It’s the end of the year, folks, and oh, what a year it’s been. Let’s steer clear of all the politics and negativity and escape it all for a bit. If you’re looking for a fun read, then check out our top five articles of 2020.
From going down memory lane with pop culture hits like the 90s sitcom Step by Step, the life of Macaulay Culkin, and revisiting Flip or Flop to human interest stories like the spine-chilling true story of the Silent Twins and the man who lived a double life.
Enjoy the read!
Remember Step by Step? Some Cast Members Are Out of the Spotlight
“Step by step, day by day, a fresh start over, a different hand to play, the deeper we fall, the stronger we stay, and we’ll be better, the second time around!” Remember the song? The ‘90s was a classic decade ripe with some of the best family sitcoms. But for some reason, Step by Step falls just under the radar and doesn’t seem to get the admiration it deserves. It’s one of those sitcoms that was thoroughly enjoyed back in the day, only to be forgotten. That is until someone says to you: “Hey, remember Step by Step? I wonder what they look like now!”
Well, let’s just say that this “someone” is us, and instead of asking you, we’re just going to show you. Despite the fact that Step by Step was a big hit, many of the actors and actresses never continued their time in the limelight. Here is the cast of Step by Step as well as some of the more juicy facts from behind the scenes.
Is a Reboot on the Horizon?
For seven seasons, between 1991 and 1998, Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy played two single parents with three kids each who married and raised a blended family in Wisconsin. It was basically just a modern version of The Brady Bunch – but, dare I say, much better? So, would the cast ever consider doing a reboot?
Apparently, Patrick Duffy revealed he would be thrilled to get the Foster-Lambert unit back together on the screen again. The way he put it: “We all were a very close and loving family off-camera, and if the idea and the script were correct, I’m sure — speaking for myself and Suzanne because we’ve discussed it — we would be more than happy to resurrect the Lambert family.” Apparently, they have been approached about it often and have been in discussion as recently as 2019.
Let’s take a look back now…
Patrick Duffy aka Frank Lambert
Patrick Duffy played Frank Lambert, the patriarch of the Lambert family. Most viewers knew him from the smash hit prime time soap opera Dallas, where he played Bobby Ewing, the brother of J.R. Ewing. Duffy had just finished his first run on Dallas before joining the sitcom cast. Duffy graduated in 1971 from the University of Washington with a degree in drama.
Many don’t know that Duffy was an accomplished singer. He recorded a duet with French crooner Mireille Mathieu which reached #5 on the charts in Holland. After Step by Step was canceled, he found himself back in his biggest role, the 2012 Dallas reboot, Dallas: War of the Ewings.
Patrick Duffy Now
Like Christine Lakin, Duffy also did voice work on Family Guy, where he recreated the famous shower scene from Dallas. In 2016, he published a book called Man from Atlantis – a companion guide to his 1977 TV series of the same name. Duffy still makes guest appearances in movies and TV shows, including, most recently, Siddarth Kara’s Trafficked.
He hosted the game show Bingo America and took on a recurring role as Stephen Logan on the daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. The now 71-year-old is now a widow (he was married to Carlyn Rosser until 2017 when she passed away) and has two kids. For anyone who’s interested, he has an estimated net worth of 14 million dollars.
Christine Lakin aka Alicia “Al” Lambert
Christine Lakin played Al, the tomboyish all-American girl who was Frank’s only daughter. Lakin was born and raised in Roswell, Georgia, but quickly understood that her Hollywood dreams meant she needed to relocate to the West Coast. Her first major role was in the TV drama The Rose and the Jackal. During her time on Step by Step, she continued her studies.
She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Communications at the age of 20. She enjoyed continued success after Step by Step went off the air. In addition to Hollywood Darlings, she appeared in over 40 movies and TV shows, including Georgia Rule, The Game Plan, Boston Public, Veronica Mars, and Wild ‘n Out.
Christine Lakin Now
Lakin has remained close to Step by Step co-stars Patrick Duffy and Staci Keanan. The two even appeared in her mockumentary, Lovin’ Lakin. She also found a place for herself on the theater stage and as a voiceover artist. After Step by Step was canceled, Christine starred in the 2008 movie The Hottie and the Nottie with Paris Hilton.
She was also in two 2005 made-for-TV movies, Reefer Madness and Who’s Your Daddy? Here’s one for Family Guy fans: Lakin does the voice of newscaster Joyce Kinney in Family Guy as well as Jane in The Walking Dead: Season Two video game. The 41-year-old is married and has a daughter.
Brandon Call aka J.T. Lambert
Brandon Call played John Thomas (JT), the oldest kid in the Lambert family. In many ways, he was a typical jock – a Packers fan like his dad, uninterested in school and focused on sports. JT was then said to have dyslexia, which explained his problems in school. Call actually had a long list of credits before joining Step by Step, including St. Elsewhere, Webster, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, and Baywatch.
But, after Step by Step wrapped up, so did Call’s career. Call happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and was a victim of a shooting that left him with gunshot wounds in both of his arms. He hasn’t acted ever since…
Brandon Call Now
Brandon Call was involved in an incident that proved nearly fatal. He was driving home from the studios in Burbank when a car started to tail him. The driver cornered him, stepped out, and suddenly began firing at Call with a gun. He barely missed his head and chest, hitting both of his arms. The young actor managed to drive away and reach a police station.
Yes, it is absolutely strange and frightening. The shooter’s motive remains a mystery to this day, but authorities suspected that it was a traffic conflict. Call decided to stay out of the spotlight. Apparently, the 43-year-old is working at a gas station and car wash that his parents own in San Diego.
Sasha Mitchell aka Cody Lambert
Sasha Mitchell played Cody Lambert, Frank’s nephew. If you’re not a Dallas fan, then you might be surprised to hear that Step by Step wasn’t the first time he and Patrick Duffy worked together. Both appeared on Dallas, where Mitchell played Bobby’s nephew, James Beaumont. Before joining the sitcom, Mitchell appeared in several action films due to his background in martial arts. Later, he starred in the Kickboxer films, replacing Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Mitchell was fired from Step by Step at the end of Season 5 because of some personal issues that were making the news. He and his wife had four children before divorcing in 1997. During their marriage, police were called to their home to investigate reports of domestic abuse.
Sasha Mitchell Now
In 1996, Mitchell was convicted of domestic abuse and given three years of probation and was forced to do community service and attend counseling for spouse abusers. He then violated his probation and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. After the sitcom ended, Mitchell went back to acting. He appeared in several shows like ER, JAG, and NYPD Blue.
In 2010, he left the industry again but recently relaunched his career. He appeared in Drunk Parents with Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek. Mitchell has a black belt in Tae Kwan Doe and has been in local MMA tournaments. The 53-year-old remarried but never had any more children. I guess four is enough.
Suzanne Somers aka Carol Foster Lambert
Suzanne Somers was, of course, the matriarch of the sitcom, Carol Foster Lambert. Somers first rose to fame as Chrissy Snow on the 1970s sitcom Three’s Company. Thanks to the show’s massive success, she quickly became a household name. There was a period of time when her show business career stalled, and she gained notoriety for selling the Thighmaster exercise equipment on home shopping channels.
But playing Carol was a welcome return to TV for Somers, who was excited to have another major place on a sitcom. After the sitcom ended, she co-hosted a brief reboot of Candid Camera for CBS. She also appeared on Dancing With the Stars.
Suzanne Somers Now
Away from the camera, Somers made a name for herself as a health and wellness advocate. She has a line of cosmetics and supplements. Somers is also an author; she has published more than 20 books, on topics from diet to bio-identical hormone replacement. Somers has been the subject of controversy regarding her research and views on alternative cancer treatments.
After Step by Step ended, she remained in the spotlight but didn’t land any major acting roles. She did a one-woman Broadway show called The Blonde in the Thunderbird about her life. She also starred in a reality show focused on her life. The 73-year-old now hosts an Internet talk show called Suzanne Somers: Breaking Through.
Christopher Castile aka Mark Foster
Christopher Castile played Mark Foster, Carol’s only son. Castile began acting at a very young age. The Orange County native got his first major role came on the sitcom Going Places. He played Sam Roberts, the son of Dick Roberts, and his costar was Staci Keanan – his onscreen sister on Step by Step. Both sitcoms were created by the same producers.
Castile appeared in two very popular Beethoven films and voiced a character on the show, Hey Arnold! while he was still on Step by Step. But he retired from acting after the show ended. He went on to earn his BA and MA from Cal State Long Beach.
Christopher Castile Now
After several seasons of voicing the character of Eugene Horowitz on Hey Arnold!, he was replaced by Jarret Lennon. Ironically, Lennon was originally supposed to play Mark Foster on Step by Step. The 40-year-old is now a political science professor at Biola University, and he teaches history at Downey High School. I’m sure his students get a kick out of his star-studded past.
Castile was a talented young actor who received a number of Young Artist Award nominations, including Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series on Step by Step, 1992; Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture on Beethoven, 1992; Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Television Series on Step by Step, 1993; Best Performance by a Youth Ensemble in a Motion Picture on Beethoven’s 2nd, 1994; and Best Performance by a Young Actor in a TV Comedy Series on Step by Step, 1996.
Staci Keanan aka Dana Foster
Staci Keanan played Dana Foster, one of Carol’s two daughters. Keanan was born in Philadelphia and was given a very different name – Anastasia Love Sagorsky. She adopted her stage name (as many did and still do) to give her broader appeal. She was worried her real name would sound too foreign.
Keanan started off in TV commercials for Burger King and Hershey’s Kisses. She then did the voice of My Little Pony. She was also cast in the sitcom My Two Dads. From there, she landed her big break as Dana Foster in Step by Step. Like her TV mom, she was already familiar with the sitcom world. She starred in My Two Dads and Going Places before Step by Step.
Staci Keanan Now
After the show was canceled, Keanan appeared in a few movies, including You Again in 2010, in which she reunited with Patrick Duffy and Christine Lakin. But, Keanan has since retired from the acting world. She graduated from UCLA and then headed onward to Southwestern Law School. She passed the bar and, in 2013, was admitted to the State Bar of California.
The 45-year-old is now a practicing lawyer in Los Angeles under her original name Anastasia Sagorsky. In 2014, she worked as a prosecutor for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, handling felony cases of violent crime or death. As of 2019, she became a Deputy District Attorney in the LA County District Attorney’s office. Beauty and brains!
Angela Watson aka Karen Foster
Angela Watson played Carol’s other daughter, Karen Foster. Watson was in front of the cameras since she was in diapers. She was also a beauty pageant winner, with 60 crowns and 200 trophies during her time in the circuit in Florida and in several other southern states.
