Tarek El Moussa of HGTV’s hit show Flip or Flop says cancer and fame were responsible for his divorce from co-star Christina El Moussa. El Moussa appeared on The Doctors on Monday, where he said lack of communication was one of the reasons for splitting from his wife of seven years, Us Weekly reports.
“I think as time went on, you get busier and busier — and, you know, it was overnight. Businesses, TV, all these things happened at once, and then the cancer, then the cancer, then the back surgery. It just kind of started pushing us apart from each other.”
The two reality TV stars split in 2016 after a strange incident in which Tarek had fled their California home with guns in his backpack. The HGTV stars then announced their decision to divorce in December. Tarek later clarified that the incident was a “misunderstanding” and that he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon in the state of California.
However, health problems were far more serious for the couple than guns. Tarek El Moussa says he was diagnosed with testicular cancer just a month after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2013. “It’s been three years of hell. I was devastated when I found out. So was Christina.”
Strangely enough, it was a Flip or Flop viewer who led to Tarek’s cancer diagnosis, E! reports. A Texas nurse emailed Tarek after noticing a lump on his neck on the show to say he should get checked for thyroid cancer. Tarek cites the warning as saving his life. He says that after enduring 60-pound weight swings and emotional and physical ups and downs, he is now officially cancer-free.
Though Tarek spoke openly about his battle with thyroid cancer, he kept the testicular cancer diagnosis private until now. As he told People magazine, “Testicular cancer is more of a private thing. “
He was inspired by his stepfather, who is also battling the same disease, to share his diagnosis, and cites that his public battle with thyroid cancer inspired many people to seek their own diagnoses. “I thought this was the time to come forward because it could save some lives.”
Both reality stars are now single, but their love lives post-divorce have caused plenty of tabloid fodder. Christina began dating Gary Anderson, a contractor to the family. Tarek briefly dated their children’s nanny, Alyssa Logan.
Christina revealed in February that she and Anderson had split after a few months of dating, citing public pressure. Tarek was also bothered by Christina’s relationship with their past contractor, according to Us Weekly.
Tarek, 35, and Christina El Moussa, 33, still share custody of their two children. The two have a daughter Taylor, 6, and a son Brayden, who is 18 months old. Though they will also continue to film Flip or Flop together, Tarek said he doesn’t wish to be on TV in the next 10 years. He said he instead wishes to spend as much time as possible with his children and dreams of coaching their sports teams.
Tarek and Christina El Moussa say co-parenting is important to them, and both have said they wish to focus on their kids over pursuing other relationships. Tarek also adds that the two were extremely young when they got together and that he believes they both will have good things to come. “We started as kids. She was 22 and I was 24. I see the future is bright for both of us.”
For now, Tarek and Christina will continue to film Flip or Flop for HGTV.
[Featured image by Jerod Harris/Getty Images]