Signs Christina And Tarek's Marriage Was Never Going To Last

For Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall (who just remarried for the second time!), drama was par for the course when it came to making their fast and lucrative house flips. While rehabilitating homes and selling them for profit was the basis for their popular HGTV show, the marriage at the center of it all suffered drama of its own. Even now, more than six years since they filed for divorce, the end of "Flip or Flop" has revealed that the two are not really friends (via ET) and that filming together just became way too intimate for the estranged stars (via People). 

How did it wind up like this? El Moussa and Hall's highly publicized split back in December 2016 is no secret. Over time, the professional flippers have shown they're pretty comfortable talking about their divorce. But the end of a seven-year marriage doesn't come about overnight. So, what were the telltale signs that this power couple was rushing headlong for divorce? Read on to learn more. 

Christina and Tarek made a habit of feuding on set before their split

Though viewers of HGTV's "Flip or Flop" were no strangers to seeing hosts Christina Hall and Tarek El Moussa disagree about a home's renovation, there was more behind-the-scenes tension than the TV network may have wanted to reveal. In a 2018 interview with "Today,", both Hall and El Moussa were quick to joke about wanting to kill one another on set. But well before their infamous blowout in the summer of 2021, the now-divorced pair showed world-wide audiences they knew exactly how to push each other's buttons — without remorse. 

The sixth season of "Flip or Flop" aired in 2017 during El Moussa and Hall's very public split, and several episodes in particular foreshadowed the escalating animosity between the struggling couple. Case in point: On the "Beached Bungalow" episode, the couple's battle of wills is on full display. As noted by,  the audience gets an up close and personal view of the weakest points of the El Moussa marriage, including miscommunication and unchecked egos. This doomed combination is perhaps best exemplified by Hall's decision to exclude El Moussa from the kitchen's proposed design. Hall plows forward with her own preferred plan: a pinwheel tile that horrifies El Moussa. For his part, El Moussa has plenty of criticism for Hall's design choice, but Hall refuses to apologize and insists it be done her way. Not a particularly shining example of loving compromise, now is it? 

Tension at the El Moussa home reached a boiling point

A headline that it seems safe to assume Tarek El Moussa nor Christina Hall never wanted to see written about themselves would have involved police investigating a "gun incident" and "suicidal male" at their home (via People). But as it so happens, just such a story broke as they publicly announced their split at the end of 2016. 

Though El Moussa has since appeared on multiple news outlets and has personally described the infamous police intervention as a "a huge misunderstanding on [Christina's] part," (via "The Dr. Oz Show"), the once-wed couple seemed to agree on one thing: the best thing to do was go their separate ways. In a 2017 interview with People, Hall explained the incident was a breaking point for her marriage: "It just made me realize that us being separated was healthier for both of us." 

The day's dramatic unfolding seemed a heartbreaking display of just how dysfunctional the seven-year marriage between El Moussa and Hall had become. An alleged disagreement between the two wound up escalating into El Moussa grabbing one of his handguns and jumping his home's fence to "blow off some steam" while hiking, as he reportedly told police (per Vanity Fair). Though the incident did not result in any violence or police charges, the incident seemed more indicative of a floundering relationship whose partners were already emotionally estranged and unable to find their way together through a difficult day.

Rumors of infidelity and inappropriate relationships were swirling

It's one thing to suffer a high-profile divorce like Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall did, but the pair also had to contend with much speculation about the "real" reason they were splitting. Allegedly, both El Moussa and Hall had questionable relationships outside their marriage. Together, the couple told In Touch in 2018, "Neither of us was involved in a romantic relationship with any third party prior to our separation, or believes the other was." But before their split was even made public in 2017, El Moussa was connected with the family's 23-year-old nanny (via The Daily Mail). Hall's choice to date the family's contractor Gary Anderson also caught the media's attention.

