kevin attributes his ability to walk and work [to him]. In fact, he is stronger now. It’s moving stories.
The overall message is paying forward. How has this show had an impact beyond the celebrity episodes?
Jonathan: The response has been beautiful. Everyone likes a good celebrity story and the behind-the-scenes, but that’s not what has really resonated. It’s this genuine gesture of the heart that is something we need a little more of in this world. We’ve had people say on social media, “I saw how Brad Pitt gave back to his makeup artist. I want to give back to a hairstylist.” These are everyday people who are now saying, “I want to do something special now for the person that means so much to me.”
Drew: For Jonathan and me, it doesn’t have to be a home renovation to give back. If we can inspire someone to just call up someone in their lives to say thank you for being a part of their life — I think it’s something we all need in this world.
Jonathan: The thing we see with these renovations is they never expect it. Every single one of these people has said, “I’m just doing what feels right.” The people who deserve it the most are the people who feel they aren’t deserving. It’s a nice way with this show to say, “It doesn’t matter if you feel like you deserve it or not. We feel you do and make sure it happens.”
Celebrity IOU returns June 21, 9/8c, HGTV and Discovery+