To say that having your own series on HGTV — like Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa do — is life-changing would be a massive understatement. After all, think of all the fame and fortune that’s come to Chip and Joanna Gaines of "Fixer Upper," or Jonathan and Drew Scott from "Property Brothers." However, while having a show on HGTV can truly make your career, it can also thrust you so far into the spotlight you get a little lost. Such was seemingly the case with Haack, who previously went by the name Christina Anstead, and El Moussa, the once happily-married couple who landed a show on HGTV, only to have their personal lives fall apart years later.
Haack and El Moussa started on their HGTV series "Flip or Flop" while still happily married, but it didn’t take long for their marriage to falter and end in divorce. But what exactly caused the rift? Well, we finally know why Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa got divorced, and it’s a lot more complicated than you might have thought.
It all started with a health scare for Tarek El Moussa
Right when Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa were at the height of their HGTV fame in 2013, things took a turn for the worse. A viewer who was watching "Flip or Flop" happened to be a nurse and discovered a lump on El Moussa’s neck. Unfortunately, El Moussa was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2013 (via People). And while cancer is never easy for anyone, with how busy El Moussa and Haack were with their show, it only put more stress on them as a couple.
While fans saw El Moussa’s thyroid cancer struggle play out on "Flip or Flop," they didn’t see what he kept secret until 2017, when he revealed he’d been diagnosed with testicular cancer shortly thereafter. Obviously, this only made things more stressful for El Moussa and Haack. "I wasn’t healthy for years," El Moussa told Country Living. "I had my cancer, and I was filming. Then my second cancer and I was filming. And then I hurt my back and I was filming, and then I had surgery and I was filming." Cancer didn’t ruin their marriage, but it couldn’t have been easy to deal with as a couple.
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa tried marriage counseling
For Tarek El Moussa and Christina Haack, their busy schedule and all of El Moussa’s health concerns certainly brought them plenty of stress. At first, they tried to work through all their problems by attending therapy together.
For any couple, however, finding time to be together can be hard, especially when you add in kids, health issues, and a high-pressure job. So it was for Haack and El Moussa, which is partly what led to their divorce.
In an interview with People, El Moussa explained that he and Haack just didn’t make time for each other. "We were so busy, we never slowed down to be present with each other and talk about things that were bothering us," he revealed. So, they went to therapy. And while it’s unclear what exactly Haack and El Moussa discussed in therapy, it’s obvious that the two needed to talk about their marriage. However, after hashing things out there, the pair realized they needed to separate.
Tarek El Moussa had some hormonal imbalances
As if cancer and cancer treatments weren’t enough of a stressor on Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa‘s marriage, there was even more going on with El Moussa’s health at the time. As he explained on the "Dr. Drew Podcast," he suffered from some hormonal imbalances, which made his relationship with his then-wife even more complicated.
Specifically, El Moussa explained that his hormones were off, though it wasn’t from the cancer. "I thought it was from my testicular cancer so I went to this Botox doctor and hormone clinic that my ex said to go check out. Next thing I know I’m…taking steroids, it was testosterone," he said, via People. "I was on way too much testosterone, on top of that taking human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) injections every day because I was told to." That sounds like a lot.
Obviously dealing with hormonal issues can be difficult, as they can impact so much else in your life. And for El Moussa and Haack, it likely didn’t help the state of their marriage.
Christina Haack suffered a tragic miscarriage
While Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa were busy filming episode after episode of "Flip or Flop," and El Moussa was dealing with cancer treatments, they also had something else to consider: more children. While the couple already had a daughter, Taylor, they had to decide if they wanted more kids, and quickly.
Specifically, because of El Moussa’s condition, they had to make some quick decisions. "They said that if you go through radiation, which Tarek had too, then you should not get pregnant from that sperm from six months to a year. So, right away, we did sperm banking and [tried] IVF," Haack told People.
Unfortunately, the couple had two failed IVF attempts, with one that ended in a tragic miscarriage at eight weeks. Then, when Haack got pregnant again, she had to go on strict bed rest. Obviously, all the stress of a miscarriage and IVF can be a lot on any couple, but with El Moussa’s other health issues looming overhead, it only made things even tenser between the two.
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa argued a lot
Every marriage has its ups and downs, but for Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa, the downs seemingly never stopped. Between health concerns, work stress, and raising their children, the couple really never had time to just be together, and apparently, when they were together, they were mostly fighting.
In an interview with Good Housekeeping shortly after their divorce, Haack revealed that she and El Moussa were basically constantly arguing. "We were bickering about things [on-set], and we went home together," she shared. So obviously, some of the stress from work would probably come home with them, which isn’t good for anyone. However, after they separated, Haack and El Moussa realized that they were better coworkers than spouses. "We met at work, and we actually probably get along best at work," she continued.
Arguing, and even fighting, is totally normal in a marriage, but for Haack and El Moussa it was too normal, and the pair would have rather worked together than lived together, it seems.
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa were almost too close
To know anything about Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa’s marriage is to know that they weren’t always as fortunate as they appeared to be on "Flip or Flop." Yes, they were once pretty broke, so when Haack and El Moussa did have the opportunity to purchase fine things together, they did. However, that didn’t stop everything else — including working together, living together, and parenting together — from having an impact their marriage. As it turns out, their sharing absolutely everything might not have been for the best.
In an interview with People, Haack explained that she and El Moussa might have been a little too close before they separated. "Tarek and I were so tied together on everything: real estate, the show, our children, our house," she revealed. "It was so stressful, and everyone was worried that it was going to explode." And whether or not you thought it "exploded," it’s clear that El Moussa and Haack shared quite a lot together, and that couldn’t have been easy while they were working things out.
Christina Haack didn’t like how the public compared her to Tarek El Moussa
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa obviously know what it’s like to live their life in the public eye, but all of the opinions viewers of "Flip or Flop" had can obviously get to them. And they definitely did, especially for Haack, who got seriously annoyed at how the public compared her to El Moussa.
Shortly after Haack and El Moussa’s divorce was made public, an anonymous source revealed to People that the pair didn’t belong together in a somewhat cruel manner. "In a lot of ways they just seemed wildly incompatible," the insider said. "She has champagne tastes, and he’s a beer-from-a-can kind of guy."
And with that comparison, Haack got frustrated. "We definitely have the same taste as far as wanting nice things because we work hard, so if you’re going to say it, at least say ‘both of them.’ Don’t just label me," she declared in an interview with Good Housekeeping. Haack was understandably annoyed that the public perceived her as more materialistic than El Moussa, and that wasn’t fair to her.
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa had financial issues
Though Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa certainly made a lot of money flipping houses on television for HGTV’s "Flip or Flop," that didn’t mean everything was all peachy with their budget. Because despite all the finer things the two owned, they actually had some problems managing their money, it seems.
During an appearance on "The Dr. Drew Podcast," El Moussa explained that part of the reason behind his divorce from Haack was that they had some struggles people didn’t know about, including struggles with money. "There’s so much going on with TV, and the notoriety, and the finances, and so many different things happening at one time, and it slowly pulled us apart," El Moussa said on the podcast, according to House Beautiful.
While Haack and El Moussa truly appeared to have it all, they struggled with money more than anyone thought, and as any couple knows, fights involving money can sometimes be the worst fights of all.
Christina Haack’s parents wanted her to stay with Tarek El Moussa
When you get married, you aren’t just marrying one person, you’re also marrying their entire family, for better or for worse. And as it turns out, Christina Haack’s parents might have played some small role in her divorce from Tarek El Moussa. Well, in a way that is.
As Haack explained in an interview with Good Housekeeping, it was really hard for her to come clean to her parents about her problems with El Moussa, in part because her parents wanted them to stay together. "Tarek was talking to them more than I was at first, and that made it a little difficult because they were just hearing his side," she explained. "They were hoping we would be able to reconcile, especially for the kids, and also because Tarek and I had built such a life together."
However, Haack added that she had to come to terms with the fact that her parents, and anyone else, didn’t have a say in her relationship with El Moussa. Still, the pressure from her parents couldn’t have made things easy.
Things reportedly never got violent between Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa
Obviously, things between Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa got very stressful towards the end of their marriage. With all that the pair had been through, things were bound to explode at some point, though that explosion wasn’t quite as dramatic as the public previously assumed. Specifically, there was an alleged incident in 2017 during which the police were called to the couple’s home; El Moussa was reportedly found with a gun and thought to be suicidal, according to The Orange County Register.
However, El Moussa soon cleared the air during an appearance on "Today," when he explained that the gun had nothing to do with anything violent. "There’s mountain lions and bobcats and rattlesnakes and, like, big wildlife back there," El Moussa stated. "I went out for a hike to scout some trails. It wasn’t even a big deal. I didn’t understand. It got really blown out of proportion." Though Haack and El Moussa had more than their fair share of issues, violence wasn’t one of them.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa kept their split private for a while
For a couple who spent so long living their life on television and social media, Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa certainly found a way to keep their separation private. Yes, even some of the people closest to them were surprised to learn that the two were no longer together, though that might have been for the best.
