The untold truth of Flip or Flop

The majority of people know Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper as the golden couple of HGTV. But those obsessed with the network know that Flip or Flop's Tarek and Christina El Moussa are just as charming and seem a little more real. I mean, they get very sassy with each other and are constantly freaking out about their buys with a resounding, "WHAT?!" Okay, so they might not be a golden couple, but that might make us love them a little more.

The show first aired in April 2013 and has taken off to be one of HGTV's most popular shows. You can often catch day-long marathons on weekends. The premise is simple: Tarek and Christina buy houses — often foreclosed or up for auction — and flip them to sell. But something almost always goes wrong or they incur ridiculous expenses along the way. The drama is thrilling and can even be suspenseful — will they successfully flip by the end of the episode?!

Beyond the on-screen drama, there's plenty that happens behind the scenes. Here are some things even the biggest HGTV fans may not know:

They made crazy sacrifices

When the housing market crashed in 2008, the real estate couple had to significantly downsize their living space, skimp on meals, and sell their vehicles just to stay afloat. They moved out of their house with a $6,000 monthly mortgage payment to a $700/month apartment with a roommate.

Tarek said of Christina in an adorable Facebook post on Mother's Day, "The beginning of our relationship was very tough and she rode the wave with me, never complaining about our situation. She was always by my side. She was filled with love even though we were struggling financially. We did not know how to pay our bills. I will never forget when we had Taylor and she never bought maternity clothes because we couldn't afford them. I will never forget going to subway to split $5 footlongs from Subway because that is all we could afford. I love her more and more every day."

They actually haven't ever flopped (on TV)

Most people wonder about the success rate of Tarek and Christina's flips. When the show first aired, Tarek said he hadn't lost a flip yet, "although I have been close a few times when I was new to flipping which was very scary." And while the show makes it seem like they narrowly escape flopping a flip, I don't recall ever seeing them lose — they either profit or break even.

It's the highest rated show on cable

If you think a show on HGTV isn't capable of stunning ratings, think again. In August 2016, the show became the highest rated show on cable, nabbing a 0.75 rating with 2.864 million viewers. For a show that runs during primetime at 9:00 PM on Thursday nights, that's super impressive.

The show makes a lot of money

Back when they first started out, they were pinching pennies to make ends meet. But now? Tarek and Christina make $10,000 per episode. However, they don't use the show money to make purchases. They buy the houses with money they make on their previous investments. And now, the couple has an estimated net worth of $4 million.

The show saved Tarek's life

While watching a marathon of Flip or Flop, a registered nurse named Ryan Reade noticed a lump on Tarek's throat, prompting concern. She told Today, "I noticed that at certain angles, at certain times, it just caught my eye that Tarek had a lump on his throat, and I thought it was something that needed to be brought to his attention." It turns out that Tarek had been struggling with throat issues and actually had Stage-2 thyroid cancer. Tarek is now in remission and doing well!

They don't just flip one house at a time

Since this is Tarek and Christina's full-time gig, they are typically flipping many houses at once. And they don't all sell right away. When the show started in 2013, Tarek took to Talk Irvine to answer fans' questions. He revealed, "This year 2013 we have closed 14 year to date and currently own 17 either listed, under construction or in escrow. We are on track to do 50 this year."

Those auctions aren't staged

The auctions are real! Tarek said, "Real estate auctions where we buy are real. I must have cashiers checks to buy cash (I lost a 20k check once, that was a nightmare)!" Sometimes Tarek and Christina get outbid, which you don't see on the show. The episodes are only 30 minutes, so they focus on which houses they actually do get.

You can watch any episode anytime and it'll make sense

What?! Reality television isn't chronological? Yup, it's true. With shows like Flip or Flop, there isn't really a running plot throughout the season. Each episode is it's own contained drama, so there's no need to run them chronologically. Tarek said they started filming the show in January 2012, and the first episode didn't air until April 2013.

Tarek auditioned on a whim

It's not like Tarek and Christina had lifelong dreams of being hosts of a hit HGTV show. Tarek made an audition tape with the help of a friend and sent it in on a whim. Not long after, he had a contract for 13 episodes of Flip or Flop. The lesson here: If you're ever considering sending out an audition tape for something, just do it. You could be the next HGTV star!

They have a book coming out amidst their personal scandals

As if watching Flip or Flop wasn't enough, you'll also be able to read all about it — Tarek and Christina inked a book deal. They're currently working on Flip Your Life, a book that will "offer practical lessons from their own experiences." On their Facebook page, they even asked fans for input of what they would like to see!

Since the couple's personal drama was revealed to the public, we can't help but wonder if the book will reveal some juicy details. If you want to snag a copy, it's due to be released in April 2017.

They're not stopping anytime soon — even after announcing their split

With the continued success of the show, Tarek and Christina have also tacked on a spinoff, Flip or Flop: Selling Summer. This show focuses on backyard remodels, whether it's landscaping, new decks, or adding in a pool. If the couple keeps going the way they do, they might take over HGTV!

Even with the couple's announcement of a split in December 2016 after seven years of marriage and two children, they told PEOPLE in a statement, "We will continue to work through this process civilly and cooperatively, and plan to continue our professional life together." If the show can make it through that, it can make it through anything.