The Big Secrets HGTV Stars Tried To Hide

HGTV has assembled one of the most popular groups of reality stars on TV. The friendly Chip and Joanna Gaines star in Fixer Upper and have made a real civic impact renovating properties in their hometown of Waco, Texas; Tarek and Christina El Moussa maximize their profits as the telegenic tandem of Flip or Flop; Nicole Curtis is a tough single mom who fights perceptions and dated attitudes while restoring old houses in Minnesota and Michigan; and Drew and Jonathan Scott are the witty Property Brothers, who try to stretch their clients' dollars by getting creative with design and real estate negotiations. While their respective programs paint these stars in the best possible light, each personality has harbored secrets they probably wish their fans didn't know.

Complaints about Flip or Flop real estate seminars

Everyone wants to learn how to make it big in the flipping world, and some HGTV stars may be taking advantage of that fact. Some fans of Flip or Flop said they were victims of a "bait and switch" by the show's stars, Tarek and Christina El Moussa, according to the Associated Press.

One man, a Florida pastor and teacher named Doug Stevens, said he attended a Success Path seminar advertised by the pair, who did not show in person for the event. Instead, representatives suggested patrons spend up to $40,000 in order to attend more classes, buy real-estate software and gain access to possible investors.

Promises of wealth didn't pan out, these students say, but someone got rich — the parent company of Success Path, Zurixx, reportedly made $130.1 million in 2015. The Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau have received more than 200 combined complaints related to the parent company since 2013.

The end of Tarek and Christina El Moussa's marriage

They somehow kept their breakup quiet for seven months, until December 2016, when TMZ uncovered an "explosive" argument that happened at their southern California home the previous May. That event led to a split for the Flip of Flop stars Tarek and Christina El Moussa, who have been married for seven years.

The argument prompted a large police response to their home, including a helicopter. Tarek, reportedly considered by authorities to be possibly suicidal, was seen by neighbors running from the property with a gun he had retrieved from a safe. Later, he said there was a misunderstanding about his mental state, and that the firearm was for protection from wildlife and not for any nefarious purpose.

As for the show's future, the El Moussas are trying to keep up appearances, playing down reports that both have moved on to other relationships, and that they'll make it work together for the camera. But will fans buy it all, knowing what they know?

Rehab Addict's biggest rehab failure

Rehab Addict star Nicole Curtis built her reputation by successfully renovating old houses in Minnesota and Michigan, but there's at least one property on Minneapolis' north side, which she bought for $2 in 2012 and promised to renovate within a year, that infamously remains unfinished. Curtis also owes delinquent taxes on the 117-year-old house, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

The situation involves a contractor who claims to have been stiffed on payment, arguments with peeved neighbors who have to live among the construction, and a local government that says she went back on her word.  Responding to comment on Facebook, Curtis said addressing the dispute with the contractor, which might move the needle on finally finishing the project, was "not worth" her time.

As of July 2016, the city of Minneapolis was considering taking Curtis to court, and maybe even taking back the house.

Nicole Curtis deletes Facebook post alleging a carjacking

Detroit police say Curtis was the victim of a robbery while visiting her hometown in 2015. On Facebook, she initially framed the crime as an attempted carjacking, saying the incident "made me question every single thing I have going on in my life," according to the StarTribune.

Later, she scrubbed the reference to carjacking from the post, before deleting the entire entry and replacing it with a revised post, in which she partly blamed the police and media for misunderstanding what happened, according to the Detroit Free Press. In the revised version, Curtis said a man jumped into the driver's seat of her car and reached for the keys, coming up empty, and instead grabbed bag that contained a laptop and other valuables, before he exited Curtis' car and fled in another vehicle. Police reported that no weapon was displayed, no words were exchanged and no threats or violent acts were made against Curtis.

Joanie Curtis testifies in court against her own daughter

Curtis' family has been a big part of her selling the Rehab Addict narrative to its audience. But it's not all wholesome nostalgia behind the scenes. In August 2016, Nicole's mother, Joan B. Curtis went to court requesting a personal protection order against her own daughter, reportedly accusing her of yelling and threatening her in "mental fits of rage" via phone calls, texts, email and in-person, according to The Detroit News. A judge denied the protection order, but advised Curtis to stay away from her parents anyway.

Nicole Curtis threatened with jail time in custody fight

At the same time Curtis was dealing with her mom in court, she was also facing a nasty custody battle. Judge Lisa Langton threatened her with a jail sentence if she didn't pay expenses incurred for her baby's father missing parenting times and attorney fees related to their boy, Harper, The Detroit News reported in August 2016. The boy's father, 53-year-old Minnesota businessman Shane Maguire, sued Curtis in November 2015, telling the court she was not cooperating. The judge ruled Curtis was not making enough of an effort with Maguire, saying Curtis tending to her TV show and book deal was not necessarily in the child's best interest.

The Detroit News also reported that "custody filings detail a contentious parenting fight involving a private eye, a midnight screaming match and make-up sex." Curtis in turn accused Maguire of exposing their son to "extreme violence and danger" by taking Harper to a Black Lives Matter demonstration, and she made charges of intimidation against Maguire.

Chip and Joanna put on spot about same-sex marriage

Chip and Joanna Gaines belong to the Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas where the founder and pastor, Jimmy Seibert, sermonized against same-sex marriage after the Supreme Court legalized it in all 50 states in 2015. The Gaineses, who describe themselves as principled Christians, appeared with Seibert for an interview the church published on YouTube, and seem to be in general harmony with Antioch's beliefs.

