Five years after their divorce, HGTV‘s Tarek El Moussa is opening up about what life was like for him before and after his split from Christina Hall, with whom he rose to fame on the hit show “Flip or Flop.”
After meeting at a real estate office where they both worked, the couple married in 2009 and started flipping houses together after the housing market crash hit them hard financially, according to Insider. In 2011, El Moussa sent an amateur audition video to HGTV just for fun, the outlet reported, and he was shocked when the network showed interest. “Flip or Flop” first aired in 2013.
The show was a huge hit, with HGTV revealing in November 2022 — before one final episode aired — that the show had aired 64,565 times to more than 90 million viewers during its nine-year run. The family — including daughter Taylor and son Brayden, now 12 and seven — were HGTV fan favorites, but viewers were mostly unaware of the turmoil happening behind the scenes.
The same year the show launched, El Moussa was diagnosed with cancer twice, first with stage two thyroid cancer and, a month later, with testicular cancer. In a new interview with Fox News Digital, published on February 25, 2023, the real estate investment expert revealed that the effect of cancer treatments, an unhealthy lifestyle, and high stress caused him to feel “lost” and ultimately led to the downfall of his marriage.
Now remarried to “Selling Sunset” star Heather El Moussa, with whom he shares a newborn son, the HGTV star said hard work, lifestyle changes, and his expanding family has given him a new lease on life.
Tarek El Moussa Says He Hit ‘Rock Bottom’ During Divorce
HGTV fans were stunned According to Us Weekly, El Moussa and Hall — who is now married to her third husband, Josh Hall — separated privately in May 2016 after police were called to their home about a “possibly suicidal male with a gun.” People magazine reported that 11 police officers descended on the couple’s California home and that an eyewitness said he saw Tarek “run out of his back door” and “jump over his back fence” toward Chino Hills State Park.
After a police helicopter located El Moussa, he returned home, People said. He denied he’d been suicidal and has said in past interviews that he went mountain biking and took a gun to protect himself from wildlife like bobcats.
Nevertheless, Tarek voluntarily relinquished all five guns he owned for 30 days after the incident. He also had to do some soul-searching, he told Fox News Digital this month, because it was clear he was not doing well mentally or physically.
He said, “You know, hitting rock bottom in 2016, when my ex-wife decided that she wanted to end things, you know, that’s when I had to dig deep and really figure out who I was and who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. So, I did a lot of work on myself to get to where I am today.”
El Moussa said the combination of cancer treatment, which drastically impacted his hormones, and a severe back injury led to him feeling so lost.
“You know, after the cancers, I had that terrible accident on my back and I lost like 60 pounds, and I was on all those opiates,” he told Fox News Digital. “I was, you know, I was not doing well.”
He continued, “This is what people don’t understand – you know, from 2013 to 2016, it was hell. You know, I fought two cancers, I fought back surgery. I was dealing with all these hormone problems. And honestly, I lost my way. I lost who I was. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t know who I was anymore.”
Tarek El Moussa Says He’s the ‘Happiest’ He’s Ever Been
El Moussa’s cancer diagnoses led him to start changing his health, he told Fox News Digital, including cutting back on drinking and quitting smoking.
He said, “I was a smoker. Awful for me. I was not eating good foods. I was stressed out all the time. So it made me really re-evaluate my life.”
“I did a lot of work on myself to get to where I am today,” El Moussa added, which is why he thinks he’s now feeling better than ever.
On February 25, El Moussa posted a series of Instagram photos of himself, including an early shot of him appearing on “Flip or Flop” when, he wrote, he “was just a kid.”
“You guys have seen me through it all: When I first started on HGTV, I was just a kid trying to figure out how to flip houses and support my family,” he wrote in the caption. “I had no IDEA what the next decade had in store for me. I look back on it all, and I am grateful for every moment and overwhelmingly grateful for YOU guys and your support throughout our journey. I’m now at a point in my life where I am my happiest self.”
He reiterated that in his interview with Fox News Digital, saying, “I honestly, I mean, this is the happiest, hands down, the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. You know, I love being in my forties. I love being established. I love my family. I love my wife. I love my kids. Like, I couldn’t be happier, and that’s the truth.”
El Moussa and Hall finalized their divorce in January 2018, but continued to “Flip or Flop,” but HGTV ended the show in early 2022 to make way for them to star in separate series. On March 2, “The Flipping El Moussas” will premiere, starring him and his wife Heather, whom he married in October 2021. The couple had their first baby together, Tristan Jay, on January 31 and El Moussa said that’s also contributed to the joy he’s feeling.
“This little guy, he just brings so much joy to the household,” he said. “I’m just as obsessed with Taylor and Brayden, and now looking at Tristan, I think about all the amazing things we’re going to do together. We’re going to go skiing and dirt biking and traveling and do jiu-jitsu, and as a father, I just couldn’t be happier.”