“Flip or Flop” is a popular reality show which aired on HGTV, hosted by former spouses Tarek El Moussa and Christina Haack. The series debuted in 2013, starting the “Flip or Flop” franchise, which includes shows such as “Christina on the Coast”, “Flipping 101” and “Flip or Flop Vegas”. The show follows the two hosts as they flip houses in Southern California, by purchasing old homes in desperate need of renovation, which they then resell after renovating them, and conclude whether the flip was a ‘profit’, ‘break even’ or a ‘money loss’. Some houses are relatively easy to fix, while others require a lot of work, so house flipping is a somewhat risky business which doesn’t always pay off, which the show perfectly highlights.
History of the show
Christina and Tarek entered the house flipping business back in 2008. Before that, they were both working as real estate agents in Orange County, California, but after the 2008 real estate crash they found themselves struggling, so decided to enter a new area of work.
It was a big risk for the couple, who had to sell their cars and trade their own house for apartment rent, in order to make it work, while expecting the birth of their first child. They bought their first investment house with their business partner Pete De Best, flipping it for a profit of $34,000. Luckily for them, the risk paid off, their business kept going, and Christina and Tarek have since opened their own design and construction company, and started routinely fixing houses all over Southern California. Furthermore, they were so successful that they’ve managed to expand into Arizona and Nevada.
In 2011, Tarek made an audition tape with the help of his friend, which showcased the process of house flipping from start to finish. He sent the audition directly to HGTV, and in the following year, Tarek and his then-wife Christina were asked to film their own show, which we now know as “Flip or Flop”.
‘They liked the fact that we were poor and were trying to make something out of ourselves’, Christina said in an interview. They were initially paid $10,000 per episode, but the money they used to buy houses for the show was their own, she further revealed.
On the show, Tarek mainly took the role of hunting down old houses and showcasing finished work to potential buyers, while Christina focused on interior design and planning the renovation process. While Tarek has done some demolition on the show, the physical work is primarily handled by their contractor, Israel Batters, and his skilled team of construction workers.
In the beginning, Tarek would take a drive in the middle of the night, to scout the houses which were announced to be up to auction the following day. Given the real estate crisis at the time, a lot of these houses belonged to people who were being evicted.
One house they bought in Anaheim Hills was in a particularly bad condition; the mother and son who lived there poured concrete in the toilets, destroyed the wood floors and smashed all the windows shortly before they were evicted from the property. As if that wasn’t enough, homeless people were found sleeping in the property, surrounded by used needles on the floors and knives stuck to the walls. The damage was estimated at around $30,000, but it was completely covered by insurance.
Filming the first season proved to be a challenge for Tarek and Christina, who had to co-ordinate both filming and construction schedules, while taking care of their two-year-old daughter. Safety was also a big concern on set, as the show’s crew had to be around heavy construction work all the time.
Tarek El Moussa cancer diagnosis
By the time second season started, things were going more smoothly, and the show has since become one of HGTV’s staples.
However, it turned out that the couple had other unsuspected problems. In 2013, Megan Reade, a registered nurse and a fan of the show had noticed that Tarek had a lump on his neck. She contacted the network to inform them that he had to have it screened by a doctor, because it could be a sign of tumor; after a medical check-up, Tarek was diagnosed with testicular and thyroid cancer. He was subsequently subjected to radiation treatment, which helped him fight off the potentially deadly tumor. Tarek and Christine thanked Megan in a video which was released on the official HGTV website. In 2015, they became parents for the second time, welcoming their son Brayden James on 20 August.
Tarek and Christina’s divorce
Unfortunately, in December the following year, they publicly announced their separation, after seven years of marriage. ‘Like many couples, we have had challenges in our marriage. We had an unfortunate misunderstanding about six months ago, and the police were called to our house in an abundance of caution.
There was no violence and no charges were files’, Tarek and Christina said in a joint public statement.
As the online tabloid “TMZ” reported, the incident happened in May 2016; Tarek ran away from home carrying a gun, only dropping the weapon after police officers commanded him to do so. Police records reveal that they responded to a call of a ‘possibly suicidal man with a gun’. Tarek apparently left his house through a back door, jumped over a fence and made his way towards a hiking trail. Christina was visibly upset, according to witnesses, and was actually the one who called 911. After the police were warned about Tarek taking a gun with himself on a hiking trail, deputies called in helicopter assistance, who were able to locate him on the mountainside and escort him back home. Back then, it was speculated that inappropriate texting was the cause of the incident, but the couple denied the claims, saying ‘There was never any infidelity in the marriage’., “People” magazine reported that the rift between the two was caused by their clashing personalities.
