The ‘Flipping El Moussas’ star revisits the traumatic day for the first time in his new book ‘Flip Your Life’
Tarek El Moussa severely injured his back in 2015 shortly after recovering from cancer
His injury was due to several slipped discs pinching the sciatic nerve in his lower back
The HGTV star writes about the traumatic incident that led him to crawl to the hospital doors in his new book, Flip Your Life
Tarek El Moussa is reliving one of his most painful memories in his new book.
In Flip Your Life: How to Find Opportunity in Distress—in Real Estate, Business, and Life (out Feb. 6), the HGTV star, 42, opens up about a back injury that led him to feel “the worst pain” of his life just nine months after he had completed his cancer treatment. It started during a simple game of golf, he writes.
“I was finishing one of the last holes of the course when I felt a spasm in my back. Something was obviously wrong, because there was continuous pain,” El Moussa recalls. He adds that even though he knew he should’ve stopped playing “immediately,” he still pushed through the game.
And then things went very wrong.
“At the next tee, I set up for my drive and started my swing. As I came down to swing through, suddenly I was on the ground, seized by the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” the Flipping El Moussas host continues.
He says that the feeling “radiated” throughout his body and his lower back and legs “seemed to be on fire.”
His friends helped him into the golf cart, got him to his car and he managed to drive himself to the hospital. But when he pulled up to the emergency room, he writes, "[I] opened my car door, and tried to get out, I dropped to the pavement. I started crawling to the door. Nurses came running. All I could say was, ‘Please help me.’”
The incident at the golf course was the start of “fifteen months of a whole new medical challenge,” the dad of three writes, as a result of several slipped discs pinching the sciatic nerve in his lower back.
The treatment would lead to even bigger problems for El Moussa. "Instantly, my life became a hamster wheel of painkillers, medical specialists, and physical therapy, but nothing worked," he writes. He was taking Vicodin, Dilaudid and morphine.
Speaking to PEOPLE about the aftermath of his injury, he recalled, "After that I had that awful surgery with complications. And then after that I got on the testosterone, and then after that, Christina left me. So 2013, '14, '15, for four years, I've just lived through hell."
In addition to his harrowing health struggles, Flip Your Life goes deep on El Moussa's relationship with his ex wife and Flip or Flop co-host Christina Hall,
He tells his version of his “very public divorce," including the 2016 incident involving a gun and a 911 call that ended their marriage, after which he went through withdrawal from testosterone and entered rehab for two months.
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The exes share two children, daughter Taylor, 13, and son Brayden, 8. Since the split, both have remarried and expanded their families. El Moussa shares a 1-year-old son, Tristan, with his wife, Selling Sunset alum Heather El Moussa. Hall married Celebrity IOU: Joyride host Ant Anstead, with whom she shares son Hudson, 4. They split in 2020 and she later married real estate agent Josh Hall in 2022.
Speaking to PEOPLE in January, El Moussa revealed he has no hard feelings toward his ex-wife despite their rocky split.
“I hold nothing against Christina. I understand why she did what she did. We had a lot of hard years through my sicknesses and my mental health struggles," he says. And their relationship and Tarek's health are both in a better place than they have been in a long time: "I never gave up Through a lot of hard work, pain and just dreaming, I was able to get to where I am today.”
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