Meet Christina Haack, the HGTV star who ditched her married name, post-divorce

Kerry Justich
·4-min read

Christina Anstead is returning to her roots and her maiden name, announcing on Wednesday that she's changed her last name back to Haack.

In an Instagram post, the Flip or Flop star explained that her grandmother, Mildred "Biddy" Haack was Christina's "greatest influence growing up." Now, after her 2018 divorce from Tarek El Moussa and 2020 divorce from Ant Anstead, it seems that Mildred was also her biggest inspiration when it came to once again changing her name.

"She was always real in a world of so many fakes. I spent the summers on my family’s farm and we would stay up all night talking. She’s the only person I’ve ever really trusted with my life," Christina wrote of her grandmother. "I miss her every single day. Taking back the family’s last name and know my grandparents are smiling from above."

Barbara Greenberg, a child and family psychologist, tells Yahoo Life that the television personality explained the decision quite pointedly. "Her grandmother was the only person that she totally trusted," Greenberg points out. "The implication is that she wants the name of somebody who she can trust, and that is not the two men who she’s divorced from."

While Christina hadn't changed her name between her marriages to El Moussa and Anstead, Greenberg explains that she's likely wanting to go back to her "original identity," especially after revealing her journey to "get to know myself more" after her most recent separation.

"In my clinical experience, when a divorce is more contentious, I’ve seen women be very, very ready to go back to their maiden name," Greenberg explains.

Laura Wasser, a Los Angeles-based attorney specializing in California Family Law, echoes Greenberg's sentiment. "They want to reclaim themselves and have a sense of self and go back to who they were if their marriage was not a happy one," she says of women returning to their maiden names.

Still, she tells Yahoo Life that it isn't unusual for others to keep their married name post divorce.

"Many women keep their names either because they’ve been identified for so long as a certain name that it’s difficult to change. Especially if they have kids, they want to have the same last night as their children. It’s helpful for school and travel," Wasser says. "Sometimes a person’s sense of self goes along with whatever their spouse’s name or who their spouse was in the world and they don’t necessarily want to lose that."

In terms of the process to make the legal change happen, Wasser says it's not difficult in California. "It's actually just a checkmark on the box when you file either your petition or your response for the divorce. You say, I want to return to my maiden name and you put what your maiden name is, so as the divorce judgement is granted, you get your maiden name back," she explains. "If you decide to do it later or another time, there are just other forms that you have to fill out."

As for Christina now having a different last name than her three children — Taylor and Brayden El Moussa who she shares with Tarek El Moussa, and Hudson Anstead who she shares with Ant Anstead — Wasser says that isn't uncommon either, nor is it an issue legally.

Greenberg adds that returning to a name that none of Christina's children share might even be a way to make things feel more "fair" for the half-siblings. "Maybe it's easier for her to have a different name from all of the kids, rather than share a name with child and not with the other two," Greenberg explains, noting that she of course has no way to know whether or not that factored into Christina's decision making.

Ultimately, the name change and Christina's personal reasons for it make it the best decision for her and her family.

"If she's feeling better and stronger because she changed this name to connect with her grandmother, then that's got to be good for the kids, too," Greenberg says.

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