It was something he never expected to hear. Just one month after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2013, Tarek El Moussa found out he also had testicular cancer. “No joke, I thought I was going to die,” the Flip or Flop star exclusively tells Us Weekly. “I was like, ‘Two cancers?’”
Right by Tarek’s side was his then-wife, Christina El Moussa. “She helped me out a lot. She made sure I took all my meds and she had to make certain meals for me,” he recalls.
Through it all, the HGTV star, now 36, managed to put on a brave face. “I literally filmed ’til the day I went into my surgery, and within two weeks after, I was back on camera,” he tells Us. “It was definitely difficult to do, but it definitely pushed my mental strength to the limits. … I just kept moving forward.”
Fast-forward to present day and Tarek is cancer-free, but the prospect of the disease returning is one that stays in the back of his mind. “My doctor told me there is a 30 percent recurrence rate, so that is something that’s always there,” he admits.
With his own battle under his belt, the real estate agent (whose close friend and contractor Frank Miller died of cancer in November) recently teamed up with the Movember Foundation, a multinational charity, to help raise awareness for other men to take charge of their health. “Before my cancer diagnosis, I never realized what a big thing cancer was, and I never realized who can get it, and I never realized how many people have it,” he tells Us. “I think it’s very important, through the foundation, to spread awareness and make sure men are educated on how serious this is and make sure to take care of themselves.”
These days, Tarek’s family has been one of his biggest support systems. Since he and Christina, 34, announced in December 2016 that they had split after seven years of marriage, the reality stars have put their differences aside to amicably coparent their children, Taylor, 7, and Brayden, 2. “If Mom and Dad don’t get along, it can affect the kids, so Mom and Dad better get along,” Tarek tells Us, adding that he is not “dating anyone exclusively” at the moment.
Taylor and Brayden, for their part, are doing just fine. “[My relationship] with my daughter is the strongest it’s ever been,” Tarek gushes. “We are like absolute best friends, and same with my son.”
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