Tarek El Moussa talks HGTV success, divorce, family and more

Tarek El Moussa talks HGTV success, divorce, family and more

Tarek El Moussa.
Heidi Gutman-Guillaume

  • Tarek El Moussa’s book, Flip Your Life, was released on Tuesday.
  • The star opened up about his past in the book, talking about addiction and divorce.
  • He told Business Insider that the low points in his life helped him grow.

It’s 6:30 in the morning and Tarek El Moussa has been awake for hours.

As an HGTV star, house flipper, real estate investor, husband and father of three, El Moussa’s days are full, to say the least. He’s working so hard that El Moussa, 42, told Business Insider that he doesn’t have time to think about what he wants to accomplish unless he wakes up at 4 a.m.

“My favorite time of day is between 4 and 6:30 in the morning because that’s when I go to work in peace and quiet, with no distractions,” he said. “During that time I really think, create, plan, ideas come to me.”

But his breakfast doesn’t stop there. He also finds time to exercise, send Slack messages and emails, and spend time with his family before his workday officially begins at 8:30.

“It’s pretty incredible what you can do when everyone else is sleeping,” El Moussa said.

El Moussa seemingly hasn’t rested since he burst into the spotlight with Flip or Flop in 2013, and on Tuesday, he added another project to his resume: a book titled Flip Your Life.

El Moussa reflected on his 20 years in the real estate industry and his personal life, much of which has been in the public eye thanks to his success on HGTV. From divorce and addiction to a new marriage, El Moussa is finally telling his side of the story.

Tarek El Moussa discusses his past in his new book.
Lisette Gatliff

El Moussa revisits his past

“Flip Your Life” shows readers a very different El Moussa than the confident salesman he often appears to be on his HGTV series, which have included “Flip or Flop,” “The Flipping El Moussas” and “Flipping 101 With Tarek El Moussa”. .”

At the top of the book, El Moussa recounts his experience living in a partially bulldozed apartment when he was 20 years old. After he and his roommate refused to vacate their apartment when she changed management, their new landlord destroyed most of their unit while they were away, covering their belongings in drywall . Instead of leaving, El Moussa convinced his roommate to stay in the rundown apartment with him for a month.

It’s a far cry from the million-dollar homes he regularly hangs out with his wife, Heather Rae El Moussa, these days. The couple also live in a 3,000-square-foot home in Newport, California with their son Tristan, 2, and El Moussa’s children from his first marriage to Christina Hall, Taylor, 13, and Brayden, 8.

Tarek El Moussa on Flipping 101.
HGTV

But El Moussa’s account of the early years of his career includes none of the glamor that most associate him with today. After being bullied in his childhood and arrested when he was 17, he writes that he felt aimless and ended up in a real estate licensing class only because it was in front of the ATM where he realized he had his last few hundred dollars.

Although El Moussa found success in real estate and then TV with Flip or Flop, the hits just kept coming. He got cancer not once but twice, became accidentally addicted to anabolic steroids after seeing a “bioidentical hormone doctor” and went through a divorce in the public eye.

But El Moussa said the hardships he faced only made him stronger.

“I’m a guy who’s been through everything,” he told BI. “The good, the bad, and everything in between. So, I feel like I’ve learned a lot of life lessons along the way and through all the turmoil in my life, I’ve always had the ability to overcome any negative situation.”

“Flip or Flop” drama.

After “Flip or Flop” premiered in 2013, the show grew in popularity on HGTV, garnering over 90 million viewers, according to the network. El Moussa and Hall starred in the series together until 2022, when it ended abruptly amid reports that filming had become “too intimate” for the exes, who split in 2016. Their divorce was finalized in 2018, nine years after they tied the knot, with cameras filming the couple as they transitioned from married couple to co-workers and co-parents.

“It was the most difficult period of my life,” El Moussa told BI about the divorce. Not only because his marriage was ending, but because it was appearing in the media.

“I don’t know what it was about me and Christina, but we’ve gotten so much press for years and it just wouldn’t slow down,” he said. “It wouldn’t go away.”

Tarek El Moussa has renovated hundreds of homes from the ground up in 2010.
Anne Cusack/Getty Images

A widely speculated 2016 incident where the police were called to their home after El Moussa fled their home with a gun also added fuel to the fire.

El Moussa told his side of the story on “Flip Your Life,” saying he left the house to walk “after a particularly heated confrontation with Christina,” taking a handgun with him in case he ran into wildlife. He added that he had obtained a concealed carry permit a few weeks before the incident.

Hall called 911 when he saw El Moussa jump over the fence with a gun in tow, prompting officials to find him by helicopter and escort him back to his home in handcuffs to follow “protocol,” El Moussa said in the book. his. He added that the incident was the final straw for his marriage.

“And that was the last time we were together as a family: with Christina walking down the street, crying, and me sitting in my handcuffs, wondering, ‘What in the world is going on?’ he wrote.

El Moussa said he quit testosterone the day after the incident and he ended up in a halfway house soon after with the help of a doctor. After two months, he started living independently again, rebuilding his life.

El Moussa eventually dated former Selling Sunset star Heather Rae El Moussa (née Young) in 2019 and she brought him back “to life.” At the time they got hitched, he was worried about what the media thought — which was lucky, since El Moussa told BI that TMZ “outed” them on their second date.

The couple decided to quickly move on with the relationship, telling each other, “Let’s do this,” according to El Moussa.

“We got together a few days after our first date, moved in together and never looked back,” he told BI.

Returning from the cliff bottom

In 2024, El Moussa’s life is busier and happier than ever.

He and his staff at Tarek Buys Houses are typically flipping 50 to 75 houses at a time, he told BI. El Moussa also invests in commercial real estate through his company, TEM Capital, and he is raising funds for an apartment-hotel combination in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His team is already building a similar complex in LA.

His screen presence is also stronger than ever. A new season of The Flipping El Moussas will air this spring, and more episodes of Flipping 101 will also air on HGTV later this year. The El Moussas also own a production company, Homemade Productions, which will help them produce and create new series.

Tarek El Moussa’s family is his life.
Peter Tran

And although he is always working, his home life prompts El Moussa to continue creating.

“I’m very excited for my family,” El Moussa said.

“I’m just obsessed with being a dad and it’s really my favorite part of my life,” he told BI. I didn’t even realize how obsessed I was with my kids until I hit rock bottom, until I was alone, until I started rebuilding my life.”

“I wasn’t present. I wasn’t working,” he said of his pre-divorce parenting. “I wasn’t spending the time I was devoting to broken houses. I should have been devoting that time to being a father.”

His commitment to putting his children first is part of what makes El Moussa get up so early every day.

“From 3:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. I’m running non-stop,” he said.

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