EXCLUSIVE: Tarek El Moussa Responds to Christina's Divorce Filing, Reveals the Toughest Thing About Separation
By Desiree Murphy
Tarek El Moussa is opening up about life as a single dad.
With help from event planning company Glittery and Stylish events, the Flip or Flop star hosted an extravagant birthday party for his 2-year-old son, Brayden, in Buena Park, California, over the weekend, and only ET was invited inside the monster truck-themed bash.
Tarek told ET's Lauren Zima that this year's party was "definitely" bigger than last year's soirée. He and his estranged wife, Christina El Moussa, decided to delegate separate events for Brayden this year in an attempt to make it "a little more comfortable for everyone involved."
"Unfortunately today, [Christina]'s not going to be here," Tarek explained. "We've been going through our situation and I felt like today -- it might be better if we just stay separated."
The party came just four days after Christina filed her response to Tarek's divorce petition, in which she requested joint legal and physical custody of Brayden and their daughter, Taylor, who turns seven next month. She also requested spousal support and asked that Tarek pay her attorney fees.
"It's part of the process," Tarek said, when asked how he felt about Christina's response. "Eventually we're going to get divorced, continue to work together [on Flip or Flop], co-parent, live great lives."
Though fans of the HGTV stars first heard of the split last December, Tarek confirmed to ET that he and Christina were actually separated long before the news broke. He says one of the biggest factors that led to their breakup was communication.
"The hardest part, it's tough to answer," he said. "Obviously when you separate your entire life changes, so I think the hardest part is adjusting to a completely new life. It's a totally different life than I used to live."
"I'm big on communication and I feel one of the problems we were having was communication," he added. "There's so many things, it happened so fast, you know? It was like back to back to back to back and we slowly started separating … I think just life happens. There's so much, so fast, especially in this day and age. [Our relationship] just kind of fell apart."
Despite the split, Tarek seems to be doing just fine, as he's slowly starting to put himself back on the market.
"Yeah, I'm dating," he revealed. "Like, nothing serious or exclusive, but I'm dating, yeah. It's great, having fun."
But his No. 1 priority is, of course, his children.
"I think what makes a good dad is understanding and patience, because kids move so fast and they don't understand how everything works all the time," he explained. "I think a lot of times it's easy to get frustrated as opposed to actually listening and understanding, taking a step back and trying to diffuse the situation if it's getting out of control. Listening and understanding children is a really big part."
"No matter what you do, they're going to be aware of the [divorce] situation," he continued. "So, the best thing that we've done is let them know that we love them… we still love each other, you know, and we're still family. We're still a unit."