After she won Face Finders Model Search in Dallas, her family decided to relocate to Los Angeles so she could develop a show business career of her own. She did local theater productions and was eventually cast on Step by Step. After the sitcom ended, the beauty queen-turned-actress learned some devastating news.
Angela Watson Now
After the cancelation of the show, Watson learned that the money she had earned playing Karen Foster (which was roughly $2.5 million) was misspent by her parents. In other words, they blew away her fortune. After that, Watson was determined to protect other child stars from being victims and started an organization called CAST (Child Actors Supporting Themselves) in 2000.
Watson now spends her time helping young actors protect their earnings by getting them in touch with private investigators, accountants, and attorneys. She hasn’t been doing any acting, really. She does, however, have a good reputation in the acting community, having served on the Screen Actors Guild Board of Directors for several years.
Jason Marsden aka Rich Halke
Marsden played Rich Halke, J.T.’s best friend and confidant. But Step by Step wasn’t the first major role for this child actor. Jason Marsden was still in elementary school when he played Alan Quartermaine, Jr. on the soap opera General Hospital. He also had some major roles as a voice actor, including Max Goof in A Goofy Movie and the announcer of The Mickey Mouse Club.
He was already a staple of ABC’s TGIF programs by the time he became a full-time cast member. In addition to being on Full House, he also played a part in Boy Meets World. Marsden has been in a few films and shows over the years, but his most successful venture has been in voice acting.
Jason Marsden Now
Marsden has found major success in the world of voiceover acting, a lot of it well-received. He lent his voice to major feature animated films like Tarzan, Monsters Inc., Spirited Away, and The Secret Life of Pets, to name a few. But, sadly for Full House fans, he didn’t reprise his role as Nelson in the second season of Fuller House.
Fans can keep up with him on social media, though. In 2020, he started an online series for YouTube called The Mars Variety Show. It follows the style of The Dean Martin show, featuring musicians, comedians, and other performers. The 45-year-old married Christy Hicks in 2004, but the two just recently split up. He currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his son.
Josh Byrne Then and Now
Brendon Lambert, the youngest brother on Step by Step, was played by Josh Byrne. However, he had a strange disappearance from the show. In the last season, Brendon didn’t appear in any episodes – out of nowhere. There was no plot line that explained his absence, either. When Step by Step moved from ABC to CBS by the end of Season 6, Byrne didn’t make the move.
Before the show, Byrne had a short-lived recurring role on Who’s The Boss and a small role in the movie Mr. Saturday Night. Byrne decided to pursue a life away from the spotlight. The 36-year-old hasn’t acted since and currently lives in Thousand Oaks, California. Judging by his social media, it looks like he has a liking for the Renaissance and dressing up in costume.
Alexandra Adi, Then and Now
Alexandra Adi grew up in upstate New York but is originally from Miami, Florida. After her college graduation in 1993, she moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of acting. She landed some small roles on TV shows such as The Adventures of Pete and Pete, The Cosby Mysteries, and Cop Land. Her big break came in 1997, though, when she was cast on Step by Step as JT’s girlfriend Samantha “Sam” Milano.
After Step by Step, she took on minor parts in Hollywood blockbusters, with appearances in American Pie, Jawbreaker, and Slap Her… She’s French. She had guest-starring roles on CSI: Miami and Boy Meets World, too. She also took part in several successful bikini modeling campaigns. Now, the 49-year-old lives a quiet life with her husband and two kids.
The Opening Title
If you go and look back at the show’s opening credits, you’ll see that the role of the dorky brother Mark Foster was actually played by a brunette child named Jarrett Lennon, who was filmed in the unaired pilot. The producers then realized that they wanted to keep Carol’s kids as blondes and Frank’s as brunettes.
Lennon was then dismissed and replaced with Christopher Castile. The pilot was then re-shot, but for some reason, the opening credits weren’t. The blond Mark Foster got his own title card, but in the group shots with the whole family, there’s this mysterious brunette boy. The editors clearly tried their best to hide it.
The Tale of the Silent Twins: June and Jennifer Gibbons
When an expectant mother finds out she is pregnant with twins, it’s usually a joyous occasion —where she can imagine dressing them alike and watching them grow up together into beautiful, kind, healthy people. Unfortunately for parents Aubrey and Gloria Gibbons, that wasn’t the case. Their identical twin daughters, June and Jennifer, were noticeably different from other kids. They had a secret language and were eventually dubbed “The Silent Twins” because they refused to speak to anyone but each other.
Their family thought they were distancing themselves due to bullying, but there were darker reasons. The girls had a powerful and rather eerie bond, but they didn’t care for each other as much as they led on. After ending up in an insane asylum, the girls realized one of them had to die for the other to live a normal life. At the end, the fate of the girls didn’t have such a fairytale ending.
This is the spooky case of The Silent Twins…
Aubrey and Gloria Gibbons moved from Barbados to Britain in the early 1960s as part of the Windrush generation. Aubrey joined the Royal Air Force and was posted overseas. On April 11th, 1963, the proud parents welcomed identical twin girls into the world, June and Jennifer Gibbons. The girls were born in a military hospital in the British colony.
Later on that year, the family returned to the UK when Aubrey moved to the RAF base in Linton, Yorkshire. The family settled in, and the girls seemed happy and normal, despite the fact that they were late talkers. No one could have ever predicted the eerie direction their life would go in.
A Twin Thing
June and Jennifer were often described as “inseparable,” but that’s pretty common when it comes to twins. Their teachers mentioned that they would only speak to each other and to their dolls. The twins didn’t like hanging out with the other kids and slowly started to withdraw from their family, too.
Naturally, the more they distanced themselves from other people, the closer they got to each other. They also spoke in a “secret language” that no one else could understand. It’s only normal for twins to share a deep, strong bond, so at first, their behavior wasn’t too concerning. Still, there was something bizarre and creepy about the connection June and Jennifer shared.
A Couple of Copy Cats
As youngsters, the girls mirrored each other’s behavior. Apparently, the twins would walk side by side, taking steps with the same foot at the same time. But when anyone noticed and looked at them, they would just stop until the person looked away. (This seems like a classic twin horror movie.)
They chewed their bites at the same time and even coordinated their breathing. They even showed some psychopathic tendencies, like a lack of emotion. But for some reason, it didn’t raise any red flags… at first. Even though they didn’t speak to anyone other than each other, they loved literature and always expressed themselves through writing.
Bouncing Around From School to School
When they were eight years old, their dad was posted to RAF Chivernor, and they moved to Devon. Reportedly, the twins got bullied in school for their skin color, as well as their strange social skills. Of course, this made the girls even more reclusive and really separated themselves from the outside world. It was like they lived in their own little bubble.
In 1974, Aubrey was transferred once again to an RAF base in Pembrokeshire. The quiet 11-year-olds moved to the Furzy Park Housing estate in Haverfordwest with their family. The move wasn’t easy for them. They went to Haverfordwest County Secondary School with their big brother David, but they weren’t happy.
The Bullying Continued
Sadly, the bullying continued at their new school. In the 1970s, black twins weren’t often seen around Wales, so they were an easy target. The girls dealt with relentless torment and were frequently made fun of. The twins hated the school environment, and that’s when things got worse. Despite their love of literature, the girls refused to read or write in school.
Over time, they pushed away more and more people, including their parents. Eventually, they were detached from everyone and were alone in their silent world. Unfortunately, no one really paid attention to their troubling behavior. Their family just thought that they would eventually grow out of it.
Some Alarming Behavior
In 1976, everything changed. A medic came to give the students their TB jabs (vaccines). He was confused and concerned by the twins’ unemotional reaction to the injections and contacted a child psychiatrist. This was the twins’ first interaction with authorities, which ultimately led them to spend ten years in Britain’s most notorious secure mental institution.
The psychiatrist immediately noticed their problems with speech and sent them to a speech therapist at Withybush Hospital. Even though they rarely spoke to anyone other than each other, the therapist was able to record them speaking in their “secret language.” As it turned out, the language was just English mixed with Barbadian slang, spoken really quickly.
Splitting Them Up
After careful consideration, it was decided that June and Jennifer should be transferred to Eastgate Centre for Special Education in Pembroke. It seemed to be better than their previous school, but they remained silent during therapy sessions. They needed to do something to get these growing girls to start speaking.
In 1977, the family and therapists decided to try separating the girls to see if they would open up. June was sent to St. David’s Adolescent Unit, but it didn’t help. Not only did she not speak, she reportedly didn’t even move. She would often just lay in her bed at the residential center. Needless to say, the experiment didn’t work.
A Sinister Childhood Game
The staff who treated the sisters described their relationship as “controlling,” however, they couldn’t tell which twin was the more dominant one. It seemed like no matter what, nobody could get through to them. They remained silent, but what’s strange (and creepy) is that whenever they weren’t together, their movements usually mirrored each other’s.
Marjorie Wallace, a journalist and mental health campaigner got to know the twins and described their behavior as a “sinister childhood game.” She explained, “They had these rituals where they decided between them which one would wake first, which one would breathe first, and the other wasn’t allowed to breathe until the first one breathed. It was like some sinister childhood game that got out of control.”
Writing Their True Feelings
At 16, the girls left their school and went back to Haverfordwest. Their astonishing bond was as strong as ever, but now they had to face the difficulties of being teenagers. Even though they refused to speak to the outside world, the twins found solace in writing.
Their only way of expressing themselves was writing diaries, essays, poems, stories, and novels. June wrote a book called Pepsi Cola Addict (which was self-published) about a student being seduced by a teacher. June also described her toxic relationship with her sister in her diary: “We have become fatal enemies in each other’s eyes.”
Getting Rid of Her Shadow
That wasn’t all June revealed in her journals. She also wrote, “We feel the irritating deadly rays come out of our bodies, stinging each other’s skin. I say to myself, can I get rid of my own shadow – impossible or not possible?” Obviously, their relationship wasn’t as loving as it seemed. But things only got darker.
The girls began thinking about what would happen if the other one died. June continued, “Without my shadow, would I die? Without my shadow, would I gain life, be free, or left to die? Without my shadow, which I identify with a face of misery, deception, murder.” We’ll get into all of this shortly.
A Life of Crime
In the summer of 1981, their behavior took a drastic turn for the worst. After years of self-isolation, the girls discovered drugs, alcohol, and boys. It didn’t take long for them to end up in a psychiatric hospital. In October of that year, the twins went on a five-week crime spree, which included burglary, vandalism, theft, and arson.
They were eventually caught red-handed, trying to burn down the Pembrokeshire Technical College. June and Jennifer pleaded guilty to 16 counts of burglary, theft, and arson at Swansea Crown Court, and in May 1982, they were sentenced to indefinite detention at Broadmoor under the Mental Health Act.
