Proud stepmom. Heather Rae El Moussa (née Young) is setting the record straight on her dynamic with her stepchildren, whom her husband, Tarek El Moussa, shares with ex-wife Christina Hall (née Haack).
“I’ve been a staple in their lives for a long time. And I worked really hard to have a strong relationship with them from the very beginning and be a good stepmom to them and their happiness is so important to me,” the Selling Sunset personality, 35, exclusively told Us Weekly of her relationship with stepdaughter Taylor, 12, and stepson Brayden, 7.
Heather — who wed the Flipping 101 With Tarek El Moussa personality, 41, in 2021 — also addressed online critics who claim that she favors her and Tarek’s 4-month-old son, Tristan, over her stepchildren.
“I don’t favor any of the children more than the others. They’re all important to me and I love them so much. And I wouldn’t be a mommy if I didn’t have Taylor and Brayden,” the California native said, adding that her husband shares joint custody of his kids with Hall, 39. “The truth is we have them 50 percent of the time and I don’t see them as much. And when we have them, we are busy. I’m not thinking about taking photos and videos … we have sports, we have tutoring, we have a strict bedtime.”
The model explained that she sometimes shares more Instagram photos of Tristan because she is with him all day, whereas the older children have school and extracurricular activities.
“It doesn’t mean that I’m not with my other kids as much [or] I don’t love them as much, but I just have more time with Tristan because I’m home with him,” she said. “People don’t understand my relationship with Taylor and Brayden. It’s OK. I know my strong relationship with them and how much we love each other, and I know what a devoted stepmom I am, and that’s all that matters.”
Taylor, for her part, gave her stepmother a glowing review during a season 6 episode of Selling Sunset, which hit Netflix in May. At Heather’s baby shower, the preteen declared on camera, “I’ve known you for four years now. I just want to say you’re the best mom ever, and I couldn’t have asked for anyone else.”
Heather told Us that the moment was “so special” to her. “She is just such a joy and she’s so sweet. I’ve had a strong relationship with her since she was 8 years old,” she said of Taylor. “So, to hear her say that — it just makes me so happy and melts my heart that she looks at me like that.”
The real estate agent also dished on her and Tarek’s coparenting dynamic with Christina, who wed Josh Hall in April 2022. (Following her 2018 split from Tarek, the Christina on the Coast personality was married to Ant Anstead, with whom she shares son 3-year-old son Hudson, from 2018 to 2021).
“Everyone’s in a good place. The most important people are the children and I think it’s important that if there’s any issues happening in the adults’ life, you don’t share that with the kids and you handle it in a professional, mature way,” Heather shared. “But I think we’ve all just realized there doesn’t need to be any animosity. Everyone is just here for one reason — to raise good kids — and it’s so much better to communicate and get along and talk through things when we have issues with the kids.”
As for Heather and Tarek’s relationship, the couple are making time to put each other first despite having a new baby on their hands.
“We are true best friends. We’re true soulmates. We’re joined at the hip,” the Netflix personality told Us. “Anytime [Tarek’s] feeling like he needs a little alone time, we’ll go on a date night. We just went to Vegas, that was like the first time really away from Tristan So, we did, like, a quick 19-hour trip to Vegas ‘cause daddy needed it and, and we just laughed. We had fun.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi