In 2013, the Home and Garden Television channel produced a show called Flip or Flop. When the show debuted, it introduced audiences to Christina and Tarek El Moussa. The couple ran the El Moussa Group real-estate agency and worked on flipping houses in the wealthy Orange County area of California.
Flip or Gigantic Flop: The True Story About the El Moussa Couple and Why They Eventually SplitPublished 8 months ago
Christina Haack was born and raised in Orange County, California. She started working in the Orange County real estate industry. Christina would meet Tarek El Moussa while she was working and the two were married in 2009. The couple would then open the El Mousa Group, a real estate business opened up with Pete de Best.
The group predominantly made their money in real estate in California after the Global Financial crisis. Due to their success in the state, they were able to expand their operation into the neighboring states of Arizona and Nevada. The couple would turn their partnership into a million-dollar business, but their success wasn't without its ups bumps in the road, as you'll find out.
The couple first entered the housing market as a couple around 2008. Unfortunately, their dreams of making it big in the real estate industry took an enormous hit. In 2008 California, like the rest of the United States, suffered from the Housing crisis and the Global financial crisis that left many American’s homeless and jobless as American’s could no longer afford to pay their mortgages, and businesses were forced to close and declare bankruptcy.
Much like the rest of the country, Tarek and Christina also fell on hard times. The couple was forced to move out of their luxury house into a more modest apartment while they adjusted to the new market conditions. The couple would eventually make it back to a place of comfort, but they worked incredibly hard to recover what they lost. What helped them claw their way back?
Before filming the show, Tarek El Moussa and Christina had a large amount of experience. While Christina was 31 when the show had started and had been working in Real Estate since leaving college, Tarek had even more experience than his wife and co-host. When the show started filming, Tarek was 33 years old.
Tarek first got his real estate license at the age of 21 and had been working in the industry since that age. Tarek’s real estate ventures were already highly profitable enterprises even before HGTV came along and made Tarek and Christina stars on the channel. They weren't alone, however, in this venture.
Tarek and Christina had a third partner when they first opened the El Moussa group called Pete de Best. De Best worked in real estate development and lending for several years before creating the El Moussa group with Tarek and Christina El Moussa.
De Best was also involved with Flip or Flop in a background capacity. The financier worked with the couple to help select locations through a mutually owned company called Next Level Property Investments. De Best also works with Tarek El Moussa on the successor to the El Moussa Group called Tarek Buys Houses. De Best might have been their partner in business, but there was to be another partner in the family.
A few years after the couple began dating and working together, they got married. At the time of their wedding, in 2009, Christina was 26 and Tarek was 28. A year later the couple welcomed their first child together, Taylor, the couple’s daughter, and first child, was born in 2010 a year after they got married and a few years before they became household names.
The couple has spoken openly about the difficulties they faced while trying to start their family. When the couple failed to fall pregnant naturally, they turned to in vitro treatments to help. Through the expensive process, Christina was able to get pregnant and gave birth in September 2010. Taylor’s full name is Taylor Reese El Moussa and was born weighing only five pounds and 13 ounces. After building their family, find out how this couple came to build such a strong business brand.
In 2013, HGTV reached out to the couple about the idea of doing 30-minute episodes on how they buy, flip, then sell houses for a profit. Each episode would follow a different house and follow the process as it was turned from an unlivable dump into something that could turn a profit on sales. The show would track the expenditure, from the cost of the house, the cost of renovations, and then work out the amount of profit when it was finally sold.
Each episode takes place in a different location across California. The locations have included Anaheim, Newport Beach, Long Beach, and Yorba Linda as well as many others. To date, only two properties from the show have been sold at a loss with a further five properties going unsold at the end of the episodes.
Even during the first season, the show was already a success, largely thanks to the couple’s natural chemistry and their good looks. The first episode introduced the family and the concept behind the show and saw them buy a house from a foreclosure auction.
Throughout the episode, the couple works with contractors to repair the house to prepare it for sale. Despite the house renovations coming in well over the budget, it still managed to turn a profit. The house was originally purchased for $275,000 with $53,000 in renovations, and it managed to sell for $405,000. The episode resulted in a decent profit of $55,000. While the couple enjoyed success in this episode, a different episode of their life wouldn't be as successful.