Getting Locked Up
Journalist Miss Wallace later touched on the court case: “The unemotional legal pantomime went on around them without touching them.” She later wrote a book about the sisters titled The Silent Twins. They seemingly showed no emotion at their sentencing, but they did write about it.
The girls enjoyed writing fictional stories and being imaginative, but they also wrote down their true feelings. Thanks to these journals, we got an inside scoop into their toxic relationship. Things between them didn’t get any better while they were institutionalized, and their mental health continued to decline. The girls started to resent each other, each one feeling like she can’t live a normal life with her twin.
Going Down as a Psychopath
A day after they were sentenced, June expressed her feelings in her diary: “Spinning in circles. Sick. Mental. Psychopathic. Imagine how I felt. Me? A mental psychopath? A dangerous evil, ruthless criminal! Me! At last, my torment, my self-consciousness, my violence is known. I am labeled! Ah! Now I know my fate! June Alison Gibbons, aged just 19, going down in history as a psychopath.”
She continued, “Please, God! Don’t let me suffer as much in my new life as I have here. Let me be bold enough to speak openly. Let me trust the doctors and nurses and no longer be afraid of people. For the past seven months, I have been a soul with no hope. Don’t let this disease paralyze me again, destroying my abilities, tying up my tongue like firewood.”
It seemed that June truly did want to get better and start opening up to more people. While they were serving their sentence, they continued to express themselves through their diaries in prison notebooks. Jennifer also wrote about her complex relationship with her sister.
In one of her entries, she wrote: “I really aim to be alone. Yet, I am deceiving myself. Can I stand being alone? My heart does not beat so fast now. It only beats fast when J is around.” Based on their journals, it seemed like the twins gave each other anxiety, and they were aware of their toxic relationship. So, why couldn’t they break away?
A Decade in the Hospital
Over the years, June and Jennifer made multiple attempts to get released. Apparently, they even sent the Queen letters to help them. Sadly, they were always rejected. The girls stayed in the asylum for over a decade. However, during their last few years there, the girls reportedly started talking to the hospital staff. Were things looking up?
Jennifer wrote a diary entry saying, “What a senseless degrading havoc I have made of my poor sweet human life.” Despite their numerous journal entries, the twins were heavily medicated at Broadmoor, which dwindled their creativity, and their poetry and short stories suffered because of it.
Breaking the Bond
In 1993, the girls were finally moved to the Caswell Clinic at Glanrhyd hospital, a medium-security unit closer to home. On March 9th, the girls got in the car and headed towards Bridgend, but Jennifer appeared to be physically weak. After being rushed to the Princess of Wales Hospital, she died at 6:30 PM that evening.
Jennifer’s death was strange and unexpected; she was only 29 years old. In a post-mortem examination, it was discovered that her cause of death was undiagnosed myocarditis, a sudden inflammation of the heart. However, June later revealed in an interview that the pair actually had a death ‘pact.’
The Death Pact
Following her sister’s death, June remained at the Caswell Clinic for a year and then returned to West Wales, where she attempted to rebuild her life. According to Wallace, during their stay in the hospital, the girls started to believe that one of them must die for the other to be free.
When Wallace interviewed the twins, Jennifer calmly stated that she chose to be the one to die so that June could have a normal life: “We said we weren’t going to speak to anybody… I’m going to have to die.” At this point, the journalist was alarmed: “I got very frightened because I could see that they meant it, and they said, we have made a pact.”
Jennifer “Chose” to Die
Wallace explained that after leaving Broadmoor and were free from the high-security hospital, she knew one of them would have to die in order for the other one to be free. “I don’t think there is really an explanation for that except Jennifer willing herself to die. After I learned about Jennifer’s death – it was about two or three days later – I went to visit June.”
So basically, Jennifer thought herself to death? The journalist went on: “I found her surprisingly intact, really, and very prepared to talk. She spoke very clearly about the conflict between her terrible grief at losing the person closest in her life and the freedom that Jennifer had given her.”
One Must Die For the Other to Live
Wallace revealed that during her visit, June was reacting strangely to her sister’s death, saying things like, “I’m free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me.” If that wasn’t creepy enough, Jennifer reportedly told June that she was going to die the day before she actually did. It should be noted that there were no drugs or poison in her system.
Jennifer reportedly fell asleep on June’s lap with her eyes wide open in the van right before her death. (This story keeps getting freakier.) June wrote a poem on Jennifer’s headstone saying: “We once were two/We two made one/We no more two/Through life be one/Rest in peace.”
Living without Her Twin
June is still alive today and occasionally gives interviews about their lives, and is no longer under psychiatric surveillance. Sisterly bonds are strong and dramatic. No matter how much sisters fight, at the end of the day, they usually care about each other. At the very least, they don’t want (or “need”) their sibling to die. Unfortunately, June and Jennifer didn’t have that kind of bond.
Their relationship came with isolation, hatred, mental health issues, crime, and over a decade in a psychiatric hospital. They believed one of them needed to die for the other to truly live. At least June managed to build a new life for herself. Sadly, this tragedy had to happen to get her there.
They aren’t the only twins with a creepy connection. Meet the Jim Twins. After being separated at birth, they reunited and discovered some eerie coincidences.
Meet the Man Known as the Escape Artist: Richard Mcnair
The man is a convicted murderer, yes, but if there’s a label that Richard Lee McNair also earned, it’s that of an escape artist. McNair has proved his extraordinary ability to escape from prison, making himself more notorious than the crimes that put him in there in the first place. He escaped from prison not once, not twice, but three times. That alone is impressive. But what makes it all the more interesting is the way he managed to pull each escape off.
Using different devices and methods each time and in different prisons, the convict used everything from lip balm to air ducts to mailbags. McNair was featured on America’s Most Wanted 12 times and made the U.S. Marshals’ Top 15 fugitive list. He managed to make a run for it, which even lasted for a year, but it all came to an end when none other than a Canadian cop caught on to him.
This is Richard Lee McNair’s story…
A Night That Didn’t Go a Planned
On the night of November 17, 1987, in Minot, North Dakota, 29-year-old Richard Lee McNair broke into a building that stored grain intending to rob it. But the burglary was botched when two men came out of nowhere. One of them, truck driver Jerome Thies, was shot and killed by McNair. He also shot at the second man, Richard Kitzman, all but four times, but he somehow managed to survive.
McNair, who was, at the time, a sergeant at the local Air Force Base, was eventually found and brought in for questioning by the police. He surrendered a concealed handgun, and in no time, he was sentenced to two life sentences on the charges of murder and attempted murder. Oh, and that’s on top of the 30-year sentence for the burglary alone.
But how did he get caught?
Matching the Description
To give you a bit of the bigger picture, the murder of Jerome Thies was one of only two homicides in the area that year, and one of only 11 that year in North Dakota. After the murder, the authorities used Kitzman’s description of McNair to search for him and offered an eighteen-thousand-dollar reward for any information.
Three months after the murder, in February 1988, less than a week before he would have completed his tour of duty, he was caught. He carelessly fell behind on his rent to a storage facility where, under a fake name, he stashed his stolen goods. The manager of the facility contacted the police and the airbase’s security force, telling them that her storage-facility customer matched Kitzman’s description of the killer.
The Profile of a Killer
It turns out that McNair wasn’t too worried about being pinpointed. An Air Force captain said how McNair joked around, saying, “The drawing looks like me, so you should turn me in, and we can split the reward money.” Strangely enough, about a year before he began started “working” as a burglar, he even volunteered as a confidential informant who would set up “buy-and-bust” drug arrests.
Most people who met Richard McNair found find him likable; engaging, chatty, and relaxed. When he was younger, women were drawn to him because he was good-looking, tall, thin, and well-groomed. But he would change his looks as quickly as he would change his jeans – hair, glasses, clothes, etc. The man is a master of disguise.
A Dangerous Combination
Not only were his constant physical appearance changes an indicator of his abilities, but so were his intelligence and powers of observation. His father, Jim, said, “Anything he wants to do, he would figure out.” But despite being quick and clever, McNair never lived a professional life. He’s been incarcerated for nearly four decades in various states and federal prisons.
Now, when you combine a clever criminal with a faulty prison system, you get a man who escapes – more than once. McNair wasn’t planning on just surrendering and living the rest of his life in prison. He accepted being arrested and put away because he knew what he was going to do. It wasn’t long after his incarceration that he made his first escape…
His First Escape
McNair’s first escape was relatively modest. It came right after his first arrest while still at the Minot police station. He was in a room with three detectives and handcuffed to a chair. He had a tube of lip balm in his pocket. McNair used the lip balm as a lubricant to grease his hands enough to slip out of the handcuffs when he was left alone.
He managed to get out of the building and make a run for it. But he didn’t get too far. He was gone for three hours before the police caught him after McNair ran up three flights of stairs and found himself surrounded by cops. They were at the top of a building, with no other escape routes in sight.
Caught Red Handed
McNair jumped into a tree, but the branch broke, and McNair fell to the ground, injuring his back. After some time in the hospital, he was sent to the Ward County Jail. McNair was going to sit in jail, but it was only a matter of time until he planned his next escape. After he was moved into a new cell that same year, he was found working on something.
The jail’s authorities found McNair chiseling away at two of the concrete blocks in the walls of his jail cell. A portion of those blocks was completely gone. But, his plan didn’t go as smoothly as he would have liked because he was caught in the middle of the process. It would be another four years before executed escape number two.
His Second Escape
In October of 1992, when Richard Lee McNair was serving time in a state prison in Bismarck, North Dakota, McNair escaped again. But this time, he had company. He and two other inmates slipped out through a ventilation duct. After crawling out, he was on the loose. While McNair wasn’t caught for months, his fellow escapees didn’t fare as well.
One of them was found within hours, and the other within days. McNair, on the other hand, managed to evade the police for the next ten months. While on the run, he dyed his hair blond and grew a beard and long hair. He also stole cars to survive and travel. But by August of 1993 was he recaptured in Grand Island, Nebraska.
No More Games
This time, the authorities didn’t want to take any more chances. So, they sent him to a Federal Prison, where he was labeled as a “problem inmate.” McNair was sent to a maximum-security prison in Louisiana. As an inmate, McNair was put to work. But little did the wardens realize that McNair was a true escape artist.
He was given the job of repairing torn mailbags in order for them to be shipped out to external post offices for use. This, for any other prisoner, was a tedious and boring job. But for Richard Le McNair, it was an opportunity and the setting of his next escape plan.
His Third and Final Escape (So Far)
It took McNair a bit longer to plan his next escape, which we can just go ahead and call it “The Great Escape.” It would be 13 years since his last escape, but on April 5, 2006, he was on the run again. And it took him some real-time and dedication to get it just right. This time, it was going to take more than just lip balm and some ventilation units.
