When the Flip or Flop star found out his former spouse and current HGTV costar had tied the knot with British TV personality Ant Anstead in a secret ceremony in December, he says he was shocked, but surprisingly “at peace.”
A big part of his reaction, he explains, was because of Ant.
“I think finding out [about the wedding] made me realize 100% closure. And it made me realize that it’s a good thing for my kids, based on what I know about Ant,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively. Christina, who is changing her last name to Anstead, and Tarek share daughter Taylor, 8, and son Brayden, 2.
While Tarek and Ant, who hosts Discovery’s Wheeler Dealers, see each other regularly at school functions, they don’t have a relationship beyond pleasantries. “We say hi. That’s about it,” Tarek says.
But Tarek has been getting the scoop from his kids on their new step-dad.
“Of course I ask my kids about things they do, and what’s going on, and they always say good things about him, Tarek says. “So as a father, it’s good to know that there’s hopefully a good man in my kids’ lives besides me.”
He also feels that Ant is leagues ahead of some other past candidates for the role.
“It could have been someone else. It could have been a s–ty guy, you know? And that would have been a problem,” he says, adding, “I don’t want to get into the previous guys dated, but I would say Ant is, by far, better. Like, lightyears.”
His daughter, Taylor, in particular is adjusting well, he says. “She’s smart. She knows what’s going on. She knows how the world works,” he says. “I think for her, maybe it’s a good thing too, to get some security in her life. I think stability is great.”
And as a parent, he notes, putting his kids’ well-being first helps him see everything else more clearly.
He tells PEOPLE, “At the end of the day, no matter how you look at any situation, you have to say ‘I have children. So is it good for the kids? Or is it bad for the kids?’ Whenever something is frustrating me, upsetting me, bothering me, whatever it might be, I always go back to my foundation, which is my children. It’s not about me anymore. It’s about them.”
Tarek and Christina split publicly in December 2016 under dramatic circumstances, though they continue to work together on Flip or Flop and are committed to amicably coparenting Taylor and Brayden.
In July, Tarek bought a new home in Costa Mesa, Calif., which he told PEOPLE has “the absolute coolest bachelor-pad-meets-family-house vibes.” It’s also two blocks from Christina’s new home in Newport Beach.
Christina and Ant began dating in the fall of 2017, after being introduced by a mutual friend. On December 22, they surprised friends and family with a backyard wedding that involved Taylor and Brayden as well as Ant’s two children from a previous marriage, Archie, 12, and Amelie, 15.