As previously stated, the couple had previously faced their fair share of adversity. After overcoming the 2008 Housing Crisis that crippled the real estate industry and their own personal issues with their struggles to start a family. The success of the show seemed to suggest that the couple had overcome the worst and they were on their way to living a happy and successful life.
Unfortunately, life threw the couple another challenge that almost ended it. An eagle-eyed fan of the show noticed that Tarek’s life could be in danger. The viewer, who was a registered nurse, advised the shows production staff that Tarek clearly had a lump on his neck and advised the star to get it checked out. The results were certainly less than favorable.
After receiving the recommendation from the fan, Tarek and Christina consulted a doctor and got scans. The scans revealed that Tarek had thyroid cancer that had spread to other parts of his body. The family patriarch was reportedly unsurprised by the diagnosis as he had been suffering issues for several years but never thought much of it.
Further scans and tests revealed that his cancer had spread to other parts of Tarek’s body including his testicles. Upon receiving the diagnosis, the producers and the family decided to hold off on future episodes to allow Tarek to receive treatment and recover as opposed to potentially replacing him prematurely. Postponing episodes was a good decision, as the diagnosis was life-threatening.
The scans revealed that cancer had progressed to quite a late stage. As a result, the star was subjected to a variety of treatments and surgeries to get himself cancer-free. The tumor in Tarek’s neck was surgically removed, leaving him with a thin scar at the top of his chest.
Tarek also underwent chemotherapy and a variety of other treatments to kill the cancerous cells and stop the diseases spread. As a result, Tarek suffered from the various side effects that the treatments are known to cause. The star reported feeling nauseous while undergoing the treatments as well as suffering from painful migraines.
Even though the diagnosis was first made by a fan, and the couple led an extraordinarily public life, the diagnosis was never made public at the time. While rumors floated around that Tarek was battling cancer, neither he nor Christina made the knowledge public. According to the couple, they were not ready to bring fans in on what Tarek and the family were going through at the time.
The couple later appeared on an episode of a television talk show called The Doctors. The show features a panel of doctors discussing medical issues and features celebrity guests. The appearance marked the first time that the couple publicly spoke about the diagnosis and the horrendous side effects that Tarek suffered as a result of the treatments.
In 2013, Tarek received the news all cancer patients wait to hear, that he was all-clear from cancer. Tarek had recovered enough for the show to continue filming, and despite the delay, Flip or Flop returned for a second season in 2014.
While many cancer sufferers often suffer further complications, it hasn’t seemed to be the case for Tarek. In any case, it hasn’t delayed the production of Flip or Flop. Since it’s return in 2014, the show has produced seven seasons in six years.
Six years after welcoming their first child to their family, and with Tarek’s clean bill of health, the couple decided to have their second child. As a result of Tarek‘s cancer treatments, doctors advised the couple to freeze his sperm. Once again the couple used in vitro, with Christina falling pregnant by early 2015. This allowed for Christina to give birth in between the third and fourth seasons of the show.
In 2015, Christina gave birth to the couple’s second child and first son. The baby boy, named Brayden, was born in August, a month after the final episode of season three aired. A few weeks after giving birth to the couple’s second child, Christina was back at work to prepare for the show's fourth season.
Before giving birth to their son, Christina was warned about the risks of her pregnancy, due to the pregnancy being classified as “high-risk” by doctors. As a result, there were several things that she wasn’t able to do while pregnant which complicated their life.
Christina wasn’t allowed to do was lift anything particularly heavy and even something as simple as going for a walk was forbidden. Despite the complication, Christina and Tarek managed to make it all the way through the pregnancy and their son came out healthy.
From the real estate business to the television shows, Tarek and Christina seemed to go from win to win. Despite suffering some incredibly rough patches along the way, the couple bounced back and has made a substantial amount of money. Not only has the couple found success in their real estate venture, but their show reached wide acclaim.
The couple has frequently posted to social media about their lives. In April 2016, the couple purchased a 50-foot yacht to celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary. The couple even named the boat after their famous show Flip or Flop which is probably not the best name for a boat. According to reports, the boat set the couple back a cool $1 million.
A mere month after their seventh wedding anniversary, reports began to emerge that the happy-looking relationship wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The first sign of the cracks beginning to appear in the foundation was a massive incident that occurred at the family home.
According to reports, several emergency service vehicles, including police and ambulances, were summoned to the family home in May 2016. No details emerged about what caused all the commotion, but apparently, the drama caused Tarek to storm out of the house. Christina was reportedly later seen leaving the house in tears.
Apparently, Tarek had become belligerent and suicidal at the house. According to the story, Tarek had left the house with a weapon to commit suicide. It was suggested that Tarek went down a hiking path near the house with the weapon.
Witnesses allege that police were forced to call in a helicopter to search for the celebrity real estate agent. According to the story, the helicopter was able to locate the wandering Tarek in the woods near his house. Apparently, the police were able to convinceTarek to drop his weapon and calmly return to his home.
Tarek later clarified the situation in an interview with People magazine following the incident. According to the co-host of Flip or Flop, the entire story was blown out of proportion. Tarek claims that he was never going to commit suicide and that he has never thought about doing it. Tarek also claims that he took the weapon only to protect himself against Californian wildlife that he may have run into on his walk.
While there was a lot that Tarek disputed about the story, there were also some things that he didn’t deny. According to Tarek, he did storm out of the house angrily. Tarek also noted that the ambulance was called but was unnecessary. He also claimed that the police helicopter was unnecessary as well. According to Tarek’s side of the story, the whole thing was a big misunderstanding, and that no one was hurt in the incident.
Not long after the scandalous events of May 2016, the family was hit with another moment of drama. According to a report from TMZ, the couple’s son, Brayden, fell into the pool only to be rescued by the family's nanny. Brayden was thankfully okay after the experience, but Christina rushed her son to the hospital to make sure that no lasting damage had been done.
TMZ reported that because Brayden was taken to the hospital, the hospital in turn called child services. Despite Brayden being okay, the appearance of Child Services so soon after the incident with Tarek saw the family seemingly go from one drama to the next.
The El Moussa family drama wouldn’t end there, unfortunately, as more of the family's, private issues were revealed to the public. According to TMZ, Tarek was reportedly cheating on Christina with the couple’s nanny. Alyssa Long, a 23-year-old who worked for the couple was reportedly seen with Tarek in Florida at a concert which seemed to be proof of the affair.
According to the same report, Christina was furious about the discovery and forbade Tarek from continuing the affair with the nanny. In the end, however, Long was fired from her position with the family unceremoniously. Following the firing, Alyssa and Tarek were not seen in public.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the couple’s turbulent year, Tarek and Christina announced that they would be separating. Given all the drama that the family had been through, from the incident with the police, child services being called to the family home, and the rumors of Tarek’s infidelity all seemed to indicate that things weren’t going well behind the scenes.
The couple announced the separation to tabloid magazine Us Weekly in their December edition in a joint statement. The statement went on to emphasize that they were attempting to keep matters as civil as possible for their family and their fans. The statement also revealed that the couple had been attending counseling sessions about their relationship, but decided that separation was the next step.
A mere month after the separation announcement was revealed, Tarek El Moussa told People magazine that they were filing for a divorce. Despite the couple announcing their separation at the end of 2016, rumors circulated that they had been living apart since the start of 2016.
Despite the rumors and the issues seemingly haunting the family in 2016 and 2017, the couple still managed to shoot and air seasons four, five, and six. Despite their troubled personal relationship, the couple made it clear that they were still fine working together.
Initially, after the divorce, most of the publicity was handled by Tarek el Moussa as Christina remained relatively silent. However, when the final few episodes of the sixth season were airing, the Flip or Flop co-host broke her silence about the matter.
Christina stated that despite the drama that had been occurring, and the couple’s divorce, the two were still able to work together. According to Christina, they were working hard to keep their relationship cordial as they had joint custody over their two children, Taylor and Brayden.
After Christina opened up about their relationship, Tarek continued to also use the press to talk about how the marriage fell apart. According to Tarek, a lot of strain was put on the couple after his cancer diagnosis. Tarek spoke openly about the stress of the diagnosis as well as the side effects of the medication he was taking.
Tarek stated that the hormones he took as a part of his treatment made him feel a range of mental health issues. According to the Flip or Flop co-host, the medication caused him to gain weight, as well as feel anxious, tired, and irritable, none of which are compatible with a career in television or work well for a loving marriage.
