Right after college, Christina began working in the real estate industry in Southern California — where she met her husband, Tarek El Moussa. Their first date was magical, and from that moment forward, the couple was inseparable. The dynamic duo tied the knot in 2009, and recently celebrated their 7th wedding anniversary on April 16th.
Back in 2008, the successful couple were selling California’s million-dollar mansions like hotcakes. But sadly, the housing market plummeted after the October stock market crash. After the devastating hit, they went from living in a $6,000/month house to a $700/month apartment.
"We have had our struggles since we first started dating. The beginning of our relationship was very tough and she rode the wave with me, never complaining about our situation. She was always by my side. She was filled with love even though we were struggling financially. We did not know how to pay our bills. I will never forget when we had Taylor and she never bought maternity clothes because we couldn’t afford them. I will never forget going to Subway to split $5 footlongs from Subway because that is all we could afford.”
TV Deal with HGTV
Four years after hitting rock-bottom, a silly home video landed the El Moussas on HGTV. It all started when Tarek decided to make an audition tape. Together, the couple filmed the entire process of house flipping, from start to finish. The audition tape was sent to HGTV and the rest is history! In 2012, HGTV signed the couple to Flip or Flop.
The couple had landed their first television contract, but HGTV was nervous that viewers would respond negatively to a series about flipping foreclosed and distressed homes. Because of this, Flip or Flop originally aired at 11 p.m. But after the premiere on April 16, 2013, there was no question — America loved the El Moussas.
The show was a breakout success. As of 2013, Tarek and Christina were making $10,000 per episode. That’s a nice little extra chunk of change if you ask me — and with the ratings they have, I’m sure they’ve received a raise or two over the last three years. The El Moussas are living proof of the ‘American Dream.’
But in 2013, tragedy struck the happy couple. The devastating news came after a registered nurse named Ryan Read was tuning in to their show. Read noticed a suspicious lump on Tarek’s throat and immediately sent the show’s production company an email with her concerns, which prompted Tarek to get the lump checked out.
Sadly, the test results confirmed the couple’s worst nightmares: cancer. The lump, along with other ailments like a cough they had been attributing to Tarek’s heavy smoking, was a symptom of stage 2 thyroid cancer.
That same month, Tarek had his thyroid and lymph nodes removed and underwent radiation. After surgery and extensive treatment, Tarek shared that ultimately, God turned the horrifying event around and used it for good — like only God can do. It’s simply incredible to see how the Lord used one devoted Flip or Flop fan to speak up and save Tarek’s life. But Tarek’s bout with cancer didn’t just affect his day job — it also derailed the couple’s plans for a second child.
Determined to grow their family, the couple went through two heartbreaking failed attempts at IVF — including one that sadly resulted in a devastating miscarriage at eight weeks.
“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 did everything we could to make sure this one worked.”
“Since my delivery with Taylor [their first-born daughter] was so fast and easy, everyone (including myself) thought this labor and delivery would be the same… but everything was different. When I arrived at L&D my contractions were 4 minutes apart and I was only dilated 3 cm. They told me I could go home. I was in so much pain, they recommended I go for a walk and see if it helped. After an hour walking around Frys Electronics, contractions were 3 minutes apart and hurt worse than ever. Still, I was only 4 cm dilated. After trying all labor inducing techniques, I was finally ready to push five hours later. I pushed HARD for 2 hours but his shoulders were stuck and his heart rate kept dropping. In the end, I had to go in for an emergency c-section. Because he was such a big boy, my Doctor was concerned he just was too big to make it out of me.”
“With Taylor [their first-born daughter] I felt great afterwards. I went for a 2 mile walk 3 days later. It was so easy, but she only weighed 5 lbs 13 oz and I only pushed for about 30 minutes. Brayden weighed 8 lbs 10 oz and I pushed for 2 hours with no progression. C-sections suck. I felt like I got beat up by a world champion boxer. My entire body hurt, literally my entire body… and it felt like my stomach was going to fall open when I stood up. It is such a gross feeling. I wore this girdle thing to keep my stomach in and that helped. For 2 weeks I felt like sh&$. Really, like sh&$. So I asked for help, which I don’t normally do.”
The El Moussas had overcome so much and were so grateful for their handsome little boy. But they were still coping with Christina’s recovery. That’s precisely when an angry internet troll made it their mission to attack the already struggling family.
“She is also the woman of my dreams. To this day when she walks in the room I get goose bumps because I know how amazing she is. She is the person in my life that I can share anything with. I am not an easy person to deal. With that being said, she never looks down upon me. I love her more and more every day. She is absolutely my soul mate and I know I am the luckiest man alive. She really is a freaking rockstar mom, wife and person.”
Not only do the El Moussas portray a beautiful picture of marriage and parenthood, we just love how they share their faith. Tarek and Christina take time out of their busy schedule to attend church with their little family — and they’re sure to participate when it comes time for worship.