HGTV's Tarek El Moussa on the Gun Incident That Ended His Marriage to Christina Hall
The Flip or Flop stars split in 2016 after a fight that ended with the arrival of police.
In December 2016, Flip or Flop stars Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall made headlines by announcing their separation. At the same time, it was also reported that an incident that ended with Hall calling the police on El Moussa had led to their split. Now, El Moussa has revealed more details about the dramatic event in his memoir, Flip Your Life: How to Find Opportunity in Distress — in Real Estate, Business and Life (out Feb. 6) and in an interview with People.
Announcing their split, El Moussa and Hall said in a December 2016 statement to People, "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 filed."
The Orange County Sheriff's Department confirmed to The Wrap that police responded to a call involving a "possibly suicidal male with a gun" in May 2016. Hall told authorities that a friend of hers, who was at their home, saw El Moussa take a gun from a safe and leave their home without responding to her question about what he was doing. A neighbor witness said that he saw El Moussa run out of the backdoor of his home, jump over a fence, and head into bordering Chino Hills State Park.
Hall told police that El Moussa "did not make any threatening statements to her and he did not make any comments about hurting himself or anyone else. She also denied that Tarek had ever been suicidal." El Moussa denied that he intended to harm himself, explaining that he "wanted to blow off some steam" and took the gun "because of mountain lions and rattlesnakes in the area." After talking with police, El Moussa agreed to voluntarily give up the guns he owned for 30 days.
Now, El Moussa has shared more about what happened that night. In Flip Your Life (via People), he writes that he left his and Hall's home after an argument between them and thought getting some exercise would help. Soon, he noticed police were nearby, including officers in a helicopter. "A police officer leaning out of the helicopter pointed a rifle at me," El Moussa writes. "Dust swirled around me from the spin of the blades, and a loudspeaker crackled, 'Get your hands in the air!'" An officer in the helicopter recognized the HGTV star. "I heard an officer shout, 'Tarek?' I screamed back, 'Yes! I'm the guy from TV! What are you guys doing?'"
El Moussa says that he ended up "sat on a cooler on [his] driveway, handcuffed [for] several hours." He writes, "That was the very last time we were together as a family: with Christina walking down the driveway, crying, and me sitting there in handcuffs, asking myself, What in the world is going on?"
In an interview with People about his book, El Moussa explained that his life subsequently became a "physical and emotional hell." He stayed on his boat, where he drank heavily and went through withdrawals from testosterone that he had been taking. Eventually, friends helped him get into a rehab program. El Moussa previously said on the podcast The Jeff Fenster Show (via People) that he lived in a "halfway house," because he "didn't trust [himself] to be alone," adding, "That's how bad I was."
El Moussa and Hall—who share two children—have both moved on to new relationships in the years since they split up. El Moussa has been married to Selling Sunset star Heather Rae Young since 2021; Hall was married to Ant Anstead from 2018 to 2021 and has been married to Joshua Hall since 2022.
"I hold nothing against Christina," El Moussa told People. "I understand why she did what she did. We had a lot of hard years through my sicknesses and my mental health struggles from the testosterone."
El Moussa and Hall continued working together following their divorce—which was finalized in 2018—with their show Flip or Flop airing new episodes until 2022. El Moussa told People their relationship today is "better than it's been ever since the separation."
"We all communicate well, even Heather and Christina. We really focus on the kids," he added.
Hall previously spoke out about the incident in a 2017 interview with People and said that it was the moment she realized her marriage to El Moussa was over. "It just made me realize that us being separated was healthier for both of us," she said. "I didn't necessarily know that we weren't going to get back together. It was after seeking therapy and trying to work things out that we both realized this is for the best."