On April 5, at 9.45 a.m., underneath a pile of repaired mailbags on a pallet that was destined for the outside, McNair lay hidden inside a kind of escape pod out of the materials available to him. Equipped with a breathing tube pushed through a hole, McNair’s make-shift mailbag was about to literally ship him out of prison.
He Shipped Himself Out
McNair hid in the mailbag until a forklift carried the pallet (which was shrink-wrapped) to a warehouse outside of the prison. But McNair had to wait for a good time to get out. He waited until around 11 a.m., when the warehouse staff left for lunch, to cut himself out of the package and walked to freedom.
He timed the escape well, knowing that it would only be 4 p.m. by the time anyone would even realize that he escaped. Once he was out, he was literally on the run – he jogged towards Alexandria, Louisiana, and stole a car and all the things he needed to make it on the run. But what’s even more incredible was what happened after.
Stopped By a Cop
After a few hours on the run, he was nearly captured when he was spotted by a cop named Carl Bordelon. He was parked in Ball, Louisiana, and saw McNair jogging. Knowing that there a prisoner had just escaped nearby, Bordelon stopped him. His dashboard camera captured the whole exchange with McNair, who was completely relaxed and friendly.
Despite the fact that he had no ID on him and even fit the description of the escapee, McNair was able to talk his way out of it. He told Bordelon that his name was “Robert Jones” and that he was just out for a jog. But Bordelon didn’t notice when Richard slipped up and gave him another name just a few minutes later.
What a Mistake
McNair slipped and said his name was “Jimmy Jones,” but the officer didn’t notice. “You know the bad thing about it, you’re matching up to him,” Bordelon said. “Well, that sucks, doesn’t it,” McNair responded. McNair convinced him that he was staying at a local hotel and that he was doing some roofing work in the area.
The officer believed his story and simply advised him to carry his ID on him next time. The cop and the prison escapee then shared a laugh before Bordelon said, “Be careful buddy,” and McNair continued on his jog to freedom. And just like that, the man talked his way out of a near recapture.
He Was Miles Away
By the time this officer realized who he just had an encounter with, McNair was miles away. According to Bordelon, the description of McNair didn’t actually look anything like him in person. Despite this embarrassing mishap, Bordelon stayed in the police force for the rest of his life and even worked his way up to assistant police chief.
Eight days later, McNair was still out there, roaming the country in stolen cars and a different appearance. By April 13, 2006, he joined the list of the country’s 15 Most Wanted criminals. He also became the first person to escape a federal prison in 15 years. In the wake of his third escape, the bulletins noted that he was “extremely dangerous.”
Wanted: An Extremely Dangerous Fugitive
For the following two weeks, authorities set up a mobile command center operated in a Wal-Mart parking lot. 150 officers were deployed, including cops, sheriffs, SWAT units, State Police, and U.S. Marshals. Roads were closed, traffic was jammed, cars were searched, helicopters swarmed, and boats patrolled the Red River and Bayou Rigolet.
Children were kept indoors, and windows were nailed shut. Bloodhounds lost his scent on the first day, a mile from the railroad crossing. McNair was now a fugitive, and a $25,000 reward was announced. Tons of McNair sightings were piling up. In the end, the last person who laid eyes on Richard Lee McNair was the outwitted, and surely embarrassed, Officer Bordelon.
Catch Me If You Can
McNair was heard from, however, as soon as ten days after his escape. A letter with a Corpus Christi postmark reached his mother in Oklahoma. She ended up telling the authorities, and, for several days, the manhunt shifted to South Texas. Once McNair’s name made to news headlines there, even more, imaginary sightings accumulated.
McNair was the kind of criminal that “would steal your car and sell it back to you, and you’d think you’ve got a hell of a deal,” a detective named Mike Knoop said. “Those kinds of people will play a game with you – trying to outwit law enforcement. He’s very intelligent. For him, it’s one of those catch-me-if-you-can situations. And we did.” But really, in McNair’s case, it’s more like catch-me-if-you-can-and-then-catch-me-again.
He Doesn’t Fit Any Inmate Mold
Patrick Branson, a deputy warden at the North Dakota State Penitentiary, where McNair spent almost five years and escaped in 1992, said: “The problem with McNair is that he doesn’t really fit any inmate mold. That’s what makes him such a high risk.” McNair stands out among the rest because of his “fixation on escaping.”
Branson explained once McNair is captured, sent to the nearest jail, put in restraints, and into the police car – from step No. 1, his mind is working. He’s thinking, ‘How do I get out of these cuffs or this car?’ And ‘What’s the weak spot in this facility?’ From the moment he arrives at a new facility, he’s thinking about escaping.
From Washington to Canada
McNair was on the loose for a year and a half. Two weeks after his escape, he left Washington and entered Canada through the province of British Columbia. On April 28, the fugitive was almost caught again when police found his car, which was obviously stolen, parked at the beach. When he was told to get out of the vehicle, McNair just leaped out and ran away.
The officers didn’t catch up to him. A few days later, one of the police officers saw McNair’s face on ‘America’s Most Wanted.’ But what they did was mark the stolen car for fingerprints, also found dozens of self-portraits on a digital camera. They figured that they were probably being used to create fake identity cards.
Always on the Move
Despite the close call, McNair chose to stay in Canada. He rode a bike into Kelowna, a town in British Columbia. From May 2006, he would go back and forth between the US and Canada, stealing cars to get around. McNair later revealed that he had originally planned to buy a property in Williston Lake, but didn’t like the solitary road that led in and out of the property.
There were no possible escape routes, which was something of a necessity at this point in his prison escaping career. He made his way around America and back to Canada, where he traveled east to Ontario and Quebec, and then back west to Vancouver. And it was in New Brunswick, Canada, that he came across the police again.
Seeing Himself on America’s Most Wanted
While on the run, McNair used the internet to see the coverage of himself in the media. ‘America’s Most Wanted’ was particularly problematic for the fugitive because it featured him all 12 times. Whenever the show aired, McNair would stock up on supplies and gasoline and lay low for a while. After each episode that he was featured on, viewers would call in to say that they saw McNair.
But he always managed to remain hidden. He used a number of laptops to create fake IDs, including a false driver’s license. McNair also drew on his background, working in a car showroom to steal money and cars. He would typically choose brand new white cars without GPS. Why? Because they blend in easily and couldn’t be tracked.
It Came Down to Tinted Windows
Ultimately, it was McNair’s DIY tinted rear windows on one of his brand new stolen cars that finally gave him away. After an off-duty constable named Dan Melanson reported the vehicle. He said he spotted an expensive-looking white van with Ontario plates and “crappy-looking” tinted windows. He noted the plate number and the police in Nash Creek, New Brunswick, were on high alert.
On October 24, 2007, McNair was caught 100 miles north of the American border in Campbellton, New Brunswick, driving a stolen truck. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that McNair tried to make a run for it, but he was tackled to the ground. America’s most wanted fugitive was finally arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Alcatraz of the Rockies
McNair was then returned to the U.S. Meanwhile, the American authorities wanted to make sure that this time, they hung onto their man. So they placed him in the Supermax facility in Florence, Colorado. The prison, which is also known as the Alcatraz of the Rockies, has a guest list of notorious criminals.
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, and “Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid are all prisoners there. Richard Lee McNair is now serving time in a tiny cell in what is considered to be the most secure prison in America. He spends the entire day (except for a short solitary exercise period outside) in a 12×7 foot cell made entirely of concrete. His only human contact is with prison guards, filtered by steel and bulletproof glass.
But it doesn’t end there…
An Unlikely Pair of Pen Pals
According to McNair himself, his capture was simply a case of bad luck. Apparently, the man was even cheery when he was finally captured. McNair never answered any questions from the media until a crime reporter named Byron Christopher came around. A year after his arrest, in late 2008, Christopher (from the same New Brunswick town that McNair was found) decided to write to the famous prisoner.
Intrigued, the reporter first wrote to McNair, thanking him for making his hometown famous and sharing the latest news. McNair’s reply, which was published in the local press, spoke of how much he enjoyed New Brunswick and its residents. The two became unlikely pen pals, writing to each other frequently.
Just as They Described Him
McNair’s first letter to Christopher showed just how intelligent and charming he was – just as police described him to be. Christopher kept him up to date on the recently completed World Series and the U.S. election (even asking him if he had voted). It turns out that voting in U.S. federal prisons is allowed in only a few states.
McNair wrote about some of his restrictions, telling his pen pal that he would have to wait three years before he could even get to a phone. He seemed receptive to further Christopher’s questions. As he put it: “I have more questions than George Bush in a sex shop.” Byron and McNair continued to write to each other.
Thank God For Prisons
Christopher eventually gathered enough details from all of McNair’s letters to write a book about his time on the run. The correspondence between the two showed McNair in a rather upbeat and generous mood, and despite his ability to learn about the real world being “minimal and very restrictive.”
He has no internet access in prison, but he does get any print-outs that are sent to him. In his first letter to McNair, Christopher mentioned the high-profile criminals in that prison. When McNair wrote back, he said he never got the list of prisoners as it was seized by the authorities. He also added he doesn’t care about 90% of the people there. “Thank God for prisons,” he wrote. “There are some very sick people in here.”
Surrounded By Animals
McNair described the kind of people he is surrounded by: “Animals you would never want living near your family or the public in general… I don’t know how corrections staff deal with it. They get spit on, sh*t on, abused, and I have seen them risk their own lives and save a prisoner many times.” Unlike his fellow inmates, he prides himself on his gentle nature.
“[I] am very proud that at no time did I hurt anyone (physically) while on the run. Promised myself that no matter what – would not raise a hand to anyone.” McNair told Christopher that there’s only one other reporter that he wished to share his story with: a British TV journalist. However, the interview never took place.
Breaking His Silence
According to McNair, the authorities nixed it – that he’s being closely watched. In March 2009, McNair wrote a third 22-page to Christopher revealing even more about his life on the run. The letter basically served as a manual on how to escape law enforcement while keeping tabs on their efforts.
Christopher took this informative letter and detailed the highlights of the story for KALB News Channel 5 (the NBC/CBS affiliate in Alexandria, Louisiana). McNair revealed in his letter that just before he ran into Bordelon (the cop who found him jogging and let him go), he stashed “food, clothes, water, etc.” under a train stand. He wrote that he “Jogged along the tracks not really seeing the cruiser because the trees paralleling the tracks blocked it.”
Relief, Disbelief, Bewilderment
“My plan was to get back in the trees if he (Bordelon) truly confronted me,” McNair said he was worried that while the officer was chatting with him, that backup was on its way. But that wasn’t the case. He admitted that at that moment, he got a “get out of jail free card.” His reaction to talking his way out of it: “relief, disbelief, and bewilderment.”