In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Haack explained that she’d preferred to keep her issues on the down low for a long while. "I wasn’t very vocal with them about some of the issues that Tarek and I were having, so all of the sudden it’s like bam – I’ve moved out, I’m living at my nanny’s house," she revealed. "It came as a shock to 99.9 percent of people, including my parents."
For whatever reason, Haack and El Moussa chose to keep their split a secret at first, and they did what they had to do.
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa were drifting long before the split
Though a lot can be said of all the issues Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa had to face towards the end of their marriage, there were a few other things that caused their divorce. As it turns out, they were drifting apart from each other long before their split, and without strong communication, any relationship is kind of doomed.
In an interview with People, Haack said that things between her and El Moussa had just gotten to a point where they were barely speaking. "I was overwhelmed," she explained. "The tension between me and Tarek was high. We weren’t able to properly communicate anymore. It got to the point where we weren’t even driving to set together."
Obviously it can’t be easy to work on a marriage when you barely talk to each other, and that’s seemingly a problem that Haack and El Moussa faced during their relationship.
All the publicity made things worse for Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa made it clear that they struggled as their marriage dissolved. But to top all that stress off, the pair also had to deal with the public knowing the inner workings of their relationship, and with a ton of rumors that weren’t even remotely true. "Let’s just be honest, it was awful," El Moussa said on "The Dr. Drew Podcast" (via Country Living). "I mean there was more PR about our divorce than any divorce I think I’ve ever seen. I mean it was wild, on every single magazine, on every news outlet, it was just beyond me."
El Moussa wasn’t alone in that sentiment. "When our marriage fell apart it was more public than we could have imagined," Haack explained. A ton of publicity can’t be great on a marriage, and it likely made things worse for Haack and El Moussa.
Tarek El Moussa was reportedly the one who filed for divorce from Christina Haack
After everything that culminated between Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa, it’s not exactly shocking that the two ended up divorced. For as well as they might work together in a professional setting, it’s clear that they had to do what was best for them, and that meant divorcing. And in the end, it was El Moussa who filed for divorce.
According to People, El Moussa’s lawyer revealed that he was the one to file; People also reported that El Moussa was seeking spousal support from Haack. Additionally, once the split was announced, Haack and El Moussa released a joint statement explaining that their children were their priority. "During the process, we are committed to our kids and being the best parents we can be," the statement read. "We will continue to work through this process civilly and cooperatively, and plan to continue our professional life together."
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa’s kids are happier with them divorced
Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa did get divorced in a highly publicized manner, but they handled it all with grace. And more so, so did their daughter.
Haack and El Moussa’s oldest child, daughter Taylor, was obviously impacted by her parents’ divorce. But as it turns out, she’s handled it better than anyone could imagine. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Haack explained how she and El Moussa had been taking Taylor to see a therapist about the divorce and it was Taylor herself who said it was no longer necessary. "One day, as I was driving her to an appointment, she said, ‘I don’t need to go to therapy anymore. I think you and Daddy are happier apart, and I don’t really need to talk about it anymore,’" Haack shared. "She’s very open and honest with her feelings, but still I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a big comment for a 6 year old.’" It was big, but also telling. If their daughter likes them better apart, then they truly must be happier that way.
Was cheating a factor in Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa’s divorce?
Because Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa lived a very public life together, it’s only natural that people would assume things about their marriage and, subsequently, their divorce. Additionally, the fact that Haack remarried so soon after their divorce was finalized caused many to wonder if cheating was a factor in their breakup.
But as it turns out, it wasn’t at all. In fact, as Distractify reported, the pair released a statement to the contrary. "Neither of us was involved in a romantic relationship with any third party prior to our separation or believes the other was," the statement read. So in case you were wondering, neither Haack nor El Moussa cheated on the other while they were married and it isn’t why they got divorced. Really, the reasons for their divorce were probably a lot more mundane than that, just like with many couples who decide to divorce.
Christina Haack may have just been led down a different path
Christina Haack was able to find love again after her divorce from Tarek El Moussa. However, she and her second husband ultimately divorced after less than two years of marriage. After her divorce from Ant Anstead was announced, Haack took to social media to explain where her head was at the time. "I live in a state of anxiousness and I’m so used to it that when it’s not there I tend to feel a void and hop into something that causes the feeling I’m used to," she explained on Instagram, adding that it has its ups and downs. "Sometimes anxiety and pursuit of new dreams leads me down amazing paths, other times it leaves me feeling lost and in a state of fight or flight / or crying in my closet," she continued.
Clearly, Haack felt that she was being led down a different path when she divorced her second husband, and it’s possible that she felt the same way after splitting from El Moussa, making any potential unsettled feelings or yearnings to do something new with her life possible factors in her first divorce.