The interview with Tarek also included a few other details which also contributed to the downfall of the marriage. According to Tarek, the decision made to keep the diagnosis and treatment of his cancer hidden was difficult to do. Tarek claimed that he struggled to deal with the treatments without confiding in people.
Their busy filming schedule, and media commitments, as well as Tarek’s treatment, kept the couple incredibly occupied for several years. Tarek essentially admitted that their schedule caused them to stop communicating in the marriage and led to their relationship to slowly crumble.
Tarek wasn’t the only one struggling through the relationship. While Tarek’s diagnosis and subsequent treatment dominated the couple’s focus, Christina was also going through battles of her own. In an interview with People magazine, Christina admitted that miscarriages early in their relationship, as well as the frustrations with the IVF conception, weighed heavily on her mind during their relationship.
Christina claimed that there was a lot of stress in the relationship, which wasn’t helped eased by the birth of their children. Christina also stated that her decision to return to work so soon after giving birth to her son was a mistake in hindsight. She stated that the four weeks were insufficient and that she had pushed herself too hard to return to work when she should have taken more time to rest and recover.
In 2016, a company began promoting a $40,000 a head seminar to teach fans of Flip or Flop the secrets of flipping houses like Tarek and Christina. Tarek and Christina were advertised to appear at the seminar but never did.
Even before the couple’s divorce, negative reviews about the seminars began to spread as people were left disappointed after their initial investment. While people continued to attend the seminars as a result of the couple’s success on Flip or Flop, negative reviews began to filter through some time after the couple had settled their divorce.
According to customer testimonies from the program, it had reportedly cost attendees over $40,000 to attend the seminars which promised much but failed to deliver. Seminars on behalf of the couple were held in the states of Ohio and Iowa but received complaints from attorneys on behalf of some of the disgruntled attendees.
Unfortunately, the issues continued to mount in regards to the seminar program, and in late 2019 the seminars were investigated by the Federal Trade Commission. The findings did not look good, as the seminars were called an overpriced expensive scheme to essentially steal money from fans of the show. It was reported that the seminar contracts were not trustworthy.
It would later be revealed that the couple was extremely different according to a “close source”. A friend reportedly told People magazine that Tarek and Christina were wildly incompatible people. The friend claimed that the split seemed to predominantly be a result of financial problems and their different priorities concerning money.
The source reportedly told the magazine in an interview about the stark differences between the two. While Tarek was reportedly more interested in saving money and living a more frugal life, Christina didn’t view things that way. Christina, reportedly, enjoyed spending money and seemingly demanded that the couple enjoy their money. The differences in financial philosophies resulted in many disagreements between the two.
After the divorce, more reports of Christina’s luxurious tastes and expensive spending habits emerged. As more stories emerged, it seemed that a lot of the stress placed on the couple stemmed from Christina’s expensive taste.
After the divorce, more reports of Christina’s luxurious tastes and expensive spending habits emerged. As more stories emerged, it seemed that a lot of the stress placed on the couple stemmed from Christina’s expensive taste.
It turns out the issues related to money didn’t just extend to Christina and her shopping habits. In 2017, the couple and one of their companies were named in a lawsuit by a contractor that supposedly worked for them. According to the suit, a contractor named Jonathan Schmier was approached by the couple and their company.
Per the lawsuit, Schmier claimed that the couple approached him to scout potential locations in North Carolina through their company Next Level Property Investments. Schmier would go on to claim that he worked for the company in 2016 scouting for potential houses and filming locations.
Schmier claims that the couple offered to pay a commission of $5,000 for every house he sent the couple. In his lawsuit, the Virginia-based contractor was seeking the $25,000 in commissions he was promised plus an extra $12,800 in backdated wages.
The case was opened in 2017, right as the couple was also going through their divorce. The contractor also claimed that he tried sorting it out with the couple, and their business partner Pete de Best, but that they had blocked him from contacting them to avoid paying him. The channel which airs Flip or Flop went to bat for the couple with lawyers for the company seeking to have the lawsuit thrown out on the basis that the suit was riddled with grammatical and spelling errors.
After all the drama had ended, fans began to speculate about the true nature of the couple. How could two people seemingly have so much chemistry on camera, but court so much drama away from the camera? Fans began to speculate that the couple might not be as nice as they appeared to be on their show.
