Tarek El Moussa Reveals He Finally Understands Why Christina Hall Left Him

Tarek El Moussa and ex-wife Christina Hall tackled some of the toughest renovations on Flip or Flop, but saving their marriage proved to be impossible. As Tarek told E! News: "I was a mess."

By Sarah Grossbart Feb 05, 2024 12:00 PMTags
Watch: Tarek El Moussa on Gun Incident & Why Christina Hall Left Him

For years, Tarek El Moussa built a fortune buying the ugliest, nastiest, most rundown houses he could find and transforming them into every homeowners' dream. But his most impressive flip to date might just be his own life. 

Reeling from the one-two-three punch of back-to-back thyroid and testicular cancer treatments and a back injury, "I was a mess for quite a few years," the Flip or Flop alum admitted in an exclusive interview with E! News' Francesca Amiker.

With his hormones out of whack, he was already dealing with anxiety, panic attacks and depression. "And then I was on opiates for about a year: Percocet, Dilaudid, Vicodin," he revealed, detailing how the treatment for his back injury made him drop 75 pounds. "You could see the bones in my chest." 

Still seeking out remedies for his myriad ailments, he began taking testosterone injections, "And that was the end of me," he said. "I did not react well to the testosterone and my hormones were all over the place because I had no thyroid." As a result, he continued, "In 2016 my life imploded."

Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa's Family Tree

The pressure continued building until that May day when he hopped over the back fence of his and then-wife Christina Hall's 6,366-square-foot Yorba Linda, Calif. home, a .38-caliber pistol in hand. 

Though his intention was to simply "blow off some steam," as he put it, he can see why Christina assumed the worse, calling police to report her husband was potentially suicidal.

"I knew there was a major problem because inside, I was dying," Tarek recalled. "It's so hard to explain. People that are suffering with mental health issues, you can't control it. It's almost like it's out of your hand. And then you throw in the testosterone and the hormones and the pills and you're just not the same human anymore."

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Seven months later, the telegenic HGTV pair announced their marriage was over

"Christina left me and it was heartbreaking," said Tarek, admitting he felt a lot of anger about her decision. "At the same time, looking back 20/20 hindsight, you know, I understand why she did."

Struggling with his emotions and scarcely involved with their two kids—daughter Taylor, now 13, and son Brayden, now 8—"I wasn't a great dad," he admitted. "I wasn't even a good dad. I wasn't around. I was stressed all the time."

Bottom line, he summed up: "I know I wasn't a good guy. But at the same time, I know that wasn't me. I was sick. But I had done so much damage that it was at the point of no return."

So he took it all down to the studs. 

"The best thing that happened to me in my life, and the worst thing, was her leaving," he explained of Christina's decision. "Because it forced me to completely rebuild my life."

As he details in his aptly named Flip Your Life: How to Find Opportunity in Distress — in Real Estate, Business and Life (out Feb. 6), "I put in the work," the 42-year-old said. "We're no different than a house. A house could have a plumbing leaks and mold and no electric and the roof caving in. Well, can you remodel the house and make it look brand new? Well, yeah, of course. You can do the same thing with a human. And I'm a big believer in flipping your life from the inside out."

To continue the analogy, his demo day took place a few weeks after Christina left him. 

Living on his 50-foot yacht fittingly dubbed "Bad Decisions", he was drinking a lot and eating very little. "One day I was just hanging out, passed out, hit the deck," he recounted. "When I woke up, my friends were shaking me. They immediately set me up on the phone with Dr. Drew [Pinsky] and I ended up moving to a halfway house."

Without that rock-bottom moment, he continued, "I don't know if I would have made it." 

Tarek El Moussa/Instagram

Fast-forward nearly eight years and one marriage to Selling Sunset standout Heather Rae El Moussa (née Young) later and he's the equivalent of an 8,000-square-foot oceanfront property with a wide-open floor plan and a six-figure view. 

