The real reason the Flip or Flop stars are divorcing

Tarek and Christina El Moussa announced their separation on Dec. 12, 2016, despite putting on a united front on their HGTV hit Flip or Flop (2013-). What happened to this once-golden TV couple? It turns out, there may have been more problems than the public realized between these two.

The harrowing gun incident

According to TMZ, police responded to a call at the El Moussas' Orange County, Calif. home in May 2016 with a "massive presence," including a helicopter and 11 deputies. Witnesses claimed Tarek took a gun from a safe and fled through the back door of the house and then down a hiking trail. Christina also reportedly left the house sobbing. The police soon located Tarek and ordered him to drop his weapon. Tarek complied with the officers' orders, insisting he didn't intend to hurt himself and just wanted to hunt rattlesnakes and mountain lions to "blow off some steam." Police seized five guns from the couple's home, reported TMZ.

The Daily Mail reported that a week before the incident, Tarek was spotted at shooting practice. In fact, this video of Tarek was originally posted to his Instagram account but has since been deleted.

After the incident, the El Moussas told People, "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."

They're incompatible

A source told People that Christina and Tarek are fundamentally different. "In a lot of ways they just seemed wildly incompatible," the source said. "She has champagne tastes, and he's a beer-from-a-can kind of guy…that was okay for a while, when all they could afford was canned beer…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." After hitting it big, the source alleged Tarek grew uncomfortable with Christina's spending and lavish lifestyle. "He just couldn't or didn't want to keep up," the insider claimed.

Their seminars have come under fire

Tarek and Christina were both figureheads for a real estate seminar on flipping houses, but that didn't go over well with all attendees, which may have produced stress that manifested as marital strife.

In Touch reported that customers in Ohio and Iowa requested their respective Attorney General's Offices investigate the El Moussas' "Success Path" program. One Iowa resident, Laura Ingersoll, claimed the seminar "suckered her" out of more than $41,000. The Attorney General's office reportedly helped Ingersoll recoup all but $3,000 of her losses. "Our Consumer Protection Division contacted Shane Andrus with Premier Mentoring after the consumer filed a complaint," a spokesperson for the Iowa Attorney General's office said. "After reviewing the company's contract with the consumer, we informed Mr. Andrus that it was our position that the contract did not comply with the Iowa Door-to-Door Sales Act. The company agreed to issue a refund to the consumer."

Not everyone has been successful in their endeavors to recover cash. One angry customer in Florida claimed she paid $80,000 for courses and remains $90,000 in debt.

More money, more problems

An insider told Hollywood Life the couple has so many financial dealings and entanglements together that a breakup won't be easy in terms of dividing up their assets. A source claimed, "They own multiple properties, luxury cars including a Bentley and an Escalade, tons of cash and lots of other big-ticket items too. She is currently living with their kids in their massive $3 million dollar home in Yorba Linda, Calif. and Tarek's presence in the house has been replaced by a team of nannies. Their plan for now is to continue to co-mingle their financial lives until they can figure out an amicable dissolution of assets." TMZ reported they also have a yacht together.

Additionally, the stars still have their show together and a book, Flipping Your Life, hitting shelves in March 2017 that they'll need to promote. They told People, "We plan to continue our professional life together by being professional, by doing our jobs well, by being prepared and by working hard."

Tarek had a health scare

After a concerned viewer reportedly emailed the El Moussas, Tarek reportedly went to the doctor and tested positive for thyroid cancer in June 2013. He's in remission but admitted it's been a difficult journey, both emotionally and physically. "Getting rid of your thyroid and being given different hormones and T3 and T4, surgery, and the radioactive iodine," he told Pop Sugar. "It messes with your system. And it was really hard to find the right balance. Because you get anxiety, you get really tired you get lethargic, you gain weight,…It took a long time just to get to the point where I was feeling better. And that was just medication-wise, so it was definitely a tough process."