Hall first met Anderson in 2015 when he was hired to work on the home she shared with then-husband, Tarek El Moussa (via Us Weekly). Though Hall and Anderson publicly confirmed their relationship, the exact timeline of their coupling has remained under scrutiny. At one time, an insider source reportedly told InTouch that Hall and Anderson had been exchanging suspicious text messages before Hall became estranged from El Moussa. Hall has long insisted that her relationship with Anderson did not begin until after she and El Moussa decided to split up. Regardless, the quickness with which El Moussa and Hall each moved on with new romantic partners might hint at just how far gone things were in the years leading up to their public split.

Tarek's two cancer diagnoses and subsequent drug dependence put strain on their marriage

2013 saw almost overnight success for the two reality stars of "Flip or Flop" but it also ushered in a particularly chaotic time period, especially for Tarek El Moussa. In the span of only one year, El Moussa received two different and unrelated cancer diagnoses (per Best Life Online). Soon, the real estate mogul was thrown into a barrage of chemotherapy, side-effects, surgeries, and other life-saving treatments.

On top of their real estate investments, family life, and brand new reality series, El Moussa found himself developing a dependence on steroids as part of his post-op recovery from testicular cancer. The father of two admitted that he was overmedicated: "I was on Vicodin every day. On top of that, my hormones are off, I'm on pain meds and narcotics and I'm filming and working. It was a really rough three, four years. ... It was a horrifying experience" (per Page Six). 

But exactly what kind of toll did El Moussa's health have on his marriage? In a conversation with his sister, Angelique, El Moussa was moved to tears when apologizing for his past behavior, breaking down as he recalled, "I wasn't a good brother, son, husband, father ..." He shared about his struggle to express himself rather than holding all his feelings in, adding, "it cost me so much" (via HGTV). Unfortunately, both El Moussa and his ex-wife, Christina Hall, could not undo the damage.

Their fertility challenges added more stress

Marriage is hard enough without health scares and fertility obstacles. In the past, both Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall spoke publicly of their struggle to conceive their second child during El Moussa's cancer battle. And though the couple later conceived their son Brayden, Hall suffered a traumatizing miscarriage at eight weeks in addition to two failed rounds of IVF. Hall's pregnancy included a great many medical restrictions, including remaining in bed for one week and not picking up her daughter, Taylor, to ensure her and the baby's health remained stable (via People). And though she successfully carried her son to full-term, Brayden's decelerating heart rate during labor forced the second-time mom to undergo an emergency C-section

Not only did Hall's high-risk fertility treatments seem to wreak havoc on the couple's relationship, but it would appear that the financial consequences and physical toll of the related procedures were ultimately too much for El Moussa and Hall to bear. Less than two years after their son's birth, the HGTV stars secretly split. El Moussa, now host of "Flipping 101," seems equal parts empathetic and somber when he reflects back on what those last couple years married to Hall were like: "We were both very busy people with health issues and kids. We didn't fight, we just grew apart" (via Us Weekly). Sure sounds like a long and lonely ending for the two real estate investors. 

Setbacks and disagreements around their own home renovation piled up

Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall are pretty much the opposite of novice renovators, but it turns out that the renovation of their own $2 million home in Yorba Linda, California, was a little more than they'd originally bargained for. In a conversation with People, Christina Hall explained that the home effectively underwent two renovations when she decided to change the decor palette partway through the project. "The first remodel was about 25 percent in, and it was a totally different look — it was more of a rustic look. ... So we just ended up clearing everything out and starting fresh."

The reality stars suffered another misstep: They hired the wrong contractor. That mistake not only cost them money, but also precious time. "We ended up having to move out to a tiny hotel for three months. Then we lived with my parents for another month, and then we still moved back into a construction zone for a few months," Christina said. Ultimately, as Tarek explained to Dr. Drew, "There [was] so much going on with TV, and the notoriety, and the finances, and so many different things happening at one time, and it slowly pulled us apart." But is it any surprise that the very squabbles El Moussa and Hall played out on television over the years — budget disagreements, conflicting opinions, strained communication, to name a few — would be the very shortcomings that ruined their own renovation?

The couple had no space for themselves — ever!

One can imagine that hosting a reality TV series with one's spouse, running a business together, and splitting parental duties is a quick way to breed intimacy. But what about breathing room? In a 2018 interview with People, Christina Hall reflected on her very public split. "Tarek and I were so tied together on everything: real estate, the show, our children, our house. It was so stressful, and everyone was worried that it was going to explode," she said. "I felt like I was drowning." 