This seemed to be confirmed in an article that appeared in Insider magazine. A source that was reportedly close to the couple revealed that the pair would often fight, and accusations would fly freely back and forth. According to the source, the couple accused each other of a whole range of matters from infidelity, to spying, and secrecy. This directly contradicted the image that they frequently projected both on-screen and in their online presence where they appeared to be very loving towards each other.
Following the years of drama, and the subsequent divorce, Tarek and Christina’s neighbors were freely discussing what it was like living next to the “nightmarish couple”. According to neighbors, the couple would frequently fight day and night in a way that was audible to the surrounding properties. This certainly paints a different picture to the one Tarek and Christina portrayed both on television and online.
If the tabloid stories are to be believed, the couple had underlying issues long before the dramas surrounding the family in 2016 which reportedly led to their 2017 divorce. It seemed like there was a lot of tension bubbling away between the pair that was hidden away from their friendlier on-screen and online personalities.
After the divorce, it was also revealed that Christina may have been unfaithful to Tarek during the relationship. While many speculated that Tarek had cheated on Christina with the couple’s nanny, after the two were spotted at a concert together, he may not have been alone in his infidelity.
It is believed that Christina was cheating on Tarek with Gary Anderson, a contractor who had appeared on episodes of Flip or Flop. After Tarek and Christina split, Christina and Gary’s relationship was made official, leading to many fans suffering from whiplash at how quickly Christina moved on. The new relationship, seemingly so soon after the end of her marriage, certainly raised eyebrows.
It seems as though the relationship wasn’t new, that Tarek had suspected the relationship was going on during the marriage, and the relationship was connected to the incident where police were called to the family home. Apparently, the incident was sparked after Tarek found inappropriate messages that were sent to the contractor from his wife’s phone.
This reportedly led to Tarek’s anger about the situation, as he believed he had found proof of his wife’s infidelity. To make matters worse, Gary Anderson was in the neighborhood when the drama unfolded. It was reported that after the police and other emergency vehicles left, Anderson was on hand to console Christina.
According to various sources, the relationship was a high-pressure environment with various parties to blame. Some claim that Tarek was abusive towards Christina when the cameras weren’t rolling and he was frequently seen getting angry with her. While footage of one of his tirades exists, it is yet to reach public eyes.
The couple was also under significant pressure from the network to maintain their relationship. According to reports, high-level management at HGTV was worried about what would happen to their biggest franchise if the faces behind it split up. As a result, the management reportedly applied pressure on the couple to make sure none of their personal relationship drama ended up in the tabloids. Needless to say that the fear was seemingly for naught as fans continued to tune into the show, even after the couple went public with their divorce.
After the relationship broke down, Christina had obviously moved on to her public relationship with contractor Gary Anderson, but it didn’t last long. Within a year, Christina’s agent confirmed that the two were no longer together. Christina would briefly date car dealer Doug Spedding, before dating and marrying British television personality Ant Anstead in 2018. In September 2019, Christina gave birth to her third child, Hudson London Amstead. Unfortunately, a year after the birth of their son the couple announced that they were separating.
While Christina’s dating life has regularly been featured on tabloid pages, Tarek has maintained a much more reserved private life. Tabloid pages have occasionally sought to find dirt on the Flip or Flop co-host but to little or no avail. However, Tarek is in a relationship with Playboy model Heather Rae Young. The two reportedly met in 2019 and have subsequently moved in together.
Despite the fact that both Tarek and Christina have both moved on to new relationships, where does this leave their business partnership and the future of the Flip or Flop franchise? According to both parties, they are more than happy to continue working together. In 2019, HGTV announced that Flip or Flop had been signed for a ninth season to be released in 2020.
On September 10th, the channel released a press release with new details about the upcoming season. The statement clarified that the new season would premiere on October 15th, and it would be cutting the season back to the 15 episode format. The seventh and eighth seasons had seen an increase to 20 and 18 episodes respectively after seasons three to six had all featured 15 episodes.
In 2016, the couple went through a public falling out. The incident led to their separation which ultimately led to their divorce. Despite the bizarre circumstances surrounding the incidents and the couple's public divorce, the two have continued to host the television shows with the 8th season being released in 2019. A ninth season was set to be released in August 2020 but was delayed. This is the story of the couple's ups and downs over the years.