Tarek told People he still feels the effects of the illness. "I feel good, but I don't have the energy I used to have. The only thing is most days or like half the time I feel a little jetlagged. I'm really tired…There is always that chance of reoccurrence but every year that goes by the odds of reoccurrence goes down so it's good." He noted, "I have slowed down quite a bit. Which is actually a good thing because I can actually relax now."

Fertility struggles impacted their family

When Tarek was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, he wasn't the only one who had to deal with the physical repercussions of the illness. He and Christina had reportedly planned on having a second child and had to make big adjustments to make sure it happened. "We found out Tarek had cancer, and we asked the doctor if that would affect our chances of having a child," Christina told People. "They said that if you go through radiation, which Tarek had too, then you should not get pregnant from that sperm from six months to a year. So, right away, we did sperm banking and [tried] IVF."

The couple experienced two failed attempts at IVF, with one round resulting in a miscarriage, before conceiving son Brayden in August 2015. "I had to be super strict," Christina told People. "I had to do one full week in bed. For 13 weeks after that, I couldn't go for a walk and couldn't lift anything over a gallon of milk. We planned it during Christmas break so I wasn't working. We did everything we could to make sure this one worked." Understandably, this ordeal likely took a toll on their relationship.

Are they bamboozling customers?

As clients nationwide attack their business practices, it's hard to imagine the intense criticism hasn't caused some friction at home.

Bad press about their seminars continues to mount. The Dallas Morning News reported that Tarek and Christina were heavily marketed for a Success Path appearance at a seminar, but never showed up. Multiple reports suggest they rarely do, replaced by giant posters of the duo instead. Attendee Kirby Lee told the Dallas News, "The main focus [of the seminar] was to get attendees to sign up for more courses and workshops. It was highly pressurized. If you said 'no thanks' to the enormous opportunity presented in front of you, you were pretty much called a loser and a dolt to your face by the coaches in the room." He added, "They continually hammered at you to buy their product. We were encouraged to max out credit cards, increase credit limits, liquidate retirements and pensions, borrow from relatives—all to buy these courses and become successful beyond your expectations."

The methods the seminars teach aren't even sound, experts allege. "The whole thing is a scam," James Wise, real estate broker and co-founder of the Holton-Wise Property Group, told In Touch. "They're teaching a business plan that sounds ap­pealing but it just won't work. They're giving false advice."

For their part, the El Moussas deny any shadiness. "More than 50,000 people have at­tended our seminars over the past three years and there have been less than 20 complaints," the couple said in a statement. "People have gone on to change their lives and achieve their dreams using our models and strategy."

She's hooking up with a contractor pal

A source told People the El Moussas' breakup after seven years of marriage didn't happen because of the aforementioned fight or because of infidelity. Instead, insiders claimed both Christina and Tarek had flipped their relationship and started dating other people months before their breakup announcement. According to TMZ, Christina is allegedly getting serious with contractor Gary Anderson, a friend of the couple, who was reportedly at their home the day of the domestic debacle and who served as a witness for police. Sources told the tab that Christina and Gary's relationship turned romantic after the incident.

Sources told TMZ that Christina is completely over her marriage and not open to reconciling with Tarek. However, an insider did say she would remain amicable with her ex for the sake of co-parenting their children.

He hooked up with the nanny

Tarek supposedly hasn't settled down with anyone else yet, though sources say he's seeing other people, including the nanny. According to TMZ, Tarek "hooked up with 23-year-old Alyssa Logan," who'd worked for the couple as a personal assistant and caregiver to their kids. The tab claimed Tarek and Logan did not mix business and pleasure while he was still with Christina and employed by the family. TMZ published a photo of Tarek and Logan at a Florida Georgia Line concert in October 2016 but claims they went their separate ways later that month. According to People, the kids are residing with Christina, and Tarek visits them several times a week.