Christina's choice of words, namely "drowning," begs the question: How much time apart did the married couple ever really get? Doctor and scholar Robert Coplan coined the term "aloneliness," a word to describe the the craving for solitude when in the company of others (via the New York Times). Could El Moussa and Hall have done a better job showing up for themselves vis-à-vis solitude?

It would stand to reason that without much free time of their own and a myriad of responsibilities related to family, livelihood, and HGTV contracts, the foundation of El Moussa and Hall's marriage would take a considerable hit. But without a healthy sense of independence, resentments can fester. Being united in partnership is one thing, but it's quite another to feel shackled to your significant other. "Prisoner of Love" just doesn't have the same ring to it in hindsight, does it?

The pressures of juggling real life with reality TV became too much

Fame isn't for everyone, and there's certainly plenty of stars who have opted to leave the spotlight in search of a more equanimous life. The Achilles heel for this particular duo seemed to be reconciling their reality show with real life. "Like any couple, we had our share of issues, but we went through a lot in a short amount of time. ... I was overwhelmed. The tension between me and Tarek was high. We weren't able to properly communicate anymore. It got to the point where we weren't even driving to set together," Christina Hall told People. The estranged couple indeed had a harrowing four years, including cancer diagnoses, drug dependence, fertility struggles, complicated renovations, and even police interventions. Any one of these life events could put a real wedge between a husband and wife.

As Tarek El Moussa tells it, busyness put a significant strain on their partnership. In a 2017 appearance on "The Doctors," Tarek explained, "All these things happened overnight. ... It kind of started pushing us apart from one another." The pace of change and life-altering events the couple saw in such a short period of time was difficult to wrap their heads around. The reality star couple just could not manage to salvage their marriage amid the demands of personal hardship.

They struggled to communicate with one another — which only got worse with time

Life's setbacks and failures have a way of teaching us valuable lessons. The same is true for this former couple. "What I've learned through all of this is that communication is the most important thing in the world," Tarek El Moussa said in an exclusive HGTV video. His ex, Christina Hall, also knows more than ever the value of honesty in a relationship. She told Good Housekeeping, "If something is on my mind, you're gonna know. Because Tarek and I lost that communication, completely, and it's so hard to get it back once it's gone."

Given the many obstacles that came up for these famous exes, not being able to openly and lovingly communicate with one another would definitely erode their bond, especially considering all the challenges they had to face and the added stress the spotlight can put on a relationship. When discussing his failed marriage, Tarek said, "If we had better communication, we would have had a better relationship" (via "The Doctors"). Though the "Flip or Flop" hosts have since both remarried (Christina twice!), it can be difficult to resist the "what ifs" that plague a couple after a breakup. But without a proper outlet to share and relieve their stress, however, it seems the parents of two sealed their fate as divorcees.

Christina and Tarek were incompatible in more ways than one

Soon after Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall announced their split in 2016, an insider spoke to People about what it was really like seeing their marriage up close. "In a lot of ways they just seemed wildly incompatible," the anonymous source remarked. "[Christina] has champagne tastes and he's a beer-from-a-can kind of guy. And that was okay for a while — they were on the same page, working together to make it and to do the best with what they had. But the stardom from the show, and the money from the show, meant that she started to feel like she could finally have some of the finer things in life." (Hall, for her part, insisted to Good Housekeeping that both she and El Moussa "definitely have the same taste as far as wanting nice things because we work hard.") 

Still, the discrepancy between Hall's fine tastes and El Moussa's more conservative approach was a plot line that was oftentimes teased out "Flip or Flop." It makes one wonder: Was that dynamic always part of their relationship, and not just a conflict emphasized to make the show more entertaining? Could such a fundamentally different set of values have driven the two stars further apart? It's one thing to disagree over which color to paint a house, but when difference becomes the defining element of a partnership, you enter choppy waters. Somewhere along the way, El Moussa and Hall lost sight of what they shared as a couple, and let what separated them take the lead.