Apparently, as they rose to fame, Tarek remained a ‘beer-from-a-can kind of guy’, while Christina became more and more ambitious, and wanted to live a luxurious life.
After going through couple’s therapy Christina and Tarek were able to make amends, but only temporarily. Tarek officially filed for a divorce in January 2017, finalized in 2018, which marked the end of an era for the “Flip or Flop” hosts and fans alike.
Despite their separation, Tarek and Christina continued hosting the show together, along with co-parenting their two children. Prior to the season eight premiere, Christina explained that she and her ex-husband remained professional during filming. ‘Tarek and I don’t discuss each other’s personal lives. It is what it is’, she said in an interview she gave for “Good Morning America”.
After her split from Tarek, Christina started dating the “Wheeler Dealers” host, Ant Anstead, and the two tied the knot in a private ceremony on 22 December 2018 at their home in California, before welcoming their son, Hudson a year later.
Unfortunately, Christina and Ant’s marriage didn’t last much longer, as they announced that they would be going their separate ways in September 2020, finalizing their divorce in June the following year. In July 2021, Christina announced that she has moved on with her new boyfriend, former realtor Joshua Hall. In September the same year, the couple revealed that they became engaged during a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico.
On the other hand, it seems like Tarek has had lots of luck when it comes to his post-divorce love life. As of October 2021, he has been married to the “Selling Sunset” star Heather Rae El Moussa (formerly Young). The two reportedly started dating in summer 2019, when they were first spotted spending time together. In August the same year, Tarek confirmed their relationship status on Instagram, saying ‘It’s official!!!! After more than 3 years on my own, I’m so PROUD to say that this beautiful, sweet and talented young lady is my girlfriend!’ Since then, the couple have been very vocal about their infatuation with each other, frequently sharing couple photos on their social media.
They moved in together in West Hollywood in January 2020, became engaged in July the same year, celebrating their engagement with a family trip to Cabo, Mexico.
“Flip or Flop” cancellation
Despite all the ups and downs Tarek and Christina went through as a couple and co-workers, “Flip or Flop” survived for another six seasons, after they officially separated. So, a lot of the show’s fans are wondering why it is ending now.
After eight years, and over 150 episodes, Tarek and Christina took to Instagram to announce that the 10th season of “Flip or Flop” would be its last. The final episode aired on 17 March 2022, concluding the successful HGTV run. Although they haven’t yet confirmed the real reason behind the cancellation of their series, it’s speculated that the former hosts are quitting because their original contract has ended, and they seem to have no desire to extend it. ‘The writing has been on the wall for a while’, an anonymous source told “People” magazine ‘It wasn’t sudden’.
A blow-up that took place on set in summer 2021, also contributed to the final decision to end the show for good. As per a “TMZ” report, Tarek screamed at his ex-wife, comparing her to his wife Haether and calling her a ‘washed-up loser’.
Christina and Tarek’s new projects
The former “Flip or Flop” stars won’t be taking any time off though, as both Christina and Tarek host their own shows on HGTV network, “Christina on the Coast” and “Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa”, respectively.
“Flipping 101” has been airing on HGTV since August 2021, and is currently in its second season. The show follows Tarek as he helps real estate novices learn all the secrets of a successful house flip. The series has shown some quite challenging projects, including one tackling a trashed house whose previous residents were animal hoarders. In an interview he gave for the magazine “USA Today”, Tarek revealed that he long awaited the opportunity to pass on his expertise to others. ‘I’m really excited about the project because it takes everything I love — investing in real estate and TV — and it’s all in one format where I get a chance to really help people out who are new to flipping houses’, he said.
He further revealed that one thing that surprised him the most was the fact that a lot of new flippers ignored his advice, saying ‘I’ll tell them what to do, and literally half the time they don’t listen to me’. Initially El Moussa and the production team were worried that the show might not provide enough tension to hold viewers’ attention, but as the series progressed, that proved not to be the case, and “Flipping 101” now has generally more positive reviews compared to the latest seasons of “Flip or Flop”.
“Christina on the Coast”, hosted by Christina Haack started back in 2019, and centers on renovating properties in Southern California. In her solo show, Christina explores the housing market in Newport Beach, and does house makeovers. What sets this show apart from “Flip or Flop” is that each new house design is uniquely catered to one customer who bought the property.
The first season of the series quickly became a smash hit, propelling HGTV to second place among all cable networks in that time slot among women aged 25-54, with the show raking in as many as 12 million viewers. During the course of the show, we also saw a glimpse into Christina’s personal life, and the finale of season one showed footage from her wedding to Ant Anstead.