Mina Starsiak Hawk’s Husband Says Her Childhood Memories Belong in a ‘Horror Book’

Mina Starsiak Hawk

Heavy/HGTV/YouTube HGTV's Mina Starsiak Hawk

As a child growing up in Indianapolis, HGTV star Mina Starsiak Hawk says she had no idea how dangerous and abnormal her family’s living conditions were. Now that she’s a mom of two, the former “Good Bones” star realizes it was a “very dysfunctional upbringing.”

“As a kid, I had so many fun adventures,” Mina recently told her husband and co-host, Steve Hawk, on her “Mina AF” podcast. “(But) looking back, I’m like, ‘What the [expletive] was I doing and where were my parents?”

Steve, in turn, said the stories he’s heard belong in “a horror book.”

On a podcast episode titled “What is Normal Parenting?” — released on April 16, 2024 — the home renovation and design expert recalled places in “not a great area” where she and her brothers lived with their mom, former “Good Bones” co-star Karen E. Laine, after their parents split. Mina recalled living in makeshift homes, including the front of a warehouse and the eyebrow-raising “adventures” she had with her siblings.

After being estranged from her mom for over a year, which led to the cancellation of their show in 2023, Mina has said they’ve slowly begun mending fences. Part of that healing, she said on the podcast, is that she’s realized she can be a different kind of a parent to her own kids now and leave the hardest parts of her own upbringing in the past.

Mina Starsiak Hawk Recalls Childhood ‘Adventures’ With Her Siblings & 8 Dogs

Though Mina’s childhood may have looked picture-perfect in photos she shared in 2021, as seen in House Beautiful, Mina and Steve talked on the podcast about how tumultuous her upbringing actually was. In fact, he teased that some of the stories he’s heard about her childhood belong in a “horror book.”

One anecdote he shared was when they went on a date, before they were married, at a local “barbecue joint.” The building had been renovated, but he remembered the area being “awful” when they were growing up in the 90s. During their dinner, he said, Mina casually told him she used to sleep there as a kid.

“You’re like, ‘I used to live in this warehouse,'” Steve recalled, and Mina explained that her stepdad at the time had a “used restaurant equipment business, so he had this warehouse and we lived in the front of it.”

Recalling how Mina nonchalantly pointed out during dinner where she used to sleep, Steve said, “It’s definitely not something that you’re expecting hear anybody ever say, like, ‘I used to have a bunk bed over there’…and you’re pointing to a steel wall.”

“There were knives everywhere,” Mina recalled. “I have a lot of [expletive] memories, but I have, like, some fun memories. Looking back on it as a parent, what I refer to it now is it was like a wonderland, but with, like, knives and broken glass.”

“We would play hide and seek in the backyard,” Mina continued, “and there was this outhouse with, like, a broken down boat and, you know, shattered windows. And we would have trash can fires in the metal trash can. Like, I have a small scar on my wrist because I put my wrist down on the metal trash can when I was, I don’t know, like seven or something.”

Mina also recalled that “the streets flooded one year and we have some, like, super fun pictures of us, like, swimming in the streets. I can’t even imagine what was in the water.”

Another place Mina lived as a kid, she shared on the podcast, was a house “by the highway where we would go on adventures.”

“Me and my brothers would take the dogs, because we had eight dogs,” she said. “We’d take a couple of them and we would think we would find these treasures. These poor homeless people, we were stealing their [expletive] because they were sleeping under the bridge and we were like, ‘Oh my God! We found this (and) we found this (and) we found this. It was just homeless people’s stuff, now I know that as an adult.”

Mina Starsiak Hawk Says She Trying to Pass Along the Good From Her Upbringing to Her Kids

When “Good Bones” ended after eight seasons in 2023, Mina revealed that it was largely due to being estranged from her mom, pointing to years of head-butting with her family that boiled over while filming.

Meanwhile, though her dad was around when she was growing up, she described him on the podcast as a physician who was a “very good financial provider” and ensured his kids were in “the best schools” but said he was “not so great at the emotional aspect” of parenting or marriage.

Now that she’s a mom to three-year-old daughter Charlie and five-year-old son Jack, Mina said she realizes that her upbringing was unconventional and sometimes dangerous, but she’s trying to find the positive in it rather than just focus on the negative, adding that she wants to build on “what I love from my dad and what I love from my mom.”

“What I do love is, like, the sense of adventure that it felt like we got to have,” Mina said. “And so how can I do that (for my kids)? But in a way that’s, like, way more safe and reasonable, and I wouldn’t called by, you know, DCS (Department of Children’s Services).”

Mina said she has tried to have some empathy for her mom and dad’s parenting styles, recognizing that they didn’t have the best modeling themselves.

“As I’ve gotten older, I think you get to a point where you can start seeing your parents more as just, like, humans that exist versus just your parents,” Mina explained. “And I don’t think that makes excuses for a lot of things, but I think it helps me understand things.”

And if you can understand it,” Mina continued, “even though it wasn’t okay and it should have been different or whatever, you can understand why it was the way it was. I think once you can understand, you can have some empathy.”

Though “Good Bones” is over, Mina recently starred in the premiere episode of “House Hunters: All-Stars” and wrapped filming on a spinoff about the renovation of her new lake house, expected to air sometime in 2024.

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