The untold truth of HGTV's Christina on the Coast

HGTV viewers first got to know Christina on the Coast's Christina Anstead on her hit series Flip or Flop, on which she starred with then-husband Tarek El Moussa. As the show's popularity grew, the couple quickly found themselves among the network's most popular stars — until their personal life imploded when they split up. However, the show must go on. While the two are no long married, they continued their professional partnership on Flip or Flop as if nothing had ever happened — or at least that was how it was meant to appear to viewers.

But by 2019, HGTV had decided it was time for Christina Anstead to go solo, launching her own series Christina on the Coast. This time, she wouldn't be flipping houses, but taking on challenging design projects for clients. Meanwhile, cameras would also document her personal life as she embarked on a new marriage with her second husband, British TV host Ant Anstead.

So, what's there to know about the show? Discover the untold truth of HGTV's Christina on the Coast

The reason Christina Anstead decided to go solo with HGTV's Christina on the Coast

The first season of HGTV's Christina on the Coast debuted in spring 2019, following Christina Anstead's exploits as she remodeled luxury homes in Southern California while shining the spotlight on her personal life and her search for a new home.

"I had a lot going on last year, and I thought it would be interesting to show a little bit more of my real life," she told the New York Post. "And people love seeing real estate and different houses for sale and it's fun for viewers to get a glimpse into the Newport Beach market, which is quite pricey. It's fun to see the house-hunting process, and what gets you a house on the water versus inland."

Shifting the focus to design, she added, was an organic evolution. "I know what I always enjoyed about Flip or Flop was the design part, so it just naturally made sense to get more involved in doing makeovers," Anstead explained. Hopefully Christina on the Coast will be able to avoid dealing with all the false things people often believe about Flip or Flop.

Why HGTV's Christina on the Coast is Christina Anstead's "dream come true"

During a May 2019 chat with People, Christina Anstead couldn't contain her excitement over the launch of HGTV's Christina on the Coast. "I help write every script," she said. "I approve everything, it's just been an incredible experience." As she anticipated the arrival of her new show and her new baby, she told the magazine, "It's a dream come true."

That dream, she explained during an HGTV session at the Television Critics Association press tour just a few months earlier (via Fox News), was the happy outcome at the end of a very uncertain period following her divorce from Tarek El Moussa. "As you guys know, it's been a challenging couple of years for me," she admitted. "I'm currently filming Season 8 of Flip or Flop, which is amazing that it's been on for eight seasons, but when the divorce was going on and everything was happening, I didn't know where my career was going to be."

When the opportunity was presented to branch out with her own show, she recalled just being "really excited" to do something on her own. Plus, it gives viewers the chance to learn some of the things most people don't know about Christina Anstead.

The first season of HGTV's Christina on the Coast was a ratings smash

If there was any doubt that fans of Flip or Flop wanted to see Christina Anstead front and center in her own show, HGTV was reassured by the monster ratings that Christina on the Coast pulled in. The first season of the series, trumpeted HGTV in a press release, propelled the network to the no. 2 position among all cable networks in that time slot among women 25 to 54. In addition, HGTV's Christina on the Coast brought in more than 12 million total viewers throughout its first season.

The season finale, "which featured never-before-seen footage from Christina's wedding to Ant Anstead," proved to be the season's highest-rated episode, delivering a rating that was 14 percent higher than the season average.

The series also proved to be a hit on HGTV's digital platform, HGTV GO. "The premiere episode was made available on HGTV GO on May 16 and was the most-streamed episode on the platform," the release noted. "The overall series ranked among the top five most-streamed series on HGTV GO."

Christina Anstead couldn't contain her excitement over the renewal of HGTV's Christina on the Coast

Given the success of HGTV's Christina on the Coast, it didn't take long for the network to announce it was ordering a second season. "HGTV knew Christina on the Coast would be a winner and the series absolutely delivered," said HGTV president Jane Latman in the announcement. "More than 12 million viewers tuned in to watch the freshman season because they loved having a new opportunity to watch Christina evolve personally and professionally." Latman noted that Christina Anstead has only grown more popular with viewers with the show and that the second season of Christina on the Coast would focus on Anstead's "design business" and how she "navigates relationships with her friends and family, including her husband and new baby." Latman noted, "Everyone is rooting for her and her family as they build a whole new life."

Following HGTV's announcement, Anstead shared her elation in a joyful Instagram post, writing, "So BEYOND excited to announce that Christina on the Coast has been picked up for a second season!!! 13 brand new episodes coming in 2020!! Thank you @hgtv for the opportunity — and to all of you for your support — so grateful!!"

