Strange Things About Tarek El Moussa's Relationship

Throughout the 2010s, the life of Flip or Flop's Tarek El Moussa was anything but uneventful. After being diagnosed with thyroid and testicular cancer in 2013, the reality TV star announced that he was "officially cancer free" on Instagram six years later. Meanwhile, his relationship status was a whirlwind. When El Moussa and his Flip or Flop co-star, Christina Anstead, separated after seven years of marriage in 2016, details of their split were heavily reported. 

While Christina married television show presenter Ant Anstead two years later, El Moussa didn't officially move on until July 2019, when he entered a relationship with Selling Sunset cast member Heather Rae Young. The cute pair went Instagram official that August, with El Moussa writing, "In life you can't predict the future! I couldn't predict divorce! I couldn't predict two cancers! I couldn't predict my back injury! You just never know what tomorrow brings." He added, "I just want to let the world know I met someone special that makes me want to be a better man." And that "someone special" is, but of course, Young.

El Moussa and Young's love story has certainly been a unique one. Not in a bad way, necessarily ... more in a, "Huh, you don't see that every day," kind of way. Here are some of the strange things about Tarek El Moussa's relationship.

Tarek El Moussa asked Heather Rae Young out long before they dated

After going Instagram official in August 2019, Heather Rae Young told Radar Online that she and Tarek El Moussa had connected over the July 4th holiday weekend that same year ... but that wasn't the real start of their love story. The two actually crossed paths long before their romance commenced. 

Revealing that she and the Flip or Flop star "spoke briefly a while back," Young noted that the timing was not right. "He had asked me out, and I said no at the time, and he respected that," she explained. "I was in a past relationship. And yeah, we reconnected on Fourth of July through mutual friends, and yeah, the rest is history." Interestingly enough, when El Moussa first confirmed their courtship on Instagram, he opted not to bring up that failed first attempt, writing in part, "The first time I saw her smile she 'did that thing to my tummy' and I knew right away I needed to get to know her ... so I asked her out!! She said yes." 

Their first interaction may not have gone as El Moussa had hoped, but evidently, things eventually panned out. In Young's own relationship announcement post, she recalled, "@therealtarekelmoussa thank you for honking your boat horn at me the day we met, that will forever be the moment that you became my game changer." A boat horn honk that led to romance? You love to sea it.

Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young moved in together early on in their relationship

Before Heather Rae Young and Tarek El Moussa started dating, she was based in Los Angeles and he was in Costa Mesa — but Young didn't wait too long before relocating. In August 2019, the real estate agent shared on Instagram Live (via House Beautiful) that she was living in Orange County, but would "definitely always have a place in LA." 

This living arrangement began, as El Moussa revealed on Instagram in February 2020, "after only a week" of dating. Moving in together just as a relationship is finding its footing may not work for some couples, but it looks like it's been just peachy for these two. As El Moussa previously shared on Instagram, he and Young split their time between the OC and West Hollywood. And throughout Season 2 of Selling Sunset, viewers saw Young, as she told Entertainment Tonight that May, "navigate through balancing work and going back-and-forth" between the two residential areas. "I was balancing a new relationship and then also hustling at work and filming a show," she added. "So it was a lot to handle, and you guys see that." 

Ah yes, the drama surrounding Young asking Amanza Smith to cover for her at a house showing because she was set on going to El Moussa's daughter's birthday party in Orange County comes to mind. 

Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young were serious from the jump

When you know, you know — and it looks like Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young knew they were ready to get serious straight away. In April 2020, Young opened up on Instagram about how quickly they realized they were in it for the long haul: "From day 1, first date, first 10 minutes we didn't hold back we opened up and laid it all out there. Communication & honesty is #1 for me. On date 2 We decided to commit 100%. People may have thought we were crazy but we knew."

After just a month of dating, El Moussa was ready for Young to meet his children. In August 2019, he revealed to Entertainment Tonight that he had introduced his kids to Young ... but still had not talked to Christina Anstead about the new lady in his life. "So that's probably a talk I should probably have pretty soon," El Moussa said, "like maybe today, considering I'm talking about it on TV now, she'll probably find out, I think." Oops.

Even before hitting their one-year anniversary, wedding bells were already on these reality TV stars' minds. Telling E! News in May 2020 that she "can't wait to marry" her beau, Young revealed, "It's something that when we talk about it, it's real. I know that it's going to happen, but I don't like to push either and I don't like to bring it up all the time."

