After weathering a high-profile divorce and battling cancer twice, Tarek El Moussa admits he was “completely broken.” But the Flip or Flop star says his world turned upside down the first time he met new girlfriend Heather Young.
“Physically, spiritually, mentally, I was so broken,” El Moussa, 37, revealed on PEOPLE Now. “I just never really thought I would open up to someone again. I never thought I would be vulnerable again.”
“I saw [Young] one day…and right when she smiled, I just lit up inside,” he says of the Selling Sunset star, 31. “I had this feeling that I hadn’t felt in like 20 years. I was married for a long time, I was with my ex for a long time. I hadn’t had that feeling towards another women. So it was really, really new and exciting.”
The HGTV host adds that although the former Playboy model is a “beautiful girl”, that’s not why they started dating. “She’s so amazing and supportive and strong,” El Moussa says. “She makes me feel better. She makes my life better.”
El Moussa says the pair — who confirmed their relationship on Instagram last week — have been officially “boyfriend and girlfriend” for a few months.
After having the end of his relationship with ex-wife and current co-star and business partner Christina Anstead play out in the public eye, El Moussa says he would’ve “very much” preferred to keep things more private this time around.
But when paparazzi photos of the pair kissing and cuddling on El Moussa’s yacht surfaced on July 29, he felt obligated to address the rumors: “At that point, I was like ‘Well, it’s kind of out there’,” El Moussa says. “I said ‘I guess it’s time to [talk about it].’ We let the world know what’s going on.”
Young has already met El Moussa’s two children, daughter Taylor, 8, and son Brayden, 3, (whom he shares with Anstead) as well as his mom, dad, step-dad and sister, he told Entertainment Tonight.
And El Moussa tells PEOPLE Now “I’m sure” she’ll meet Anstead, 36, in the future. Despite their divorce following a dramatic incident involving a gun and a 911 call, the exes are filming Flip or Flop together and remain on good terms.
“[Christina and I] share kids…and [Heather] is going to be around at sports games, family events and all those different things,” says El Moussa, whose solo series Flipping 101 w/ Tarek El Moussa premieres in 2020.
El Moussa and Young confirmed their relationship on Friday with sweet posts to their Instagram accounts.
“It’s official!!!! After more than 3 years on my own I’m so PROUD to say that this beautiful, sweet and talented young lady is my girlfriend!” El Moussa wrote, alongside a gallery of photos of the pair.
“I’ll be honest and say I never thought I would meet someone special in my life after the last three years. Then…out of the blue @heatherraeyoung walked into my life,” he continued. “The first time I saw her smile she “did that thing to my tummy” and I knew right away I needed to get to know her… so I asked her out!! She said yes”
“In life you can’t predict the future! I couldn’t predict divorce! I couldn’t predict two cancers! I couldn’t predict my back injury! You just never know what tomorrow brings”
“I just want to let the world know I met someone special that makes me want to be a better man. So let’s all welcome @heatherraeyoung into my life. It’s still new and we are both so excited for the future! So tell me!! Are we a cute couple or what.”
In August 2018, Anstead submitted divorce documents, citing “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for her split from El Moussa and requesting joint legal and physical custody of their two children.
She has since moved on and married British TV host Ant Anstead in a surprise wedding at their home in Newport Beach in December 2018. They are currently expecting their first child together.
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