McNair knew that “the trail would get hot again” as soon as Bordelon realized the huge mistake they just made. McNair also pointed out that there were things that actually went in his favor. Like the photo of him that the police used was, as Bordelon said, not representative of him in real life.
They Had No Idea
After he was chased after the cops found him in his car in British Columbia, he fled into a forest. “After the incident in Penticton, rode a bike to Kelowna. Not a bad view, but a bit concerned about Mounties looking for me. Later learned I was safe.” What he didn’t know, though, was that the Mounties didn’t know that the man they had just chased was THE Richard Lee McNair.
McNair disclosed that he snuck back into the United States more than once. “Drove a Subaru Outback from Vernon to the border at Blane, Washington, and crossed into the U.S. on the bike.” He said he panned for gold somewhere near the border, in a town about 300 miles north of Vancouver. But all he found was dust.
Take it From a Former Car Salesman
McNair, a former car salesman, said he only stole vehicles from auto dealers, and always checked buyer information stickers on the windows to see if a GPS-type tracking device was installed. He recalled a time when he was driving in his white van through the Canadian Rockies, and the cars ahead of him came to a sudden stop. He feared it was a roadblock.
But it turned out that some tourists pulled over to get pictures of “some beautiful rams lazily chewing their cud.” McNair also took photos of the rams, and then went fishing. When he wasn’t behind the wheel of a car, he was on his mountain bike. He traveled everywhere on his bike, especially through Jasper and, later, through Quebec.
Just One of Those Days
McNair recalled the day he was finally captured, which followed a low-speed car chase and an even slower foot chase. “I just turned left instead of right, and an observant officer got me. Just one of those days.” Canadian Mounties told reporters that McNair was actually very co-operative and even joked with them.
McNair told Christopher that one of the officers wanted to know what the reward was for him. McNair told him: “25,000. To which the cop said: “That’s not much.” McNair then said it was because “all of the government money is tied up in Osama Bin Laden’s reward.” In the end, the fugitive described the RCMP in Campbellton as “good men doing their job.”
The Man Who Mailed Himself Out of Prison
Richard Lee McNair was definitely one of America’s most wanted criminals, but after he was arrested and put behind bars, it was reporters who wanted him most. Dozens of media outlets were trying to get in contact with the prisoner. Luckily for Byron Christopher, and for whatever reason, he was first to get the felon to talk.
And for a reporter like Christopher, the details of McNair’s get-rich-quick scheme were golden nuggets, eventually putting them all into a nice pretty package. He wrote a book about McNair called “The Man Who Mailed Himself Out of Prison.” Before that, Campbellton’s local newspaper, The Tribune, covered their correspondence, in detail, as it went on. They published his award-winning series of articles about McNair under the title “The Running Man.”
What Happened to the Iconic Former Child Star, Macaulay Culkin?
When it comes to former child stars, Macaulay Culkin is a big one. The Home Alone star is a nostalgic hero and takes us back to a simpler time. He was raking in millions as one of the most sought out child actors in Hollywood. He worked hard for the fame and fortune he has, but life wasn’t all glamorous. It wasn’t easy growing up in the public eye, and Mac’s family didn’t make things easier for him, particularly his father.
Nowadays, Macaulay Culkin is 38 years old and understands that the ups and downs he dealt with made him the man he is today, but it took him a while to get there. He went through a phase where people thought he was on drugs, and even death rumors swirled for a while.
This is the crazy life of the iconic blonde boy who took Hollywood by storm- Macaulay Culkin.
Macaulay Culkin was brought into the world on August 26, 1980. He was born into a pretty modest family in NYC. His mom, Patricia, worked as a phone operator, and his dad, Kit, was a stage actor who also worked in theater production. Macaulay’s grandfather was in PR, and his grandmother was a writer, and she was the one who loved the arts.
At the tender age of 4, the gifted Macaulay hit the stage in order to help his parents financially. The family of nine lived in a two-bedroom apartment, and his support certainly helped his struggling parents raise his six siblings. Although he felt an immense amount of pressure, Macaulay’s talent spoke for itself.
Macaulay’s father Kit was an actor himself. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it in the cut-throat industry, so he threw his children into it and acted as their manager. But calling him a ‘stage dad’ is an understatement. Macaulay’s brothers, Rory and Kieran, were professional actors as well, but Macaulay was the star.
By age 8, the adorable blonde was landing movie roles, and his dad enjoyed the fame, money, and attention that came with it. However, Kit got controlling when it came to his son’s career and demanded higher paychecks for Macaulay to star in a film. Unfortunately, this rubbed producers and directors the wrong way.
Everyone knows that Macaulay starred in Home Alone, but he wasn’t the only one in his family to star in the hit Christmas blockbuster. Kieran, his little brother, played his cousin, Fuller. Kieran went on to have a notable acting career in his own right, appearing in Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride II. His last movie role was in 2017’s Infinity Baby.
Their other brother, Rory, followed in his siblings’ footsteps. He appeared in several films, including Scream 4, You Can Count on Me, and several others. Although he wasn’t as famous as his brothers in his younger days, he has been getting back into acting in more recent years. His latest role is in 2018’s Lords of Chaos.
He Was Scared of Joe Pesci
No matter how many years go by, the two burglars in Home Alone remain hilarious, but Joe Pesci, known for his “tough guy” character, often scared little Macaulay on the movie set. Before playing a comedic thief in a child-friendly film, he portrayed a cold-blooded mobster in the hit crime movie Goodfellas. Yikes! That would scare any 8 year old!
However, Pesci scared Macaulay on purpose! He wanted his reaction to be authentic, so he completely avoided him on set. That way, Culkin would actually be scared of him. Other than scaring the children on set, it was difficult for Pesci not to use swear words while reading the script. In order to help him stop, the actor developed his now-infamous gibberish muttering.
Bringing in the Cash
When you think of a Christmas movie that was a smash hit, Home Alone immediately comes to mind. For a comedy with a $70 million budget, the popular film earned $500 million worldwide! Sequels are never as good as the original, but Home Alone II made almost the same amount of money. Ten-year-old Macaulay Culkin got an $8 million paycheck for starring in the second movie.
However, fame and fortune can be a burden on celebrities, especially when it comes to child actors. For this reason, Macaulay’s parents tried to keep him away from the tabloids. They also tried to hide his millions to avoid spoiling him.
Macaulay Culkin was at the peak of his career when the 11-year-old casually hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live. His performance was brilliant, and he got phenomenal reviews. To this day, Culkin’s performance is still seen as one of the top ten hosting gigs in the show’s history. Well, that’s impressive!
That’s not all Macaulay accomplished as a child. He also got his very first kiss at a young age on the set of My Girl. Mac had to kiss his co-star, the adorable Anna Chlumsky. This kiss was so innocent and touching that at the MTV Movie Awards, it won the award for Best Kiss.
Struggles at Home
At the height of his career, little Macaulay Culkin made 15 movies in only seven years. The child was being worked to the bone, and finally, in 1994, he decided to take a well-deserved break. Unfortunately, he was also dealing with issues at home. His parents’ marriage was crumbling, and they divorced in 1995.
That wasn’t the end of Macaulay’s personal struggles. His relationship with his dad started deteriorating, and tension between them was heating up. Among other things, Kit couldn’t handle his son’s success. Details about the family drama, particularly about Kit, started to surface during the messy divorce. They weren’t the happy family that fans thought they were.
Heartbreak and Tragedy
When Macaulay’s parents split up, it became public knowledge that Kit wasn’t a great dad or husband. He was allegedly abusive. When his wife was pregnant, Kit reportedly hit her and threatened to kill her on more than one occasion. All seven children moved in with their mother following the divorce. Macaulay just wanted to live a normal life and signed himself up to a private high school in Manhattan.
Several years after his dealing with his parents’ divorce, Macaulay tragically lost two of his sisters. His half-sister, Jennifer Adamson, died of a drug overdose, and his sister, Dakota, was killed in a car accident. Strangely, the sisters were both 29 when they passed away. Such heartbreak was devastating for the sensitive actor.
Insecurities Eating Him Up
Despite the family problems he was dealing with, Culkin was still determined to be a successful actor. In 2000, he took his talents to the stage and acted in the London production of Madame Melville. He practiced for hours every single day to make his vocal delivery as perfect as possible. Another thing that helped Culkin with his lines was practicing tongue twisters.
Every human being on the planet has to deal with insecurities, but being an actor can amplify that. Being exposed to the public and having eyes on you constantly can really take a toll on celebrities. Thanks to trolls who point out every imperfection, Macaulay found out his eyes aren’t the same size. This flaw is something that has really affected the adorable actor.
Since he was already a child star at the age of four, Macaulay got a lot of publicity and attention as a little kid. The pressure and anxiety built up, and Culkin began suffering from agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that acts up in situations where a person feels their environment to be unsafe with no easy way to escape. This usually happens in open spaces like shopping centers or on public transit.
Agoraphobia is a scary condition that often leads to panic attacks. However, Culkin decided he wanted to face his fear with the help of his dog. He took his pup on daily walks, and, eventually, he overcame his phobia. His childhood fame will always affect him, but at least he is headed toward a healthier life.
Best Friends with MJ
What many people don’t know about Macaulay is that he used to dance ballet. He studied at the prestigious School of American Ballet in NYC, and he even played the role of Fritz in the live ballet version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Michael Jackson was impressed with his performance and invited him to be in his music video, Black or White. The two famously became friends.
When Michael Jackson came under fire for sexual abuse allegations, Culkin was the first actor to defend the singer in court. Macaulay supported Michael through the whole trial and explained their relationship. He said they got close because Michael Jackson understood what it was like to be famous at a young age.
Macaulay continued to defend the deceased singer when allegations started to surface again in 2019 following the docuseries Leaving Neverland. He attested that he did sleep in Michael Jackson’s bedroom, but there was never any sexual abuse. Furthermore, Culkin said that Michael liked to hang out with kids because deep down, he was a child himself.
Culkin and Michael remained close friends until Jackson’s death. The two were seen together all over Hollywood. They had such a strong relationship that Jackson even chose the young actor to be the godfather of his daughter Paris. Macaulay still believes that Michael Jackson is innocent and that the allegations against him are false.
As her godfather, Macaulay and Paris Jackson got close through the years. They never let the media affect their relationship at all. The godfather/goddaughter duo decided to get matching tattoos of a red spoon on their forearms. The spoon theory tattoos represent the invisible pain they are experiencing.
For Culkin and Paris, the spoon tattoos were a symbol of the struggles and hardships they had to deal with in life, and how they overcame them. From growing up in front of cameras and paparazzi to losing family members, the pair did experience pain and heartbreak, but they are determined to grow and become better because of it.
