He's the host of HGTV's reality-TV hit "Flip or Flop," but lately the headlines have come from his personal life. Tarek and Christina El Moussa have called it quits as a couple, and police visited their home after allegations that Tarek was seen fleeing with a rifle.
The El Moussas were guests on The Doctors in 2013, when Tarek was struggling with thyroid cancer at only age 31. Tarek has now revealed that he was also fighting testicular cancer at the same time.
First, Tarek wants to set the record straight. He has a legal permit for the firearm and took it with him for safety while hiking in the wild area behind his home. He heard the police helicopter while hiking. He says, “I looked around and said, 'Jeez, who they looking for?' – turns out they were looking for me!”
Rosie Mercado asks how he and Christina got past the tabloid attention on their breakup while battling two kinds of cancer at the same time and trying to raise their young children. Tarek says, “At the end of the day we're just normal people, like you folks. What's important is the family and the kids.”
He is officially cancer-free as of last month, but it hasn't been easy. “For me, the worst part wasn't cancer, for me it was the aftermath,” says Tarek. Both cancers affected his hormone levels, he was left with no thyroid gland, and he experienced 60-pound weight swings. “It was an emotional and physical roller coaster.”
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon asks Tarek whether he regrets choosing a reality-TV career in hindsight. “Yes, I regret it … and no, I don't regret it!” he replies. After all, his show might have saved his life. It was Flip or Flop that led him to get his thyroid cancer diagnosis.
A nurse in Texas watched the show and saw the lump in his neck. She sent an email telling him to get his thyroid checked for cancer. His own doctor had already dismissed the lump as a “fatty mass,” but the nurse was right.
ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork asks whether his hormones are balanced now. “The hardest part is finding that sweet spot. You look really good!”
“For the first time in a long, long time, I feel good,” he replies. It's taken three tough years, but his doctors at UCLA have worked out a good regimen for him.