There is some debate about who said 'I love you' first

We've got another relationship milestone to share, folks. When playing Us Weekly's Newly Dating Game in March 2020, Heather Rae Young said Tarek El Moussa dropped "I love you" first, but the Flip or Flop star claimed it was Young. Uh-oh. Looks like what we actually have here is a relationship milestone mystery on our hands. 

So what actually happened? The cute pair recalled that on their "fifth day of knowing each other," Young asked El Moussa to tell her he loves her. He presumably obliged, so ... even though Young teed him up, El Moussa technically was the first to actually utter the phrase in question. Case closed.

Anyway, these two have been saying "I love you" ever since. We know this to be true because they often post about their love for one another on social media. On Valentine's Day 2020, for example, El Moussa shared a photo of Young on Instagram and wrote in part, "I love you more than the 'universe.'" That same day, Young posted a snapshot of the two smooching. "Too many words and not enough space to tell you how much I love you @therealtarekelmoussa," she captioned the pic. "Everyday I am showered with love, kindness, & support from you." 

Heather Rae Young faces comparisons to Tarek El Moussa's ex-wife

When TMZ shared some photos of Tarek El Moussa canoodling with Heather Rae Young on a yacht in July 2019, the comparisons to the Flip or Flop star's ex-wife wasted no time in showing up. TMZ called her Christina Anstead's "doppelgänger," Extra dubbed Young a "Christina look-alike," the Daily Mail declared their similarities to be "impressive," and Hollywood Life claimed it was like "seeing double." All of this brings us to December 2019, when Young addressed the matter during an Instagram Live Q&A.

According to People, someone asked Young if she was "trying to look like Christina," to which the former Playmate replied, "How would I be 'trying to look like someone?' Last time I checked I've looked like this my whole life." She went on to joke that resembling Anstead was her "ultimate goal," quipping, "I even rushed to a doctor to change my whole appearance!!!" All joking aside, Young asked people to "stop being ridiculous."

While it's pretty clear that Young's not exactly thrilled with the ongoing comparisons to Anstead's appearance, that doesn't mean the Selling Sunset starlet isn't cool with her man's ex-wife. Anstead and Young thankfully have an amicable thing going. So amicable, in fact, that the — as Anstead shared with Us Weekly in April 2020 — often text each other.

Heather Rae Young texts with Tarek El Moussa's ex about margaritas

If you're wondering what Heather Rae Young and Tarek El Moussa's ex-wife text about, Christina Anstead told Us Weekly in April 2020 that it often revolves around food and drinks they enjoy. "We'll, like, text each other random recipes right now during isolation," Anstead said amid the global pandemic. "She'll, like, send me whatever her, like, favorite go-to granola bar is, and I'll text her back, like, whatever mine is." She went on to say that they also trade "margarita recipes with each other like a skinny watermelon." 

Of course, Anstead and Young don't only chat about margs and granola-based snacks. The following month, Young revealed to E! News' Daily Pop that she contacted El Moussa's ex for advice after she started spending time with his and Anstead's two kids. Explaining that she's regularly around their children, Young added, "So it's only natural for me as a woman to want to reach out to her as their mom and be like 'Hey, I'm with your kids. Do you have any tips? Can you help me? I'm new at this. Like I don't know what I'm doing.'" 

What a respectful and chill thing Anstead and Young have going on. Skinny watermelon margaritas and go-to granola bars all around!

Heather Rae Young sent Christina Anstead Mother's Day flowers

Well, this was a nice gesture. When Mother's Day 2020 arrived, Christina Anstead took to her Instagram Stories (via People) to thank Heather Rae Young for sending her a flower arrangement, which arrived with a note from Anstead and Tarek El Moussa's children. Aww!

Clearly, Young has made it a point to have some sort of relationship with her beau's ex-wife. Regarding her decision to reach out to Anstead when she and El Moussa began dating, she told E! News' Daily Pop, "I was the first girl that he openly dated and introduced to his children since the divorce. I really think about, how would she feel as their mother, and a new girl is living with the kids? It's only natural for me."

Previously speaking about Young and his ex-wife's positive dynamic, El Moussa himself said during a September 2019 episode of Strahan, Sara, and Keke, "They get along great. They both eat that healthy, hippy food. That weird juice. They do that weird hiking stuff. You know all that weird stuff." Around that time, Young told Entertainment Tonight that she and Anstead "got along great" right away, adding that El Moussa's ex is "super sweet." Meanwhile, when speaking with Us Weekly in April 2020 about her relationship with Young, Anstead emphasized, "We all get along." Hm, we're beginning to sense a theme here.

Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young chose a strange time to move

Do you know what else has happened in Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young's first year together? They moved during a global pandemic, that's what. In April 2020, smack-dab in the middle of COVID-19 outbreak, People reported that the couple had moved to a different house in Orange County. El Moussa quipped to the outlet that the process was "chaos," but Young said they were "making it work."

To be fair, they started looking for a new home before the pandemic spread, and El Moussa had already put his Costa Mesa house up for sale after they put in an offer on another place, but wound up backing out when they ultimately decided it was not right for them. The couple switched gears when El Moussa's house quickly sold and landed on a rental place in Newport Beach. It is, as El Moussa explained to People, "Our in-between house until we build or find the perfect house."

The Costa Mesa house is the one El Moussa moved into after he and Christina Anstead split. He shared with People that leaving the home was "especially sad" for him, explaining, "It's the first place that I felt like I had a home for the kids." However, he felt ready to "move on to the next chapter" and "[let] a piece of the past go." We'll raise a skinny watermelon margarita to that.

Tarek El Moussa appears on HGTV shows with his ex-wife and his current bae

With the ninth season of Flip or Flop, the HGTV series Tarek El Moussa still hosts with ex-wife Christina Anstead, set to air in August 2020, that year saw our guy appear on TV alongside both his past and current loves. 

That March, Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa premiered on the network, and as he previously noted on Instagram, he even filmed some scenes with one Heather Rae Young. "We were both excited and nervous but we had a blast!!" he wrote. "She was so cute on camera I couldn't stop smiling!" In May, Young opened up about the experience of shooting with her beau on Instagram, writing in part, "It was our first time filming a show together and we had such a great time."

Though Young has filmed scenes with El Moussa for one of his reality shows, El Moussa notably did not appear alongside his current bae during the second season of her reality series. That season of Selling Sunset just so happened to be in production right when the two began dating, and while his name does come up several times, El Moussa's physical absence is due to his contract with HGTV. "I would love if Tarek could film with me," Young told E! News' Daily Pop, "but unfortunately, right now he can't because of his network and his show." 

Tarek El Moussa gave Heather Rae Young quite the birthday gift

Talk about raising the car, er, bar for future birthday presents. In September 2019, Tarek El Moussa gave Heather Rae Young a luxury vehicle for her 32nd birthday. "We both share a love of sports cars and on our first date I asked her what her dream car would be," he told People at the time. "She told me that she has always dreamed of a white Ferrari convertible." Evidently, the dude was listening and taking notes: a mere two months after they began dating, El Moussa presented the birthday girl with a brand spankin' new white Ferrari convertible. 

So, where does a gift giver go from there? Well, for Christmas 2019, El Moussa gave Young an entire Ferrari car dealership — just kidding! A little before the holiday season, the Flip or Flop star went the jewelry route. Around that time, Young revealed to Us Weekly, "When we were in Paris, he gave me a beautiful watch and I feel like I can't really expect more since it is such an amazing gift. I'm in love with it and it was very special that he gave it to me when we were in Paris." Oui!

Inside Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young's engagement

True to form to their whirlwind romance, Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young marked one year together with two major relationship milestones. On July 25, 2020 — just three days after celebrating the pair's first anniversary — the Flip or Flop star asked for Young's hand in marriage during a boat trip to Catalina Island, Calif., People reports.

El Moussa announced the engagement news on Instagram, captioning a sweet snapshot of the proposal with a simple and humorous, "She said yes! #FlippingHerLastName." For her part, Young shared the same pic with her followers, writing, "The Future Mrs. Tarek El Moussa!!!!" While the Selling Sunset star wasn't expecting her man to pop the question during their romantic getaway, El Moussa had it all planned out — from asking for (and receiving) her parents' blessing to the handsome tux he wore to setting the scene on the beach — and got down on one knee underneath a pair of palm trees, which sat at the end of a path lined with candles and Young's favorite flowers.

Explaining the meaning behind this location to People — these lovebirds "love to be on the boat together," and Catalina Island happens to be a "special place" for them — El Moussa even shared the details on Young's gorgeous, eight carat diamond engagement ring. "The diamond is perfect all the way around, just like Heather," he gushed. "I also picked this ring because 8 is a lucky number."