Macaulay’s mom Patricia accidentally started a fire in her apartment building back in 1998. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a small fire; it ended in tragedy. Four people died in the fire, and 22 others suffered serious injuries. Naturally, some people took this opportunity to take advantage of Macaulay Culkin’s wealth.
It’s common for celebrities to have to deal with people trying to get money out of them, and some people take it too far. Many lawsuits were filed against Macaulay himself, despite the fact that his mother who started the fire and he wasn’t even near the building at the time. The situation is tragic… but the things people do for money!
High School Sweetheart
Macaulay seemed to be living every child’s dream; he was landing role after role and enjoying fame, money, and popularity. Despite his successful acting career, Macaulay longed for a normal childhood. He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School and the Professional Children’s Prep School, which taught students who worked on NYC stages.
Considering his fame, it’s not surprising that Macaulay was a popular kid. He met actress Rachel Miner in high school, and the pair tied the knot when they were 18. Unfortunately, the relationship wasn’t smooth sailing. Over the two year marriage, there were multiple breakups and makeups before they got divorced in 2002.
Scavenger Hunt Wedding
It wasn’t all bad. Miner and Culkin had some happy times together, but it wasn’t enough to keep them together. They made a few public appearances but mainly tried to stay out of the limelight. Nevertheless, the media was still interested in the pair. They enjoyed staying home watching movies and taking care of stray animals together.
Even though Culkin and Miner were both famous actors, there were no security guards at their wedding. Instead of wedding invitations, they sent guests a scavenger hunt message to fend off the media. The clues led them to a house in Connecticut where the wedding took place. Wow! What a fun and creative idea.
Dating a Rising Star
After his divorce and playboy days, Macaulay started dating the one and only Mila Kunis in 2002. At the time, she was relatively unknown, but rising to fame. The relationship lasted eight years before they split up in 2011. They had a loving, peaceful relationship that many people didn’t know about because they tried to stay away from the media.
Culkin didn’t waste too much time after his breakup with the beautiful actress. In 2013, he started dating All My Children actress, Jordan Lane Price. They were seen in Paris holding hands and dancing in the streets. They looked happy and cheerful, but, unfortunately, their relationship didn’t last very long.
In September 2004, Macaulay had a few run-ins with the law. He enjoyed his fame and everything that came with it, but he fell into the same trap as many other child stars. He started partying a lot. He was arrested after police found illegal substances in his car in Oklahoma City. He was released on a $4,000 bail.
Macaulay wanted to make a comeback after his arrest and decided to return to the stage. He landed the lead role in the play Madame Melville. The play was set in Paris in 1966, and Macaulay played Carl, a 15-year-old student who was seduced by his French teacher Claudie. As you can imagine, the play was controversial and earned mixed reviews.
His Short-Lived Writing Career
Macaulay decided to write a memoir in 2006. With such an interesting upbringing, it was only a matter of time. It was a semi-autobiographical novel titled Junior, inspired by his own life. Macaulay touched on details about his emotional issues, fame, and his estranged relationship with his father.
He shared personal and dark secrets about his life in the spotlight in a fictional way. Culkin took readers on a tour of his wild imagination and even gave the book seven different endings. Unfortunately, the memoir wasn’t as successful as he hoped. It wasn’t received well by the public or his fans, who were starting to lose interest in him.
As he was rising to fame, Macaulay developed a smoking habit at a surprisingly young age. This wasn’t just a cigarette or two here and there. At one point, the former child star was smoking 60 cigarettes in one day. Obviously, we all know the dangers of compulsively smoking, but Culkin’s nicotine addiction was getting out of control. He was always seen with a cigarette between his lips.
In many pictures of Culkin, he appears pale, sleep-deprived, and unnourished. Many people assumed he was a drug addict, but he was never hooked on drugs. Apparently, he just stopped caring about his appearance and what others think. He did look scary at times, but thankfully, it’s not because of drugs.
As a successful child star, Macaulay Culkin earned enough money to last him a lifetime. However, he still continued to work and pursue different projects like The Wrong Ferrari, a bizarre movie filmed on an iPhone. Other people think he outgrew his career and remained the cute blonde kid left behind.
It was clear that Macaulay had loved performance art (and other forms of art) since he was a toddler. In 2012, he established an art collective called Three Men and a Baby (3MB). He and co-founders Toby Goodshake and Adam Green were inspired by the “capitalist culture we live in.” Green explained that they are “just literally three people standing in front of the canvas with paintbrushes and painting at the same time.”
Tribute to … Pizza
The idea to start a pizza-themed tribute band to The Velvet Underground came from Macaulay Culkin’s imagination. He thought it was a cool and original concept. Macaulay also added a twist and named the band The Pizza Underground. It makes sense considering all their songs are about pizza.
As expected, Culkin’s band had a pretty big obsession with pizza. They were so dedicated to the cheesy deliciousness of their favorite food that the drummer played on real pizza boxes. They also used regular instruments, and Culkin was on the kazoo. Plus, audiences who come to their live shows get free pizza! Sounds like a win-win to me.
If it wasn’t obvious, Macaulay Culkin is obsessed with pizza, and who can blame him? Pizza is a delicious and popular favorite food. But apparently, Macaulay was inspired after watching Andy Warhol eating a Burger King Whopper in the documentary 66 Scenes from America. That’s when he decided to co-produce a direct homage video eating a massive slice of pizza.
People found the video hysterical, and it went viral. His band, The Pizza Underground, stopped performing in 2018, after parodying songs by The Velvet Underground for five years. There seem to be split opinions about the band as a whole. It’s like people either love them or hate them—no in-between.
Since fame took over his childhood, Culkin wasn’t too keen on making public appearances as an adult, especially when he looked like a homeless drug addict. Since he was out of the spotlight for a while, rumors started to spread about his supposed death. Culkin had no problem dismissing these reports in a creative way.
He invented the Death-O-Meter to prove he is very much alive. However, we know how much people love to gossip, so the new death rumors surface every few years. In February 2020, Culkin jokingly tweeted: “I just woke up and saw I was trending. Can someone explain what’s going on? Did I die again?” At least he has a sense of humor about the whole thing.
It’s no secret that Macaulay has had a very alienated relationship with his father Kit. Apparently, their relationship is still estranged and might be that way for a while, given their history. After divorcing Macaulay’s mom Patricia, Kit started dating Jeanette Krylowski until she died in 2017. He is now living in Grants Pass, Oregon.
Macaulay, on the other hand, wanted to escape the drama and media that had consumed most of his life. He decided to get out of the country, and he moved the Paris. The actor has been residing there for a few years and loves it. Of course, he is still recognized and gets approached sometimes, but it’s less intense than how it is in America.
Reprising His Role
Here is a fun fact that many of you will be pleased to hear. Not many people know, but Macaulay actually reunited with his iconic Home Alone role, in a slightly different way. You know, the part he tried to distance himself from for the past 20 years. In the true Macaulay style, he did it creatively. You can find the video on YouTube, where he shows Kevin as an adult, still dealing with the trauma of being left Home Alone.
These days, Macaulay Culkin has cleaned up his act. He smokes less and is healthier than ever. He pays more attention to his appearance and doesn’t look like he’s on crack anymore. He even starred in a new comedy-drama directed by Seth Green called Changeland.
With his life back on track, Culkin also found love. He has been dating actress Brenda Song, but they also tried keeping their relationship under the radar. After secluding themselves for several years, Macaulay was a guest on the Anna Faris Is Unqualified podcast and shared details about his relationship. The pair were co-stars on Changeland and Culkin explained she spoils him:
“I’m with a lady right now, and she is like so good to me that they feel like blows. Like, she just does nice things, and I feel like I’m almost like, at first, I didn’t know how to be treated well in that kind of way.” It’s really wonderful to see how great he is doing now.
His Lifestyle Brand
In addition to his professional and personal life, Culkin continues to venture out and pursue new passions. His creativity never stops, and he founded a new brand called Bunny Ears. The company’s website focuses on modern lifestyle choices and supports mental wellness and healthy relationships.
The brand is inspired by the child star’s rocky personal life. Besides for making funny, and sometimes strange videos, they sell bunny ears! You can order your very own pair right now! They also write light-hearted articles with interesting content. I highly recommend checking it out! I’m glad that he got his life together and is continuing to do what he loves.
The Truth Behind the Shocking El Moussa Split
HGTV has produced some television stars in its time, and a lot of famous faces started out on one of their shows. Tarek and Christina El Moussa, however, were a cut above the rest, rising to fame through the extraordinary success of their show ‘Flip or Flop.’ It follows Tarek and Christina as they travel around the US buying houses, renovating them, decorating and furnishing them, and then selling them – hopefully, for a substantial profit.
However, it wasn’t just the beautiful properties that drew in millions of viewers religiously. It was also the charisma of each presenter, as well as their seemingly perfect relationship. Tarek and Christina seemed to have it all, and fans couldn’t seem to get enough. Therefore, it was a huge shock when the couple announced that they were going their separate ways and even more surprising when things got nasty. There’s been a lot of speculation over the last few years about what really happened, but we’ve uncovered the whole story.
Something to Get You Talking
‘Flip or Flop’ is one of HGTV’s most successful shows, with several spin-offs created as a result. However, even though interior designing and home renovations make for popular shows in general, ‘Flip or Flop’ got its fans talking about more than that – mainly the co-hosts, Tarek and Christina El Moussa. From day one, they proved to be popular with the show’s audience.
Not only were they both successful business partners, but they were also happily married – and their good looks, charm, and charisma drew fans in. Moreover, they were both talented and worked well as a team, bouncing ideas off one another and creating beautiful homes as a result. It seemed as though it couldn’t get any better than the life and relationship that they had.
A Wealth of Experience
It was no accident that Tarek and Christina made ‘Flip or Flop’ a massive success as they both had plenty of experience in properties and renovations. Tarek got his real estate license at just 21 years of age and immediately started working in the field. And it was through work that he met Christina, who was also in real estate.
According to them, there was an instant connection and attraction between them, and they soon became an official couple. Not long after, in 2008, they decided to enter the housing market together, but the timing was unfortunate, as the market experienced a major crash. Consequently, Tarek and Christina were forced to move out of their $6,000-a-month home into a $700-a-month apartment.
A New Start and a New Family
Although the situation was tough, both Tarek and Christina were determined to make a success of their new career, despite the adverse circumstances. Their hard work, dedication, and motivation paid off, and they found themselves coming out the other side in less than a year. Elated, they decided to get married and tied the knot in May 2009.
They both wanted to start a family very soon after, but it proved to be harder for them to do so than they initially hoped. So, after failing to get pregnant naturally, they decided to try in vitro fertilization, and luckily, it worked! Tarek and Christina welcomed their first child, a healthy girl named Taylor Reese El Moussa, in September 2010, weighing just 5 pounds 13 ounces.