Tarek has a history of dramatic splits

Tarek is no stranger to acrimonious breakups. Radar Online reported that in 2003, he filed a restraining order against an ex-girlfriend. That frightening history may make him less trusting and more apprehensive in all his relationships.

In documents obtained by Radar, Tarek lamented, "I work full time and go to school at the university full time. I am in bed by 11 and on-and-off for three years, I get calls in the middle of the night that wake me up. Sometimes she doesn't say anything and her friends laugh in the background. Other times she will say, 'I love you. I miss you. Why do you hate me? Can't we be together?'" He added, "When I'm not getting these calls, she has guys call me saying their [sic] going to f**k me up, key my car, jump me, shoot me, etc. She tells people awful things about me that aren't true that threaten my reputation as a real estate agent." He continued, "The reason this all started was at the end of high school we dated and I left her for another girl who is now my girlfriend of almost three years. I think she needs help from a counselor to get over her anger and issues. I want her to stay 100 percent away from me."

The show may be ending

E! News reported that Flip or Flop will come to an end once the couple fulfills its contractual obligations in 2017. A few episodes are slated to film in January 2017, after which the show, as it is now, will reportedly conclude, though it's unclear if Tarek or Christina will work within the network separately.

It doesn't sound like Tarek will miss it. A source previously told People (via Radar Online) that Mr. and Mrs. didn't see eye-to-eye when it came to the series. "While Christina would be on board for plot lines that producers came up with like freaking out over the wrong tile being delivered or finding a dead rodent in the corner, Tarek was always more reluctant," the insider said. "The more Christina started to sparkle and shine, the more Tarek regressed. He doesn't seem to love it the way she does."

Tarek was suspicious of Christina

A source told In Touch Weekly that Tarek thought something was up between Christina and contractor Gary Anderson before they got together—which may explain why Anderson was present when Tarek and Christina had their massive fight. "Christina grew close to Gary," the insider said. "Tarek was suspicious that she was getting involved with someone but had no concrete evidence." The night of the fight, however, the source says that all changed. "Tarek saw Christina's phone and [believed] there was some inappropriate texting going on between Christina and Gary," the source dished.

In the January 16, 2017 print edition of In Touch Weekly, an insider noted, "Tarek knew that Christina had already checked out of the relationship. Tension was high with cheating charges flying. There was no saving the marriage by then."

They were unhappy for a while

A source says Tarek and Christina hadn't been getting along for a while leading up to their explosive fight and subsequent separation. The source told In Touch Weekly that their marriage a "facade," adding, "There were secrets, lies, allegations of cheating, spying on each other, and screaming matches. It was the ultimate house of horrors." A neighbor concurred, "They would literally fight in that house and then sit down at their computers and post everything nice for the world to see. They were living a double life. They weren't only working on a reality show—they were putting on a show."

In the January 16, 2017 print issue of In Touch Weekly, a source said, "They really tried to keep up appearances, but in the end, their lies did them in. Behind closed doors, they really were a mess. No one ever got to see the real Tarek and Christina until now."

They fought over their own home renovations

It turns out that the El Moussas debates over home renovations allegedly extended off-screen. In the January 16, 2017 print issue of In Touch Weekly, a source dished that it took two years instead of six months for the couple to renovate their own home, with fingers pointed at Christina for the delay. "They'd decided on a Spanish-style home and had begun the work," the source said. "Then Christina didn't like it and wanted something more modern and blingy, so they ripped out what they'd already done and started again."

Christina's new man is twice-divorced

Christina's new boyfriend, Gary Anderson, has been involved in two pretty bitter divorce battles before shacking up with the blond stunner. Anderson's 1999 divorce from his first wife, Jo Ann, took nearly a decade—and court documents obtained by In Touch Weekly reveal that he allegedly lowballed his income to the tune of almost 90 percent in an effort to shrink his spousal and child support payments: He reportedly claimed to have made $128,000 one year, but his actual income was more than $1 million. When the court found out, he was ordered to pay pay Jo Ann $4,000 monthly in spousal support until 2003, $7,082 a month in child support, and $100,000 in back child support—plus putting $50,000 in an account for their daughters.

