HGTV Star Slammed for Controversial Episode

A heartbreaking episode of Christina in the Country has fans debating whether HGTV and Christina Hall should have filmed it at all. Here’s the renovation story that had fans in tears and what they are saying about it.

On Feb. 9, Christina in the Country aired an unusually emotional episode. Christina and her husband Josh filmed a remodel for the HGTV star’s best friend Cassie Schienle’s sister-in-law, Jessica Waldron, who was diagnosed with the neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The designs at Jessica’s house were intended to make her living space more wheelchair accessible. Jessica never got to see the results of her home renovation, as she died before the work was finished. Christina and Josh completed the project as planned for Jessica’s husband Damon and their two children, 6-year-old Reese and 4-year-old Gray.

“This project was extremely difficult for me as well as the whole crew,” Christina told People. “At each monthly check in, we saw Jessica’s health continue to decline. The last time I saw Jessica alive she was struggling to catch her breath as we were talking. I could see how much she was trying to be present and smile, but I also saw the fear and hurt behind her eyes.”

The HGTV star also shared why finishing the renovation for Jessica’s family was so important. “It is a huge loss for everyone who was blessed to have crossed her path. She was smart, funny, successful and she was a wonderful wife and mother,” Christina said. “Although she never got to see her home remodel complete, it was her vision for her family and something I am proud to have done for them.”

‘Christina in the Country’ viewers are torn over the controversial episode

Fans are debating Jessica’s episode of Christina in the Country episode, which they described in a Reddit thread as “heartbreaking,” “impactful,” and “tough to watch.” They questioned whether or not HGTV and Christina Hall should have filmed Jessica’s home renovation. 

Some fans thought the show took advantage of the Waldron family by airing such a painful moment. “But why bring her on and air it?” one Reddit user wrote. “… It seems exploitative and should have never been the premise of a tv show.”

Another Reddit user agreed, commenting, “Ok, I found it utterly tasteless that they aired that. Yes, it was shocking and sad but basically the network and Christina took advantage of a tragic situation.”

Many others disagreed, suggesting that Jessica may have wanted her family to enjoy the remodel. “I have a feeling it was her wish as a way of getting her house in order for her family,” wrote one fan. “I don’t think anyone expected her not to make it through the renovation.”

And many fans said the network, the Halls, and the Waldrons chose to do the episode to raise awareness about ALS and Team Gleason, an organization dedicated to empowering people with ALS. “The family wanted it aired to raise awareness about ALS and Team Gleason. I think a lot of the work was donated,” a fan commented.

The HGTV star’s husband shared a touching Instagram post dedicated to their client

On the day the episode aired, Christina’s husband Josh shared a lengthy Instagram post in honor of Jessica Waldron.

“During the renovation, the crew and Jessica’s family all became close as we do with most homeowners during a makeover. Jessica always had a joke to crack and put out as much energy as she had to be welcoming,” he wrote, sharing a memory of Jessica doing “donuts” in her empty living room in her motorized chair.

“Sadly, each trip out to see Jessica through the process, it was obvious her condition was progressing and she struggled more and more,” Josh continued. “However, she never gave up, she kept telling us she would beat this and walk again. All we could do is be her supporters and hope for a miracle trying to smile at her without showing our own pain seeing her suffer.”

Josh said that while Jessica “didn’t win this fight with a nasty disease called ALS,” and he and Christina “never got to give her the functional dream home she desired to be comfortable,” he knows “Jessica’s spirit will forever live in this house for her family that she is survived by creating memories just the way she wanted.”

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