Christina Anstead's husband is "pretty involved" in HGTV's Christina on the Coast

Christina Anstead's husband, Ant Anstead, has been a big part of HGTV's Christina on the Coast, and she explained his involvement in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment

"I think he's on every episode. I mean, maybe he's not on one of them, but, yeah, he's pretty involved," Christina explained. "He's not involved in the design process or any of that stuff, besides just helping to fix up our own house. But, yeah, he does a car show [Wheeler Dealers] on MotorTrend network, so he's used to being in a garage with mechanics. Now, he's with me house hunting by the beach, talking about personal stuff." She noted that her husband is "really real and just nice and laid-back" and that he had a good time filming the show.

As she explained, showing viewers her personal life as a divorced mother of two who was expecting a baby with her new husband came naturally. "It was easy. It was fun," Anstead said. "I mean, it's all good things that were going on, so it was fun getting to do it on camera."

What it's like to have a home reno filmed for HGTV's Christina on the Coast

The first episode of HGTV's Christina on the Coast featured Christina Anstead renovating the home of client Cassie Zebisch. Zebisch, however, is more than just a client — she's also Anstead's publicist and best friend since junior high. 

That was a big reason why Zebisch lived with the Ansteads during her renovation. "Christina and I have such good chemistry in real life, and we just did our thing, like we do every day together," Zebisch told House Beautiful. "At this point, [filming with HGTV] is just part of my life, so the cameras are normal."

The renovation did not come without surprises, such as the discovery of termites in the floors, and Zebisch insisted that she wasn't told about any of it until the cameras were rolling in order to capture her authentic reaction. "[The producers] love to share things as they happen — those reactions are real," she said. "I'm not an actress. During any renovation, there are surprises, and that's when it gets stressful. When it's your money, you're like, 'Oh my god, how much is that going to cost?' It goes quickly, and that's what blew my mind."

Even Christina Anstead's best friend had to pay for renovations on HGTV's Christina on the Coast

While viewers might assume that the people receiving home renovations that are featured on HGTV's Christina on the Coast receive all the work for free, that's not the case — even if you happen to be Christina Anstead's best friend. 

"I wish it was free," Cassie Zebisch told House Beautiful. "We're spending real money here, but I would do it 10 times over, it was such a great experience. Over the years, I've heard Christina say that people regret not spending, so I tried to make smart choices."

Zebisch's long relationship with her BFF may not have resulted in a free reno, but it did provide her with an added level of trust. This was evident when Anstead was able to convince Zebisch to change her plans for a monochrome all-white kitchen and embrace a bolder option. "This is my first time doing something like this, and a big part of it, for me, was trusting the process," Zebisch explained. "Christina and I have very similar tastes, and I knew she wouldn't do something she wouldn't want in her own home in mine."

How contractor Izzy Battres became the breakout star of HGTV's Christina on the Coast

Christina Anstead wasn't the only familiar face from Flip or Flop to appear on HGTV's Christina on the Coast. Overseeing the new show's renovations was contractor Izzy Battres, who has helmed the renovations on Flip or Flop since that show's first season. 

In an interview with Orange Coast magazine, Battres revealed the turning point in his life was "meeting Tarek and Christina." He shared, "Even before [Flip or Flop], Tarek and I would go all day doing houses." Due to his existing relationship with the now-former couple, when he was asked to audition for the show that would become Flip or Flop, it was no big deal. "So when I walked into that house to audition, it was just another job I was doing," he explained. "I didn't really notice the cameras at all, to be honest."

And clearly his experience on Flip or Flip helped him land HGTV's Christina on the Coast!

Fans can dig deeper with the online companion show for HGTV's Christina on the Coast

For fans of HGTV's Christina on the Coast who want more, the show's network offers an online companion series, Christina on the Coast: Unfiltered

The digital series, revealed HGTV in an announcement, "gives fans an inside look into the making of the series." The network noted, "The digital episodes will roll out on the HGTV app, HGTV.com, on demand across all platforms and HGTV's YouTube channel each week after the television episodes air. Joined by friends from the comfort of her new home, Christina shares behind-the-scenes footage, recalls favorite scenes and designs from the series, and talks openly about her exciting new life."

Unfiltered offers viewers of Christina on the Coast even more insight into both the show and Christina Anstead's life, featuring candid conversations between Anstead and pals Shannon Houston and Cassie Zebich, with Brian Balthazar serving as host. One episode featured Anstead sharing her thoughts on "packing up and moving on" as she and husband Ant Anstead moved into their new home. "It was very emotional," she admitted before Christina on the Coast footage played of her revealing her daughter's "heartbreaking" reaction to leaving their old home. "It is raw," she admitted. "I mean, that's a raw moment."