Reaching for the Stars
Although they had successful careers and, now, a beautiful family, Tarek and Christina weren’t completely satisfied. As a result, they decided that they would reach for the stars and came up with an idea for a television show about renovating (‘flipping’) houses. Tarek made an audition tape showcasing the entire process and sent it to HGTV.
The producers and executives were extremely interested. Although Christina wasn’t featured in the audition tape, they wanted her to be involved in the show alongside her husband. The couple was delighted and convinced they were about to become big TV stars. Soon, filming started, and the first episode of ‘Flip or Flop’ aired in April 2013.
Falling for the Couple
Viewers instantly fell for the couple as well as the concept, and ‘Flip or Flop’ was an instant success in the US. Tarek and Christina seemed to have a special spark that the viewers loved. Crucially, they worked incredibly well together as a team. Tarek was in charge of finding properties to renovate, plus the actual work itself.
On the other hand, Christina was tasked with designing rooms and finding furniture. She was also in charge of making sure everything was running according to the predicted timeline. It wasn’t always easy. In fact, it could be incredibly stressful sometimes, but the couple always seemed to make it work somehow, all without putting a strain on their personal relationship.
A Stark Chance Warning
Both Tarek and Christina threw themselves into the television show and their work. It looked as though everything was going great and that they couldn’t be happier. However, all this was, unfortunately, short-lived. It wasn’t long before a viewer named Ryan Reade, who was a registered nurse, noticed something that raised his concern. It was a lump on Tarek’s neck.
Ryan wrote to the ‘Flip or Flop’ production team, warning them about the lump. In turn, they spoke to Tarek about it. According to the couple, the lump had been noticed before, but Tarek didn’t feel any pain, so thought little of it. However, after listening to Ryan and the production team’s advice, Tarek decided to get it checked out by a medical professional.
The Devastating Cancer Diagnosis
When Tarek visited the doctor, he admitted that he’d been having problems with his throat for roughly three years – but again, he hadn’t thought much of it as he seemed well in general. Unfortunately, the doctor ran a series of tests and confirmed what the couple feared: Tarek had cancer. Specifically, it was thyroid cancer, but further tests confirmed that it had already spread to other parts of his body.
Although Christina tried to be positive, strong and determined for her husband, she later confessed in an interview that she had feared that she would lose him. Furthermore, they’d only recently had their daughter, and Christina was scared Taylor would be left without a father. As if things couldn’t be worse, the ‘Flip or Flop’ production team told Tarek the show was being put on hold while he took time to recover. It seemed like everything was beginning to fall apart.
A Difficult Road Ahead
As Tarek’s cancer was so advanced, treatment had to start almost immediately. He underwent a series of different treatments and operations to try and kill the cancer, but the side-effects proved to take their toll. Tarek would feel nauseous most of the time. Plus, he began to suffer from severe migraines almost every single day.
However, he was determined to keep fighting, and nothing was going to make him give up. He strongly felt that giving up work completely would be detrimental to his battle with the disease, so he decided to slow down drastically but not stop altogether. Taking to Today, he admitted that if he stopped, he feared it “gets scary, and you start getting depressed.”
A Hard Pill to Swallow
Even though, by this point, America and much of the rest of the world knew that Tarek had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, neither he nor Christina felt the need to make the full diagnosis public knowledge. It was a hard pill to swallow, and they weren’t ready to share it with the world yet. However, this, unfortunately, began to take its toll on the couple.
Tired, stressed, and anxious, they both started to feel the strain. Tarek later appeared on ‘The Doctors’ and revealed that the stress of his cancer and the treatment he was undergoing, as well as having a young child to take care of, got so bad that the couple grew distant from one another. For a while, it seemed as though all was lost, until they got some fantastic news.
Hopes of Another Fresh Start
Tarek was given the all-clear that the treatment had worked! The couple was elated, and in their happiness, seemed to be getting their relationship back on track. So much so, in fact, that they decided to try for a second child to complete their family. Unfortunately, however, they experienced problems with getting pregnant once again, so they turned to IVF for a second time.
Devastatingly, the first attempt failed, and the second attempt was successful, but the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage early on. The couple persevered, trying for one last time. In what they considered to be a miracle, it worked – but the pregnancy didn’t come without its risks and limitations.
Living Life Under Restrictions
Due to the fact that Christina’s pregnancy was classified as high risk, she was unable to carry on with her life as normal. She had to take it as easy as possible without making any exceptions. The restrictions she was under were so strict that she was banned from lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk for a total of 13 weeks, nor was she allowed to even go for a walk.
Despite the difficulty, both Tarek and Christina were happy to comply – after all, they were having a baby, and they’d do anything to keep it safe and healthy. Their dedication thankfully paid off, and the couple welcomed a son, Brayden, into the world. However, due to their busy schedule, Christina had to return to work just four weeks after giving birth, which put a strain on the relationship. Christina even revealed to People magazine that they couldn’t communicate well anymore.
Celebrating Family and Success
The couple continued to throw themselves into work, and ‘Flip or Flop’ was even more of a success than it was before. And, most importantly, Tarek was in good health after such a worrying time. With their two beautiful children, it seemed as though things were looking up. In April 2016, to celebrate seven years of marriage, the couple decided to spend some of their fortunes on a special gift.
The gift was a 50-foot yacht – a true symbol of wealth and luxury that they docked in California and aptly named ‘Flip or Flop.’ It was huge – big enough to sleep up to eight people – and some reports claimed that it had cost Tarek and Christina more than a staggering $1 million.
The Incident That Sparked Rumors
It seemed to everyone on the outside that Tarek and Christina were living the high life, to say the least. Most people could only dream about that kind of lifestyle, and it’s safe to say that they had a lot of admirers. However, it turned out that a lot was going on behind the scenes that no one knew about.
In May 2016, according to reports, 11 police deputies and a helicopter were seen around the couple’s house, with an ambulance arriving shortly afterward. No one knew what had happened, but people feared the worst, with reports speculating that they had a huge fight that got out of hand. Apparently, Tarek left the house, and Christina emerged after him in tears – but people wondered why this required the police and an ambulance.
Armed, Angry, and Dangerous
As it turned out, there was a good reason the police arrived on the scene promptly. Before Tarek stormed out of the house, he supposedly took a gun out of the safe and put it in his backpack in front of multiple witnesses. He then left and headed toward a hiking trail that led away from the house.
According to reports, the witnesses feared that Tarek was considering taking his own life, but they had no idea how to find him. As a result, they called the authorities, who were soon able to track him down using a helicopter. They ordered him to drop his weapon. Allegedly, he complied and agreed to go back to the house with the police. Tarek, however, tells the story a little differently.
Two Sides to Every Story
According to Tarek, he only took the gun to ensure he had protection from any wildlife he might have encountered around the mountains, such as rattlesnakes and mountain lions. He claimed that he made this clear to everyone at the house and that he was confused as to how it got so blown out of proportion.
He stated that he never contemplated suicide, and instead just needed to cool off. Furthermore, the ambulance was apparently never necessary, and they hadn’t really needed the police helicopter. Speaking to People magazine, the couple tried to brush the incident under the carpet by claiming that it was all “an unfortunate misunderstanding” and that no violence had been involved.
Coming Out of the Woodwork
As is always the case, once one scandal hit the headlines, others soon followed. An increasing number of stories started coming out of the woodwork, and fans of the couple were shocked. For example, TMZ reported that child services had been involved with the couple due to Brayden tripping and falling into the swimming pool while in the care of the nanny.
According to reports, the nanny immediately got Brayden, who was conscious, out of the pool. Christina, however, on arriving hearing about what happened, insisted she take her son to hospital to ensure there was no water in his lungs. In turn, the hospital was obliged to contact child services, but everything was cleared up pretty quickly.
Tarek and the Scandalous Affair
TMZ was also responsible for another publicized scandal. In essence, an affair between Tarek and the nanny, 23-year-old Alyssa Logan, despite Tarek and Christina claiming to the world that their marriage was back on track. There was video footage of Tarek and Alyssa together at a concert in Florida, but people didn’t know what to believe.
TMZ reported that Christina forbid Tarek to spend time with Alyssa while she was working as the children’s nanny – presumably, she thought this would solve the problem. Tarek, on the other hand, allegedly simply fired Alyssa so that they would be able to continue their affair. However, it seemed as though soon after this, they called it off as they stopped being spotted together.
Fans’ Speculation is Rife
Speculation as to whether Tarek and Christina would stay together or end their marriage was rife. In December 2016, the news that fans had been waiting for was released: they had officially decided to separate. In a joint statement released in US Weekly, they explained that they “had challenges in [their] marriage” and that they wanted to “re-evaluate the future of [their] marriage” rather than file for divorce.
Of utmost importance, they said they were staying as civil as possible and true to their loyal fans. They even addressed the incident involving the police and the gun, explaining that it had prompted them to attend consulting sessions in an attempt to work out the differences between them and save their relationship.
Filing for a Divorce
Just a month later, in January 2017, Tarek announced in People magazine that the couple would be filing for a divorce. It seemed as though the trial separation was well and truly out the window. Reports also ran that, despite announcing their separation at the end of 2019, they’d actually been apart since the beginning of that year.
Either way, Christina was keeping quiet and well out of the limelight. It seemed as though she was letting Tarek do all of the talking. That is, until February 2017, when she made her television comeback in an interview with ABC news. However, she didn’t divulge much about the split; instead, staying classy, if not somewhat mysterious.
In a Good Place
Although in the celebrity world, many couples profess their intention of staying amicable during a split before promptly going back on that in a very public manner, it seemed as though Tarek and Christina would be different. Fans began to think that they’d be able to pull it off, which was affirmed by Christina when she was at an event in March 2017, and she said that she was getting on fine with Tarek.
Christina specifically stated that she and Tarek were “in a very good place right now” and doing “a really good job” of keeping it friendly for the sake of the children. After all, they were sharing custody of both Taylor and Brayden. For the most part, it looked like they were managing well. However, it wasn’t long at all before more stories of scandals about their marriage began to hit the headlines, driving a wedge between the two.
The Truth Is Revealed
According to reports, Tarek’s battle with cancer had, in fact, taken a much larger toll on the couple’s relationship than anyone had ever realized. Apparently, it had all but ended it. During an interview with Pop Sugar, Tarek seemed to corroborate this, saying that his hormone medication as part of his cancer treatment negatively affected him both physically and mentally.
According to Tarek himself, he became increasingly anxious, tired, and irritable during his treatment. Plus, he started gaining weight quite rapidly. He didn’t feel or look like himself anymore, and it was getting him down. In turn, this was having a hugely detrimental effect on his marriage.