"I'm just so close with my kids," he said of his brood, which now includes 12-month-old Tristan, his son with Heather. "It's crazy to think how close we are, like we are best friends. And then looking back years ago, we didn't even know each other. I think about all those those moms and those dads out there that have all these negative feelings and bad relationships with their kids and I just want to tell them, 'You can fix it, you've just got to invest the time.'"

Tarek El Moussa/Instagram

The real estate developer, who's portfolio now includes a slate of HGTV series like Flipping 101 and The Flipping El Moussas, has also sunk quite a bit of effort into repairing his relationship with Christina. 

"Enough time has passed to where all the anger and rage and the negative thoughts, I feel like they're finally gone," he explained of how they've built up a successful co-parenting relationship that includes Heather plus Christina's husband of nearly two years, Joshua Hall. "I was upset that she left me. She was upset that I acted the way I acted. We still had to work together. It took a big toll on our family." 

Now, he continued, "We're very friendly. I would say we're friends today, actually. We talk, we co-parent. She has an amazing relationship with my wife, Heather. It really comes from forgiveness because you can't co-parent if you're angry."

In other words, they took one of the worst houses on the block and...

"There was a moment shortly after she left me," Tarek recalled of his lowest moments, "and I'm driving up and down Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach. And I'm screaming, I'm crying, I'm yelling, 'This isn't fair. That's not fair.' And then the word 'fair' hit me. And then I realized something. I said, 'Life's not fair.' And the second like, I said it out loud, 'Life's not fair,' was the second I started rebuilding my life. Because it was acceptance that it's not fair. So because life isn't fair, you have to do the best you can with what you got."

And he's done pretty okay. Keep reading to discover the family member he's had in his corner along the way. 

Taylor Reese El Moussa, Christina and Tarek's Daughter

Christina and Tarek welcome their first child together on Sept. 22, 2010.

Following their divorce, the pair have continued to co-parent their daughter, who Christina has described as an "old soul who one minute can talk super deep about life and then quickly go back to being a kid."

"Her greatest ability is being able to start a conversation with anyone, anywhere," she said of Taylor. "Fun, smart, athletic, HAPPY, and always keeping us on our toes."

Brayden James El Moussa, Christina and Tarek's Son

Christina and Tarek welcomed their second child together on Aug. 20, 2015.

In addition to their oldest child Taylor, the two have continued to co-parent Brayden after their divorce. In the past, Tarek has described their son as "a ball of energy" and the "sweetest boy with the biggest heart."

"No words can describe how much brighter this boy makes my day," Tarek shared. "I feel blessed every single day to be his and Tay's dad and raising him and seeing him grow up makes me the happiest dad alive."

Ant Anstead, Christina's Second Husband

Almost a year after announcing her split from Tarek, Christina started dating Ant, a TV presenter from England, in October 2017. The two went public with their relationship in January 2018—the same month Christina's divorce from Tarek was finalized—and tied the knot in a winter-themed wedding at their home in Newport Beach, Calif., on Dec. 22, 2018.

Christina and Ant—who is dad to daughter Amelie and son Archie with his first wife Louise Storey—welcomed their first child together, son Hudson, in 2019.

The couple were married for less than two years before announcing their separation in September 2020. Their divorce was finalized nine months later.

Since the split, Ant has moved on with actress Renée Zellweger.

Hudson London Anstead, Christina and Ant's Son

Christina and Ant welcomed their son on Sept. 6, 2019. At the time, the baby boy arrived weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces and measured at 19.5 inches long.

Though they agreed on shared legal and physical custody of Hudson when their divorce was finalized in June 2021, Ant filed for full custody in April 2022, claiming in court documents that his ex spends roughly "9 full days" with their child each month.

In response to the filing, Christina told E! News, "What Ant is doing deeply saddens me. If this was really about Hudson, as he says, this should have been handled privately with a private judge or mediation, as myself and my attorney have suggested. I have had my share of ups and downs but I am a good mom and I love my children with all my heart and I will always protect them."  

