11 Things You Didn’t Know About HGTV Star Nicole Curtis
Nicole Curtis began starring on her own HGTV reality show Rehab Addict back in 2010. The mother of two is a self-taught home rehabber, contractor, designer and licensed real estate agent who is best known for saving old homes in Detroit from demolition and rebuilding communities. The reality TV star and DIY expert recently announced the show will be returning for an eighth season, so here’s a look at 11 things you probably didn’t know about Nicole Curtis!
11. Her TV Debut
Nicole Curtis’ HGTV fame was a total stroke of good luck! “I came to Minneapolis about four years ago, got my real-estate license, went into the antiques business, and supported myself that first year selling on Craigslist. Coincidentally, there were really horrific Glamour Shots photo of me on my website, and when a production assistant at Magnetic Productions was scanning for blonde real-estate agents for the show, they saw it,” she said in an interview with Minnesota Monthly. She met with the production company to film a real estate segment and ended up convincing them to give her a show!
10. Interest in Real Estate
Curtis developed an interest in real estate after she watched her great-grandmother sell her house to someone outside the family. “My great grandmother had an 1890s home that sold when I was in high school. I remember screaming, ‘Why isn’t anyone buying this house?’ My family just let it go,” she said. Although she couldn’t get her great-grandmother’s home back, she managed to purchase her grandparents old home and rebuild it to look like what it used to.
She grew up in Lake Orion, a town just outside Detroit. Her family owned a garbage business. She went to college in Georgia, Florida, and later Michigan. Before she became a real estate agent and expert in renovating homes, she wanted to study law, but later switched to education. She ended up having her first son, Ethan, before she graduated and dropped out. While working as a waitress, Curtis started her own cleaning business.
8. Unconventional Start
In her tell-all memoir, “Better Than New: How Saving Old Homes Saved Me,” Nicole Curtis talked about her unconventional start — how she went from a single mom working as a cleaner and waitress, to being the star of her own reality show. She worked as a waitress to pay her way through college. She started out working at IHOP until a friend convinced her to apply to Hooters. Before her shifts at the restaurant, she cleaned homes and continued to do so until her son, Ethan, was born. “I never regretted giving up a corporate job to clean houses so that I could make Ethan’s second grade Halloween party happen. I used to be a waitress, and here I am now,” she said.
7. Her Oldest Son, Ethan
The Rehab Addict star got pregnant with her oldest son Ethan when she was only 21-years-old. When she started filming, Ethan was 12. She has been open about the fact that she regrets having him appear on the show in earlier seasons and would never put him in that position again. “By no means could he make decisions for himself, but he could say, ‘I don’t want to be on camera,’ or, ‘Mom don’t post that.’ Honestly, I didn’t do it for a storyline. I did it because I was a mom and I had to go back to work after picking him up after school.”
6. Custody Battle
According to her tell-all memoir, Curtis split up from her on-again-off-again partner, Shane Maguire, shortly before she found out she was pregnant with her second child. After the split, Maguire filed for paternity and joint custody, and the court awarded him both after a positive DNA test showed the child was his. The two parents became embroiled in a nasty custody battle when she fought back against him having overnight custody until Harper’s second birthday and lost. They even fought over what to name their son. All of these legal troubles threatened to end the show, but thankfully it’s still set to return for an eighth season! Things got so messy Curtis was threatened to be put in jail after she took their now 22-month-old son to New York with her during one of Shane’s scheduled visitations.
5. Kept the Pregnancy a Secret
When Curtis found out she was pregnant with her second child while starring on her own reality show, she made the decision to keep the pregnancy a secret. “Having my newborn child’s face plastered all over social media on a Facebook post where someone could cut and paste it and make it a meme, that wasn’t for me,” she said. In order to hide her growing belly, the show was filmed from her shoulders up, and in one scene she even carried a mirror throughout the house to cover her midriff! “It wasn’t anything strategic, it was just one of those moments where I was like this isn’t anyone else’s time and space. This is mine.”
4. She’s Active
In an interview with Do It Yourself, Curtis talked about how she stays fit and because her job is pretty physically demanding, she doesn’t have to do much! “On most early mornings you’ll find me running, and at 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock at night. I’ve always incorporated fitness into my life, with my son, and we always find it when we can. No reason to sit idle, ever,” she said. In a separate interview she said she’ll basically try anything when it comes to fitness, “Biking, running, travel. It’s only been in the past couple years that I have found myself alone in my spare time. Everyone assumes I have some secret fitness routine. I don’t sit still — that’s the secret.”
3. Rescue Dogs
Nicole Curtis is not just about rescuing old homes, she also believes in rescuing animals! She has two rescue dogs, Lucy and Max. “We rescued Max from a shelter in Michigan. He was already a ‘big’ puppy when we got him, as he was already 6 months old. Lucy was rescued from Secondhand Hounds, an animal shelter in Minnesota, in Winter 2013,” said Curtis.
2. Family of DIY
Nicole’s career choice was heavily influenced by her family. She learned how to work with her hands and build her own business through these skills. “My Gramps was a self-made businessman, and my Gram was right there by his side. It meant huge sacrifices and true commitment, but they did it. My Gramps still has a shed with “spare parts,” and my Gram still says, ‘Oh, that’s too expensive; I can make that!’ I would not be who I am today without growing up in such an environment,” said Curtis. Another aspect of her childhood that influenced her career was that she and her father, who was a history enthusiast, used to take in old broken furniture and restore it.
1. Bought her First Home at 18
Nicole Curtis got her first taste of real estate and renovation at a very young age! She was only 18 when she bought her first home. “My first home purchase was a heap bought via land contract in Tampa, Florida. I couldn’t afford a ‘pretty home’ so I bought the ugliest 1945 Ranch for 52K. My house payment was $596.42 a month and I waitressed and sold cell phone contracts while going to school to afford it. I had to learn how to paint, plumb, tile from the ground up,” she said.