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February 22, 2017 08:09 AM

 

Flip or Flop’s Christina El Moussa opens up about her very public divorce and why she’s “genuinely happy” for the first time in years. Subscribe now for the exclusive interview — only in PEOPLE!

Christina El Moussa is opening up about the terrifying day that she decided to leave her husband of seven years, Tarek.

Back in May, the Flip or Flop stars quietly separated after a scary incident at their Southern California home. According to a Yorba Linda police report, Christina — who was reportedly hysterical and crying — called police, believing Tarek was suicidal after he fled their home with a gun following a heated argument. (On the Today show on Tuesday, Tarek said that he was never suicidal, and maintained that he went for a hike at Chino Hills State Park Main Ridge Trail and took a gun along  to protect himself from wild animals.)

After calling 911, a helicopter and 11 police officers were dispatched to the scene and found Tarek in nearby Chino Hills State Park — the final moment that Christina says was the breaking point in their marriage.

“It just made me realize that us being separated was healthier for both of us,” Christina tells PEOPLE.

  • For more from Christina El Moussa on how she’s coping with divorce in the spotlight, co-parenting and continuing to work with her ex, Tarek, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Following the alarming episode, the HGTV star and the couple’s two children — daughter Taylor, 6, and son Brayden, 18 months — moved in with the family nanny for six weeks.

“I didn’t necessarily know that we weren’t going to get back together,” says Christina, who returned to the family home with their kids after Tarek had moved out. “It was after seeking therapy and trying to work things out that we both realized this is for the best.”

HGTV

A month after the couple exclusively announced their split to PEOPLE in December — describing the incident as an “unfortunate misunderstanding” — Tarek filed for divorce in early January, and is requesting spousal support from Christina.

Although the couple is legally separating, Christina wants nothing but happiness for the father of her two children.

“I’m happy for him and whatever steps he takes in his life,” says Christina, who adds, “and I just hope he’s happy.”

—With NATALIE STONE

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