Heather Rae Young, Tarek's Second Wife

Tarek met the Selling Sunset star on the Fourth of July in 2019, when they were partying on boats that had docked next to each other at a marina in Newport Beach, Calif. Later that month, the pair were spotted kissing on a yacht and Tarek confirmed to E! News they were dating that August, saying, "I never thought I'd say this word again, but this beautiful young lady, Heather Rae, is my girlfriend, officially."

The couple got engaged in July 2020 and became husband and wife on Oct. 23, 2021, exchanging vows during a romantic outdoor ceremony near Santa Barbara, Calif.

Heather has often referred to herself as the "bonus mom" of Tarek's two older children, Taylor and Brayden. "I already feel like I have two kids," she previously explained to E! News. "I'm raising Tarek's babies, and we have them 50 percent of the time. I am such a good bonus mommy. I adore those kids. I raise them like they're mine."

Josh Hall, Christina's Third Husband

After calling it quits with her second husband Ant, Christina began dating Josh in 2021. The pair went public with their relationship that July, with Christina revealing that they had been together for "a few solid months."

According to the Flip or Flop star, she met Josh, a licensed realtor, that spring at a time in her life when she "wasn't in a state of fear or fight-or-flight" and had "taken time off social, hired a spiritual coach and smoked a Bufo toad" to "reset" her brain. 


Christina and Josh got engaged that September and by April 2022, a source confirmed to E! News that the duo married in a private ceremony.

Tristan Jay El Moussa, Tarek and Heather's Son

Tarek and Heather welcomed their son on Jan. 31, 2023. At the time, the baby boy arrived weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

He was named Tristan because "Tarek was supposed to be named Tristan," according to Heather, "and his parents ended up naming him Tarek."

His middle name is a nod to Heather's dad.

Stacie Adams and Jessica Hall, Christina's Sister-in-Laws

Though Josh's relationship with Christina pushed him into the spotlight, his sisters found fame way back in the aughts.

Stacie—or "Stacie the Bartender" as some fans remember her—was famously the target of Spencer Pratt's flirtations on The Hills. She has also appeared on Vanderpump Rules, most notably on season three as one of the bridesmaids in Scheana Shay's bridesmaids.

As for Jessica, the former Playboy model also made appearances on The Hills, as well as The Girls Next Door, Kendra, Kendra on Top and Kendra Sells Hollywood in support her best friend Kendra Wilkinson.


Angelique El Moussa, Tarek's Sister

The older sister of Tarek, Angelique is the owner of Latitude 33 Hair Artistry in Anaheim, Calif. She purchased one of Tarek and Christina's flipped homes on an episode of Flip or Flop in 2014 and later filmed a digital series with her HGTV host bro in 2019.

Dominique El Moussa and Robert Carroll, Tarek's Mom and Stepdad

Tarek's mother Dominique is no longer with the Flipping 101 star's father, whose name he has never publicly shared. She is currently married to Robert, who describes the El Moussa matriarch as "the love of my life" on Instagram.

Tarek's Dad

Tarek has never shared his father's name, though in a November 2017 Facebook post he announced that his "old man" had turned 70 years old.

"The relationship between a father and his children is so important. I was lucky enough to have a supportive and motivating father that made me believe I could accomplish anything in the world," he captioned a picture of the family's birthday celebrations for the patriarch. "I can say that I wouldn't be where I am today without the support of my dad. I will take all the lessons I've learned from him and pass it on to my children."

In an interview with Country Living, Tarek said his father was "raised Catholic in the Middle East in Lebanon and then Egypt" and met his mother, who is from Belgium, in Europe as a teen.

Christina's Parents

While Christina has not publicly revealed her parents' identities, she has given glimpses into how her children interact with their grandparents. In 2019, she shared in an Instagram post that "we all sit together—my family and Tarek's family" when they watch Taylor perform at her school's annual Christmas concert.

"A couple people acknowledged how nice this is- I know there are a lot of divorced couples (including Tarek's mom and dad) who do this too and it's honestly easier for everyone," she wrote at the time. "Plus Taylor's face lights up when she sees us all in the same row supporting her."