Tarek El Moussa is opening up about his past mistakes, and speaking with candor about his progress as a father.
The former Flip or Flop star, 42, was previously married to Christina Hall from 2009 to 2018, and the two share kids Taylor, 13, and Brayden, eight. He is now also a dad to son Tristan, one, who he shares with Heather Rae Young, his wife since 2021.
These days, though the HGTV star is proud of his role as a father now, he's not afraid to admit that it wasn't always the case, and how his explosive divorce from the Christina on the Coast star, 40, was the reality check he needed.
Speaking with E! News, Tarek confessed: "I wasn't a great dad. I wasn't even a good dad," adding: "I was stressed all the time. I was going through cancers and surgeries and hormones and steroids."
In the years leading up to his divorce from Christina, the real estate investor had suffered through battles with thyroid and testicular cancer, and was overly reliant on opioids to alleviate a previous back injury.
Still, looking back he said: "Every single thing that upset me, every single thing that stressed me out, meant nothing," maintaining: "The pain of losing my family was so much greater."
Tarek went on to recall the emotional transition of becoming a single dad, particularly the moment he realized he had never been by himself with his eldest daughter Taylor, who at the time was five years old.
He revealed: "I'm doing bath time and I'm combing her hair, and I'll never forget just crying. Because it was a defining moment of realizing what I had been missing and what's important in life," before noting how he and his kids "didn't even know each other."
However, eight years later, he can confidently say: "I'm proud to say I've been the absolute best dad possible."
Gushing about what makes each of his kids so special, he first shared Taylor is "such a beautiful, stunning young lady," and: "She's thriving at school. She's a rock-star athlete, plays soccer, volleyball — and she's just such a happy, happy kid."
Of his "mini-me" Brayden, he revealed: "He's ADHD, a little anxious, a little jumpy," though added: "And we've been having so much fun focusing on sports with him – jujitsu, soccer and he's obsessed with basketball."
Moreover, he said his relationship with his ex is "amazing," explaining: "Time heals. And enough time has passed to where all the anger and rage and the negative thoughts, I feel like they're finally gone," and ultimately noted: "The best thing that happened to me in my life, and the worst thing, was her leaving. Because it forced me to completely rebuild my life, and I started from the inside out."
Get the lowdown on the biggest, hottest celebrity news, features and profiles coming out of the U.S. Sign up to our HELLO! Hollywood newsletter and get them delivered straight to your inbox.