With Seibert also believing homosexuality is a choice, and that gays can be turned straight, Buzzfeed's Kate Aurthur asked in November 2016: If the Gaineses don't believe in gay marriage, would they discriminate against an LGBTQ couple appearing on Fixer Upper? HGTV issued a statement saying none of their shows discriminate, according to USA Today. Seibert responded as well, saying his church is not anti-gay.

Faced with possibly alienating one or more groups of supporters, the couple kept mostly silent on the matter until Chip wrote a blog post right after the new year. In it, Gaines said "disagreement is not the same thing as hate," that they care about everyone no matter their sexual orientation, and that his family wants "to fight for a world that knows how to lovingly disagree." Gaines did not come out supporting same-sex marriage or homosexuality, and has said nothing specifically discriminating on Fixer Upper.

Chip and Joanna had big financial woes before HGTV

Chip and Joanna experienced tough financial times until they hit it big with Fixer Upper. The Gaineses opened the first Magnolia Market in 2003. According to an Instagram post, Joanna says she was grateful for the 40 customers they had that day — a big difference from the crowds they see now.

According to Radar Online, in 2012 they were sued by the city of Waco and the local school district for collection of nearly $25,000 in delinquent property taxes dating to 2010. They also owed McLennan County about $3,500. After getting at least one extension, of the debt was paid off in 2014, when Fixer Upper was heading into its second season.

The couple even racked up serious fines earlier in their marriage, around $2,500 from animal control, for letting their three dogs roam off-leash in their old neighborhood, Radar Online reported. The Gaineses weren't going to pay because of poverty and principle, but authorities changed the couple's minds after arresting Chip in what amounted to a sting operation.

Alison Victoria of Kitchen Crashers destroys a building

It wasn't announced as a Kitchen Crashers project, but a Chicago property co-owned by host Alison Victoria, that she said on Instagram would be renovated, restored and reimagined, instead was accidentally razed — almost completely, except for the first-floor facade. The teardown was done improperly, according to the city inspectors, who in October 2016 issued a stop-work order and threatened up to a $5,000 fine for any further action being taken on the house, according to DNAinfo.

After announcing the project in May, and getting city permits in July that allowed Victoria to "deconvert existing 2 flat to a single-family residence and erect a new two-story bay window and second floor addition per plans," something went horribly awry when demolition time came. Victoria captioned an updated Instagram saying, "Demo didn't go as planned, but it definitely made for a sick photo shoot." Victoria also defended her actions in the comments (which were full of folks who doubted her full sincerity), adding that the existing bricks would be reused to build the house back up.

Love It Or List It hosts called actors, not renovators

Love It Or List It offers homeowners a choice at their big reveal: To accept their current home, which has been renovated by designer and co-host Hilary Farr, or to move into a new home procured by realtor and co-host David Visentin. But a North Carolina couple that appeared on the show in 2015, foster parents Deena Murphy and Tim Sullivan, made their own, third choice. According to Journal Now, they opted to sue the show's producers and its construction company for damaging their house, for misusing funds, for unfair trade practices, and for performing other substandard work. Even worse for the reputation of the hosts, the lawsuit refers to Farr and Visentin as being among a group of "actors," who were only casually involved in the renovation process.

These are serious allegations, which the show denied in a Facebook post, and vowed to fight vigorously.

The Property Brothers are a couple of clowns

They don't try to hide it anymore, now that they're successful TV home renovators, but Jonathan and Drew Scott grew up in Canada loving to dress as clowns. It's true! The twins always had an itch to perform, and clowning around at kids birthday parties was an early way to do it, they revealed to The Washington Post.

In one interview, Jonathan said he even got into doing magic tricks, which Drew says prevented his brother from ever getting dates. They joke about it now, but those teenage wounds don't always heal. The Scotts stopped clowning around for the most part (in clown makeup anyway), but there are also a few more of life's details the Scotts probably wish fans didn't know.

One Property Brother is engaged, the other divorced

Ideally, producers of Property Brothers probably would prefer if certain fans thought both men were vaguely attainable, or, single and looking. It's not the case right now for Drew, who proposed to girlfriend Linda Phan in December 2016, according to People. And it wasn't the case in the past for Jonathan, who got divorced after marrying very young, he told Your Tango in 2013.

One Property Brother needed a bar rescue

Nobody was arrested, detained or even mildly injured, but Jonathan Scott did earn himself minor street cred by getting into a bar fight in Fargo, North Dakota, in April 2016. In town with his brother to speak at a design conference, Jonathan later visited Dempsey's Public House and resisted leaving the establishment after staff told him to scram around closing time, according to the Daily Mail, who also shared video of the altercation.

After being escorted out, Scott returned with more obstinate behavior, and an employee resorted to using a choke hold in order to remove him again. Scott reportedly complained to police about the choke hold, but cops didn't see enough evidence to charge anyone with any offense. Perhaps worst of all, Jonathan was quoted by a staff member as saying, "Do you know who I am?" when asked to surrender his drink. 

Property Brothers diss Tiny Houses

Drew and Jonathan Scott ripped the concept of another HGTV show, Tiny Houses, to shreds while talking to the Omaha World-Herald in July 2016. "The problem is, tiny houses don't conform to code," Drew Scott said. "It's fine if you want something that's kind of a travel camper, something like that, but to actually think about living in a tiny home, it's not feasible for most families." True or not, HGTV probably wishes Property Brothers who don't like tiny houses didn't throw stones.