HGTV's Christina on the Coast features the "authentic" Christina Anstead

According to Christina Anstead, HGTV's Christina on the Coast allowed her an opportunity to present herself in a manner that was more open and honest than she was ever able to do before. As she explained in an interview with People, she felt it was supremely important that viewers got to see her in a truly genuine way. "This is the authentic me, unfiltered," she said, "just how I want to do a show."

Not only is Christina on the Coast a departure from Flip or Flop, it's also "totally different for HGTV," she said, adding, "I just feel lucky that I even got to do it, because it's not work. It's just fun."

She shared even more about her hopes and dreams for Christina on the Coast with HGTV. "The past few years have brought a lot of change into my life and I am so excited to see what the next stage has in store for me both professionally and personally, there is so much to look forward to and this is only the beginning," she said.

How HGTV's Christina on the Coast is setting the record straight about Christina Anstead's divorce

Christina Anstead's divorce from ex Tarek El Moussa, who has quite the double life, was far from a typical split. Not only did the exes continue to work together on Flip or Flop, but they did so while tabloids and online gossip sites spewed out rumors and wild speculation about details of their divorce. 

During an appearance on Good Morning America, Anstead explained how opening up her personal life to viewers is her way of dispelling the gossip and setting the record straight. "I think because our divorce was so public and there were so many stories and false stories and so much going on, that for us, actually including some of our real life into the show is important," she explained.

In fact, continuing their Flip or Flop partnership helped the exes navigate their post-divorce relationship. "It's not really awkward for us anymore," the star of HGTV's Christina on the Coast said. "I like to tease him and he likes to tease me so what you're seeing on camera is me just really giving him a hard time out of good nature."

Curious as to why they split? Here's the real reason the Flip or Flop stars divorced.

How HGTV's Christina on the Coast is different from Flip or Flop

Viewers had grown to love the format of Flip or Flop, in which Christina Anstead and ex-husband Tarek El Moussa redesign and renovate fixer-uppers that they can sell at a profit. When faced with the opportunity to launch her own show, Anstead felt it was crucial that the new series not retread the same ground. 

"In Flip or Flop, we're designing for the masses so the design has to be a little more streamlined [since] we're appealing to all buyers in general," she told Fox News. "Whereas on this show I'm designing for a specific person. So it's really tailored to their own needs and much more design-specific... I really have to keep in mind what they love. I really get to know them [and] their taste."

The star of HGTV's Christina on the Coast added, "So basically the premise is I'm helping a homeowner, which could be a single person or a couple, fix up their space." She further explained, "It has amazing before and after transformations and I get to work directly with homeowners. ... and the great part about it too is that it follows a B story with what I'm doing in my own life in 2018."

HGTV's Christina on the Coast put extra pressure on its star

While the success of Flip or Flop propelled Christina Anstead to stardom and placed her on a path leading to HGTV's Christina on the Coast, she admitted that she felt some serious pressure when launching her own show. "I'm not gonna lie, yes, it is more pressure," she told Entertainment Tonight, "especially knowing that the whole thing was followed from start to finish, and that's the first time I've ever done that on television. I definitely felt pressure for it to be perfect."

Another part of that pressure came from unveiling a whole new format different from what fans had come to expect from her earlier show. As she explained, when launching something new there are always concerns about whether viewers will embrace it. "Flip or Flop was a house show based on designing houses for the masses — they were always designed so that any person could walk in and like it and picture themselves living in it," she explained. "Christina on the Coast is designing for other people based on their own style, so it's much more high design and you're getting to know other people in the show."

Why HGTV's Christina on the Coast likely won't lead to a network deal

Now that Flip or Flop and Christina on the Coast have both become established hits for HGTV, fans can only imagine what lies ahead for Christina Anstead. One thing she doesn't plan on doing, however, is creating her own network like Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, who announced in 2018 they'd be launching their own network through HGTV's parent company, Discovery.

Asked if she could see herself doing something similar, Anstead admitted that building an entire network around herself wasn't even something she had considered. "I've never thought of that," she told the New York Post ahead of the premiere of HGTV's Christina on the Coast. "I think that's awesome [for the Gaines] but that's never been a huge thing for me."

At the time, with her new show's first season still to premiere, Anstead's ambitions for the future were far more modest. "Right now, I'm hoping that Christina on the Coast gets picked up for another season," she admitted. Happily for both Anstead and her fans, that dream was fulfilled later when HGTV announced its plans for a second round of Christina on the Coast.