He quickly moved on and married his second wife, Denise, in 2001, only to divorce her just four years later. She reportedly took home $2,000 a month spousal support until 2007, $330,000 from their joint bank account, a brand new BMW, their $700,000 California home, and a cool $405,000.

They stayed together for the show

A network source claims that HGTV is furious with the estranged couple for wrecking their cash cow. "This is getting really ugly. HGTV is livid with Tarek and Christina," the insider told In Touch Weekly. "Flip Or Flop just won't be the same if they're not together, so execs desperately want them to reunite to save the show. If they can't do that, the network wants to make it seem like they're getting along, at least until their contract is over. They were given an ultimatum: Either finish out your contracts or we'll take you to court [for breach of contract]. The network basically said, 'You guys need to work together, be seen together as a family, walk down the street together.'"

The couple was reportedly willing to go along with it temporarily. In the January 16, 2017 print issue of In Touch Weekly, a source notes, "They were both riding high. They knew the success of Flip Or Flop is what put them on the map and afforded all their good fortune and their lavish lifestyle."

She wants her own show

Part of why Christina may be willing to keep up appearances with her estranged husband is for the potential profit she could make from it. In the January 16, 2017 print edition of In Touch Weekly, an insider claims, "She wants to cooperate with HGTV because she is gunning to get her own show. She's upset because she knows that if she doesn't cooperate she might never get her own show, which is now her dream." A rep for Christina denied the claim.

Their divorce may be contentious

TMZ reports that Tarek, 36, officially filed for divorce from estranged wife Christina, 33. Documents obtained by the site show that Tarek cited the ever-reliable "irreconcilable differences" for the split. Tarek requested spousal support from Christina, but also requested that a judge block her from requesting any support from him. He requested joint custody of son Brayden, 1, and daughter Taylor, 6. The kids, as previously mentioned, currently are staying with Christina, with Tarek visiting regularly.

A source told TMZ, "[The divorce is] civilized, or as best it can be under the circumstances. They have to make it work if they want to continue monetizing what they do."

They don't get along off-camera

A source told Radar Online that Tarek and Christina are at each other's throats when the HGTV cameras aren't around. "Tensions are ridiculous on the set with Tarek and Christina. Tarek yells at her in front of production and he is constantly putting her down," the source said. "He says he blames her for leaking information about their split and he thinks that she sabotaged their marriage, and he even seems to think that now she is trying to sabotage his chances of getting a spin-off." An insider even told In Touch Weekly that Tarek called his ex-wife a "wh**e" in front of producers, adding, "[Tarek] found humor in insulting his wife in repeated verbal attacks. Some of his bad behavior was even caught on camera [in footage that never aired]." The mag also said the estranged couple now have separate publicists instead of sharing one for the two of them.

Tarek didn't exactly deny or confirm the claims, but wrote on Instagram, "No matter the lies, innuendo, salacious gossip and 'fake news' that is thrown at me from irresponsible media outlets via anonymous sources, I will keep my focus on what matters most, which is co-parenting our children and working hard on our business."

Christina's not handling it well

Christina reportedly isn't having an easy time balancing work with single motherhood. A source told Hollywood Life, "Christina is overwhelmed by life without her husband and is working hard to keep it all together after their split. Tarek moved out of the massive home they shared together several months ago. Since then Christina has been leaning on a small team of nannies who help her with their two small kids as she juggles business obligations and managing the household."

Let the mudslinging begin

A source told Us Weekly that Christina can't stand Tarek anymore. "The mood differs day to day, but Christina avoids Tarek. He does things to piss her off, like bragging loudly about sleeping with girls…She thinks Tarek is an absolute pig." The source added that Tarek has been playing the field and dating a model since December 2016 who was BFFs with his other rebound, nanny Alyssa Logan. The insider also claimed Tarek has been blowing a ton of money to "impress people," the very opposite of his frugal onscreen persona.

Still, don't cry for Christina. "She has been talking to HGTV about her own series without him," a source told In Touch Weekly. "She told the network she wants a younger, sexier, better-looking costar…Christina has told Tarek many times that she didn't really ever need him."

They're in it for the money

TMZ reported that Tarek and Christina want to keep Flip or Flop going as long as they can, but that's reportedly in the network's hands. However, the odds may be in the estranged couple's favor, because they're crushing the competition in ratings.

The pair will fllfill the remainder of its contract with the upcoming season, but a renewal is possible—though it may not necessarily be easy. "The crew was asked to be efficient with takes so that there was no downtime for Tarek and Christina on set," a source told Life & Style. "When there's downtime, bad things happen." What sorts of bad things? According to the source, Tarek often "jokes" that he'll rape his estranged wife.

Another HGTV insider admitted that Tarek's behavior was "a huge factor in their marriage falling apart. Christina hit a breaking point and couldn't stand to be around him anymore. She fell out of love…Tarek treated Christina like garbage."

If a renewal doesn't happen, spin-offs might, and Christina may profit the most from that option. "Christina will now come across as a victim and Tarek comes across as the demeaning jerk that people don't like," branding expert David Johnson told Life & Style. "Public sympathy will be toward her. People will want to see Christina succeed." An HGTV insider noted, "Christina has been trying to pitch her own show for months. She truly wants to have her own career and wants to be separated from Tarek in every way."

She's been spotted stepping out with her new beau

In Touch Weekly nabbed photos of Christina out and about with new beau Anderson. A source claimed the couple stepped out in the afternoon on Jan. 28, 2017. "They seemed so relaxed and comfortable together—totally in sync. Christina looked adoringly at him. She was beaming They had big smiles. You could see the spark is there."

An insider source close to Christina dished, "Gary seems enamored with Christina. She likes that Gary is so much more mature than Tarek. It's a safe relationship, and she's happy with him." The source added, "Gary's been there for her while she's gone through hell with Tarek."

Christina and Tarek are still keeping up appearances

On Feb. 10, 2017, Tarek and Christina made their first public appearance together since their split was announced. People reported that the estranged couple spoke at the 2017 Investor Summit in Las Vegas. Both Tarek and Christina posted Instagram photos from the event, where they seemed happy and normal together.

"Me and #christina on the #big #stage having #fun and teaching folks how to #flip #houses!! #goodtimes #lovespeakingtogether," Tarek captioned his snap. Christina wrote on her own photo, "Fun event at #successpath #investor #summit…great meeting our students."

She's trying to stay positive

Christina and Tarek have stayed pretty far away from each other, physically, during filming, but Christina continues to act like their friendship is hunky dory and uncomplicated. In this Instagram snap from Feb. 15, 2017, in which three men separate Christina from Tarek, she wrote, "I've never met a group of more positive, fun-loving, funny… all around amazing guys… filming 7 seasons of #FlipOrFlop has been a breeze because of them. I [love] each and every one of you. @hgtv." The sweetness and professionalism gives credence to rumors that she wants her own show on the network, with or without her estranged husband along for the ride.

Tarek hates seeing her with Gary

A source told In Touch Weekly that Tarek isn't thrilled that Christina is seeing someone else, but that it's especially hard seeing her with Anderson, with whom they were both friendly before their split. "It's hard for Tarek to see Christina dating, but it's even worse that Gary is the guy she's with," the source said. Why? He makes Tarek feel inferior, according to the insider. "There's nothing that could be more upsetting to Tarek than to see her with a guy who is like him but better — and that's Gary," the source said. "He's in the same industry as Tarek, but he's older and more established and has more money."