Tarek El Moussa Says It's 'Very Important' for His Three Kids to Understand His Past Mistakes (Exclusive)

The HGTV star is dad to daughter Taylor and sons Brayden and Tristan

<p>Andrea Domjan Photography</p> Tarek El Moussa with his three kids.

Andrea Domjan Photography

Tarek El Moussa with his three kids.

Tarek El Moussa isn't afraid to share his past with his kids.

The Flipping El Moussas star, 42, who is opening up about his personal struggles in his new book Flip Your Life: How to Find Opportunity in Distress — in Real Estate, Business and Life (out Feb. 6), chatted with PEOPLE before the book's release about whether he worries about his three kids learning of his difficulties and dark past.

Tarek is dad to daughter Taylor, 13, and son Brayden, 8, whom he shares with his ex wife Christina Hall, 40, as well as 12-month-old son Tristan, whom he shares with wife Heather Rae El Moussa, 36.

"I think it's very important for them to read this, because they know me as the dad they know today — happy, positive, loving, fun, caring, giving — and I think it's important for them to understand, no, I wasn't always like that," Tarek says.

"And in their lives, they're going to go through hard times and it's not always going to be rainbows and butterflies," he adds. "When hard times come, you have to be prepared, you got to be ready to fight and you got to keep going."

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Related: Tarek El Moussa's 3 Kids: All About Taylor, Brayden and Tristan

Elsewhere in the interview, Tarek revisited the altercation with a gun that led to the end of his marriage with Hall, telling his side of the story for the first time.

He described the weeks immediately after his split as “physical and emotional hell,” and in Flip Your Life, writes of hiding out on his boat, drinking himself unconscious and going through extreme withdrawal from the testosterone he’d been taking until friends stepped in to get him to a rehab facility.

Seven years on, however, both he and his ex-wife have healed considerably.

“I hold nothing against Christina. I understand why she did what she did. We had a lot of hard years through my sicknesses and my mental health struggles from the testosterone.” He took a long pause. “I've never said any of this, ever.”

The exes continued to film their show together for several years, which made it difficult for Tarek to move on, but today he said their relationship is “better than it's been ever since the separation. We all communicate well, even Heather and Christina. We really focus on the kids."

Tarek and Heather welcomed their son Tristan one year ago and have been enjoying spending time with their blended family.

The couple posted a sweet family photo on Instagram for Christmas with their entire family, which included all three kids.

Heather and Tarek shared a photo of their blended family smiling together, with Heather holding baby Tristan in her arms and taking a minute to honor her son's monumental Christmas with a sweet caption.

"Merry Christmas from the El Moussa family ❤️ There’s nothing better than waking up on Christmas morning, looking around and feeling like you already have everything you could want," the two wrote in their joint caption.

"Family is truly everything - We hope you all get to slow down a little today to be with your loved ones! It’s Tristan’s first Christmas so we’ll definitely be soaking every moment in with our crazy little monsters 🥰."

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