'Flip or Flop' 's Tarek El Moussa Opens Up on Split from Christina – and Denies He Was Suicidal During Gun Incident

The couple announced their split in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE in December

Source: Tarek El Moussa/Instagram
Photo: Source: Tarek El Moussa/Instagram

Tarek El Moussa is opening up about his divorce from his wife, Christina, and also gave his side of an incident last year that saw police called to his home for reports that he was armed and “possibly suicidal.”

On Tuesday morning, the Flip or Flop star appeared on the Today show, where he addressed the couple’s decision to separate after seven years of marriage following the May 23, 2016 incident.

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 – including bobcats and rattlesnakes.

“There’s mountain lions, bobcats and rattlesnakes and big wildlife back there… I went out for a hike to scout some trails, it wasn’t even a big deal. I didn’t understand,” he said of the incident. “It got really blown out of proportion.”

Tarek insists he wasn’t suicidal, saying, “Never. Never. Absolutely never.”

WATCH: ‘Flip or Flop’s’ Christina El Moussa on How Her Marriage Fell Apart: ‘We Weren’t Even Driving to Set Together’

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE magazine, Christina El Moussa gave her side of why the marriage between the home-improvement power-couple fell apart.

Tarek opened up about his battle with cancer as well, revealing that soon after learning he had thyroid cancer — which was spotted by a fan who noticed a lump on his neck in 2013 — he was also diagnosed with testicular cancer.

He is now in remission now, but decided to come out about his testicular cancer in order to raise awareness of the disease.

  • 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, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

The Flip or Flop star also spoke about continuing to remain on good terms with Christina, even continuing to shoot their show together. Their priority, however, is their two children, 1-year-old son Brayden and 6-year-old daughter Taylor, he said.

“The No. 1 goal is to co-parent our children,” he said. “We have to make sure we remain friendly because we have to make sure they have good parents.”

Nearly a month after announcing their split, Tarek’s lawyer revealed to PEOPLE in early January that the HGTV star filed to legally separate from his wife. PEOPLE also confirmed that Tarek is requesting spousal support from Christina.

In an exclusive statement to PEOPLE in December, the couple announced their split, noting an altercation that involved a gun, which prompted police to visit their Southern California home in May.

“Like many couples, we have had challenges in our marriage,” the pair said in the 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.”

The El Moussas, who wed in 2009 and share two children together, said they sought counseling to “sort out” the relationship and decided to separate while evaluating “the future of our marriage.”

“During the process, we are committed to our kids and being the best parents we can be,” they said in the statement. “We will continue to work through this process civilly and cooperatively, and plan to continue our professional life together.”

While reports that inappropriate texting played a part in the May 22 incident, sources close to the couple said that simply wasn’t the case: “There was never any infidelity in the marriage.”

The El Moussas, who continue to work together amid their relationship issues, made their first joint public appearance on Feb. 10 at the 2017 Investor Summit in Las Vegas since they announced their divorce.

Just days later, Christina thanked the “amazing crew” that she and Tarek share on the home renovation show for their hard work on season 7. “I’ve never met a group of more positive, fun-loving, funny… all around amazing guys … filming 7 seasons of #FlipOrFlop has been a breeze because of them. I [heart emoji] each and every one of you,” she wrote alongside a photo of the smiling crew.

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