Reliving Those Devastating Times
Tarek also revealed to Pop Sugar that both he and Christina had been “devastated” when they were told the thyroid cancer had spread and that they found it incredibly difficult to keep the news to themselves. In all, it took Tarek three years of treatment and recovery before he was back to his usual self, which is a long time when your marriage is suffering at the same time.
Consequently, those three years felt like a lifetime for the couple. In March 2017, Tarek confessed to People magazine that at the time, the couple had been so busy, plus overwhelmed with concern about Tarek’s health, that they stopped communicating. This only made small problems grow exponentially.
A Different Kind of Pain
Although the headlines had been dominated by Tarek’s poor health, he wasn’t the only one who had been suffering physically during their marriage. Christina has struggled with her pregnancies, especially her miscarriage, and later confessed to People that the couple “went through a lot in a short space of time.” The continued IVF failure had only added to their desperation, and both Tarek and Christina had been fraught with worry during her pregnancies.
Christina also revealed that she had felt at the time that heading back to work just four weeks after the birth of her second child had been a huge mistake. She hadn’t been ready, but she’d pushed herself – and the communication between her and Tarek disintegrated so much that they ended up driving two separate cars to the set of ‘Flip or Flop.’
The El Moussa Seminars
The revelations didn’t end there – and the ‘shock’ separation of a much-loved couple began to seem increasingly plausible. Fans had been aware that in addition to presenting ‘Flip or Flop,’ the El Moussas had given real estate seminars to budding contractors, and they were extremely popular, given the couple’s publicized success.
All that Tarek and Christina really had to do was arrive and talk about something that they’d been doing so well for years, and most people were under the impression that the couple did exactly that. However, an increasing number of people that attended the seminars started to complain, and the bad reviews started to come out after the couple split.
Voicing Their Disappointment
According to InTouch, disappointed attendees of the El Moussa seminars in Ohio and Iowa asked their attorneys to investigate the seminar program. In fact, one person even stated that she had been “suckered” out of thousands of dollars by the couple’s seminar program, claiming that, in total, she had paid out a staggering amount of $41,000.
Officers apparently investigated, and reports suggested that the seminar contracts were somewhat untrustworthy. The authorities recovered $3,000 for the woman, and Tarek and Christina offered her a refund. The controversy surrounding the seminars didn’t stop there. However, there were also complaints that they often didn’t turn up, which the couple denied.
A Wildly Incompatible Couple
It also emerged that money had been a huge problem in Tarek and Christina’s marriage. Apparently, they experienced some significant financial issues that had contributed to their deteriorating relationship. According to reports, they were mainly as a result of their differing ideas about spending and saving money. A ‘close source’ told People magazine that the couple was “wildly incompatible.”
The source also revealed that while Tarek didn’t feel the need to buy a lot of luxurious and expensive items, and was happy to save the majority of his money, Christina preferred the finer things life, and money, had to offer. As a result, they allegedly repeatedly clashed overspending habits.
Spiraling Out of Control
The source stated that the money coming in as a result of the success of ‘Flip or Flop’ meant that the couple was able to do pretty much anything they wanted for the first time in either of their lives. For Christina in particular, it was almost overwhelming, apparently, and what started out as a few luxury items turned into a shopping habit that began to spiral out of control.
Supposedly, it wasn’t too long before Christina was completely hooked on splashing the cash on whatever fancy purchase she wanted to make next. Her entire focus was on getting the next best thing and making the most out of the perks that come with being rich and famous. Apparently, Tarek couldn’t or didn’t want to keep up, and it soon became an issue between him and his wife.
The Jonathan Schmier Scandal
Yet another scandal that was splashed onto the front page of magazines all over the nation was a specific incident involving Tarek, Christina, and one of their former employees, a man named Jonathan Schmier. He was a contractor and had done a lot of work for the couple during their house-flipping days. As it turned out, he had a bone to pick with them.
TMZ reported that Jonathan was claiming that El Moussas owed him thousands of dollars to cover the work he did for them. Apparently, they had avoided paying him and then just refused altogether. The story he told painted both Tarek and Christina in an extremely unflattering light.
The Drama in North Carolina
According to Jonathan, he met Tarek and Christina when they were looking for homes in North Carolina to renovate. Their company, Next Level Property Investments, hired him to find houses, which he immediately set about doing. He claims that he found a total of five houses for the couple before the subject of payment even came up.
Jonathan states that he was meant to be paid $5,000 for every house that he found, plus and additional wage for all of the out-of-hours work that he put in. Apparently, the company, effectively, Tarek and Christina, never paid a penny. The result? Jonathan was angry and tried to sue the couple for a staggering $37,800 to cover the work he did.
Putting Up a Façade
All of these stories suggested one thing: despite the personas both Tarek and Christina had on their television show, their real characters that came out when the cameras stopped rolling were, in fact, very different. People began to wonder whether their bubbly personalities and seemingly loving relationship were a façade.
Again, a ‘close source’ spoke to Inside magazine, where they revealed that the couple was living in what was described as “the ultimate house of horrors.” Apparently, Tarek and Christina would often scream and shout at each other, accusing the other of lying, cheating, spying, and keeping secrets. A neighbor even said that the couple would fight all day and night, then post sweet messages about each other online. To many people, it seemed like a sham.
The Neighbor Reveals All
The neighbor didn’t stop there. They also stated that Tarek and Christina were “living a complete double life.” Although that’s not really too unusual in the celebrity world, from the sound of it, this situation was worse than most. It seemed as though Tarek and Christina had been hiding their unhappiness for a long time.
Delays that they’d experienced in the past regarding home renovations were also put down to arguing, with sources claiming that Christina constantly changed her mind and expected Tarek to accommodate her whims without any question. Now, it seemed understandable and reasonable that they wanted to call it a day on their relationship. After all, you can only live a lie for so long.
Lies Mixing With the Truth
It seemed as though the rumors of problems in the marriage held a lot more truth than people first thought, but fans still weren’t sure what to believe. There was so much information coming out every week that the lies got mixed with the truth, and it was hard to separate the two. One source even went as far as to say that Tarek blamed the entire split solely on Christina.
Obviously, that’s a bold statement to make, but it would seem that Tarek was angry at the time. Apparently, he’d wanted to keep information about their split out of the media, but suspected Christina of leaking information herself. In his mind, Christina was trying to tarnish his reputation and, therefore, skewer his hopes of getting signed for a solo spin-off show.
Pressure From All Angles
Soon, the media was reporting that it was actually Tarek that was to blame for the split, as he was often short-tempered and harsh to Christina, frequently shouting at her and calling her horrible names in front of people on set. Allegedly, there was video footage proving this, but it never went public. Of course, Tarek denied these claims.
Then, reports surfaced that an executive at HGTV had known the couple was unhappy put pressure on them both to make it look like nothing was wrong, in the interest of the television ratings. The executive apparently believed that the show was nothing without Tarek and Christina, and was terrified they’d split and end the show.
Acting for the Cameras
As a result, HGTV asked Tarek and Christina to work together and act like they were in love until their contracts were over. After that, they were free to do what they’d like. Apparently, the couple was threatened with legal action against them for breach of contract if they refused. Ironically, however, the rumors of divorce actually helped ratings go up.
By the time season seven came, which was the only season filmed during their public break up, ‘Flip or Flop’ was attracting an average of 17 million people per episode. It had never been so popular! To top it off, it was the longest season of all. Speaking to the Today Show, Tarek confessed that it was difficult for both of them, but at the end of the day, it was their job.
Affairs and Whirlwind Relationships
It wasn’t long before the rumors of an unhappy marriage and failing relationship soon gave way to allegations of affairs and whirlwind relationships. This is nothing new in the celebrity world, but fans couldn’t quite believe Tarek and Christina were at the center of the rumors when they had seemed so perfectly happy for so long.
However, some sources were claiming that both Tarek and Christina had already begun seeing new people way before they publicly announced their split, months before, in fact. Although we’d already heard about Alyssa, the former nanny, Christina, was rumored to have become involved with a former contractor named Gary Anderson.
An Instant Forbidden Connection
According to Touch Weekly, Gary had first met the El Moussas back in 2015, and there had been some kind of instant attraction between Gary and Christina. Sources reported that, unbeknown to the rest of the world, they grew closer by the day for the duration of the time they worked together, and it wasn’t long before people noticed.
That included Tarek, who began to be suspicious about how much time they were spending together and how well they seemed to get on. However, they denied any wrongdoing, and he had no concrete evidence. Giving up on this idea, things seemed to calm down. Unfortunately, it hadn’t lasted for long.
More to the Tale
When the police incident involving Tarek and the gun occurred, Gary had actually been at a neighbor’s house at the time. Upon hearing the commotion, he ran over to the El Moussa house to see what was going on. Allegedly, he stayed with Christina while everyone left to help her deal with the police, as well as her husband.
Once Tarek and Christina split, and the rumors began circulating about the latter’s extramarital affairs, In Touch reported that sources stated that Gary was actually romantically involved with Christina at the time, and Tarek had seen text messages between the two, which is why he lost his cool in the first place.
Finding Happiness and Fulfilment
Whatever may or may not have happened, their divorce was finalized in January 2019. Both Tarek and Christina turned to social media to share positive, inspirational quotes about life, self-care, and finding happiness and fulfillment. It seemed as though both of them were glad that they were now single and looking forward to the next chapter of their lives.
In an interview with RuPaul, Tarek reaffirmed that message. He said that although he had never in his wildest dreams expected his marriage to end, especially in the way that it did, he wouldn’t change anything about the experience. He claimed that this was because both the marriage and the subsequent divorce made him a better person and father overall.
Focusing on the Future
It seemed as though Tarek had put any anger, resentment, and bitterness behind him and was now focusing on the future. As for Christina? She went on to marry Ant Anstead, a British television presenter, and the pair soon welcomed a son of their own. As a result, they have blended their families, as each had two children from previous marriages.
Reportedly, Tarek has been totally supportive of Christina and her new life. In fact, Christina told Us Weekly that Tarek congratulated the pair soon after their wedding via a text. It seems like both have had closure on a huge chapter of their life, and that they’re both moving on after a tumultuous breakup.
‘Til Death Do Us Part
Something that came to a shock to everyone was the fate of ‘Flip or Flop.’ Instead of being cut after Tarek and Christina split, as everyone thought it would be, and it continued to run with the ex-El Moussas continuing to be the faces of it. Although they were no longer married, they’d built up a huge business empire that they weren’t ready to give up yet.
Despite a few misgivings, the show is currently just as successful as it was when Tarek and Christina were happily married. They continue to flip houses, and fans can’t seem to get enough. Looking forward, it seems as though they both want the same thing: for their children to be happy and settled as they both move forward, albeit separately, with their lives.