Tarek El Moussa Speaks Out About 2016 Gun Incident Before Christina Hall Split

The 'Flip or Flop' star also opens up about the end of his marriage to Christina Hall.

Tarek El Moussa is telling his side of the story of when he went out into Chino Hills State Park in California with a .38-caliber pistol, and police sent a helicopter out searching for him. 

In an excerpt from his book, Flip Your Life: How to Find Opportunity in Distress -- in Real Estate, Business and Life, that was released by People, the 42-year-old reality star recalls an incident that led in part to the end of his marriage to Christina Hall, who he starred alongside in HGTV's Flip or Flop and with whom he shares 13-year-old daughter Taylor and 8-year-old son Brayden.

In December 2016, news broke that Tarek and Christina had called it quits seven months prior after a heated argument led Tarek to flea into a nature area with a gun. At the time, the two said in a joint statement, "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."

Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

According to Tarek, on the day that Christina called 911, he had merely wanted to get some fresh air and exercise after the two had a heated argument. He claims he "went out to our backyard in Yorba Linda and hopped over the fence." He writes in his book that he brought the gun -- which he says he had a California concealed-carry license for -- with him as an "insurance policy," as there are wild animals along the nature trails. 

Tarek then says he remembers seeing a helicopter overhead and wondering if there was a wildfire nearby. It never occurred to him that the authorities were out looking for him.

"A police officer leaning out of the helicopter pointed a rifle at me. Dust swirled around me from the spin of the blades, and a loudspeaker crackled, 'Get your hands in the air!'" he writes. 

Tarek says the officer in the helicopter recognized him. "I heard an officer shout, 'Tarek?' I screamed back, 'Yes! I’m the guy from TV! What are you guys doing?'"

Once weapons were put away and nerves were calm, Tarek writes, "For the next several hours, I sat on a cooler on my driveway, handcuffed. That was the very last time we were together as a family: with Christina walking down the driveway, crying, and me sitting there in handcuffs, asking myself, What in the world is going on?"

After residing in what Tarek calls a "halfway house" for several months after his split from Christina, he says he had every intention of working on his marriage. But in 2017, Christina moved on with Ant Anstead, whom she was married to from 2018 to 2021 and shares 3-year-old son Hudson with.

"I would say devastating would be an understatement," he tells People of hearing of Christina's new romance. 

Despite their rough breakup after seven years of marriage, both Tarek and Christina have moved on. She's now married to Josh Hall and Tarek is married to Selling Sunset star Heather Rae. The two have a son named Tristan, who they welcomed in January 2023.

"I hold nothing against Christina," Tarek tells the magazine of his ex-wife. "I understand why she did what she did."

Flip Your Life: How to Find Opportunity in Distress -- in Real Estate will be released on Feb. 6, along with ET's exclusive interview with Tarek.