Three months before Tarek and Christina El Moussa announced that they were separating after seven years of marriage, the Flip or Flop stars told PEOPLE that renovating their Yorba Linda, California, home had caused years of stress.
“We had a lot of problems,” Tarek said of the renovation process in August — three months after police were called to their home amid an allegedly violent altercation that the couple deemed a “misunderstanding” in a statement to PEOPLE on Monday.
Of the mounting stress caused by home work, 33-year-old Christina told PEOPLE this past August: “We actually kind of remodeled our home twice. The first remodel was about 25 percent in, and it was a totally different look — it was more of a rustic look. As it started I was like, ‘You know what, I just love gray, black and white, and I really want to move forward with that look.’ So we just ended up clearing everything out and starting fresh.”
Although the changes were Christina’s idea, Tarek was on board.
“To make a happy wife and a happy life, we started over,” he said.
But that wasn’t the only major bump in the road. The El Moussas said initially choosing the wrong contractor meant that the renovations took much longer than they had been anticipating.
“We ended up having to move out to a tiny hotel for three months,” said Christina. “Then we lived with my parents for another month, and then we still moved back into a construction zone for a few months.”
“So it’s been a stressful couple of years,” added Tarek, 35.
In addition to the stressed caused by their home renovations, the couple also faced other obstacles during their years of marriage, including Tarek’s battle with thyroid cancer in 2013 and Christina’s fertility issues preceding the conception of their second child.
On Monday, the HGTV stars announced their split.
“Like many couples, we have had challenges in our marriage,” the pair said in a 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.”
“During the process, we are committed to our kids and being the best parents we can be,” the statement continued. “We will continue to work through this process civilly and cooperatively, and plan to continue our professional life together.”