Courtesy MTV
Claire Stern
May 21, 2016 @ 7:00 am

“She’s going to always be known as the girl who didn’t go to Paris.” To this day, it remains one of the most cutthroat lines ever delivered on television. The recipient, of course, was Lauren Conrad, then a wide-eyed twentysomething who had recently fled the Laguna Beach, Calif., bubble where she was raised—and prominently featured on MTV’s Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County—for Los Angeles to pursue a career in fashion. 

On May 31, 2006—10 years ago this month—The Hills premiered, attracting millions of viewers each week with its tear-filled cat fights and epic disses (“He’s a sucky person!”). For those who harbored dreams of working at a glossy magazine, it also offered a rare inside look at an industry that was once closely guarded from the public, years before apps like Instagram and Snapchat came along and democratized everything. 

The show revolved around Conrad, the Carrie Bradshaw-esque central character, and her life in the City of Angels as a part-time student at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), intern at Teen Vogue and, later, Kelly Cutrone’s PR firm People’s Revolution. But being a young and attractive girl about town also meant ample drama, mainly involving a very public falling out with her best friend, Heidi Montag, and now-husband Spencer Pratt, aka Speidi, the resident villains.

Then there was the cast of supporting players, handpicked by the show’s visionary creator, Adam DiVello. Conrad’s crew was comprised of Audrina Patridge, childhood friend Lo Bosworth, and later, in an ironic twist of events, Stephanie Pratt, the sister of her arch nemesis Spencer. Whitney Port played a confidant at work; Brody Jenner was a love interest; and Justin Brescia was, well, Justin Bobby. Fashion industry fixtures Cutrone and Vogue’s Lisa Love starred as Conrad and Port’s bosses. Montag’s superior was Hollywood nightlife mogul Brent Bolthouse. 

The Hills was reality TV at its peak, before Keeping Up with the Kardashians lured audiences with its non-traditional family values and Jersey Shore hit below the belt with alcohol-fueled shenanigans. In essence, it was a classic coming-of-age story, evidenced by the lyrics of the infectious Natasha Bedingfield song “Unwritten” that memorably played during the opening credits. In honor of the show’s 10th anniversary, we reached out to the entire Hills cast, as well as some of the crew, for a nostalgic look back. 

ASSEMBLING THE PERFECT CAST

While some of the cast members previously starred on Laguna Beach, it was up to DiVello to find other native Angelenos to join Conrad’s inner circle. Enter Patridge, Brescia, Port, Jenner, and the Pratts. 

Adam DiVello (Creator): I first met Lauren when we were casting for Laguna Beach. I was walking through the parking lot of her high school, and she and Lo were screaming because they had set off the car alarm. It’s rare for a high school student to be that expressive with their emotions. She looked like the ultimate California girl. 

Lauren Conrad: We were making a scene! I think we were wearing matching Juicy velour tracksuits. 

Lo Bosworth: We were actually ditching class and trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. Safe to say we were noticed immediately. 

Adam DiVello: After two seasons of Laguna Beach, Lauren told me she was going to fashion school in Los Angeles. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to follow her on the next stage of her journey. I wanted to make a reality TV Melrose Place, where characters deal with work and relationships in a new city. It was meant to be very aspirational for young girls who dream of working in fashion. 

Lauren Conrad: I initially signed on because I wanted the paycheck. I was going to college, my parents weren’t financially supporting me anymore, and I had used up all my Laguna money. So when Adam came to me and said, “Do you want to do this show?” I was like, “Yep!”

Heidi Montag: Laguna Beach hadn’t even aired when I met Lauren at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. But there was a rumor circulating that a girl from an MTV show was going to be there. I thought it was going to be Made: I Want to Be a Prom Queen. We instantly became best friends. The following summer, I stayed with her family for a few weeks before we moved to L.A. and filmed some episodes of the show. Then she told me she was going to do a spin-off and asked if I wanted to be on it. I was like, “Heck yeah!” It was hard to conceptualize how big it really was.

Whitney Port: I was about to start school at USC when I heard that Teen Vogue was looking for interns. They said, “We want whoever is interning here to be okay with cameras, because MTV is going to start to film a documentary-style TV show.” So I showed up for my on-camera interview and was sitting in the lobby and that’s when Lauren walked in. I was like, “Okay. I know what I’m doing here now.”

Lauren Conrad: It was a weird moment for me. Up until The Hills, I knew everyone I filmed with. When I walked into that waiting room and sat down, I noticed that everyone was miked. That’s when I started to realize that this was a different kind of show. 

Adam DiVello: We knew as soon as we saw Whitney that she’d be the perfect confidant for Lauren at work. She was extremely genuine on camera. There was nothing pretentious about her. Then I went to Lauren and Heidi’s apartment to scout the location and I saw Audrina lounging by the pool in a bikini. 

Audrina Patridge: It was the ultimate dream scenario. He was being a total Hollywood producer type: “You’re so pretty! What do you do?” I told him that I worked at a photo studio and came to L.A. to act and model. I wasn’t allowed to go to the pool for two weeks because he didn’t want me to meet Lauren or Heidi off-camera.

Justin Brescia: When I met Audrina, I was working on a Madonna music video with a team of hairdressers, and it happened to be at Quixote Studios where she was a receptionist. 

Audrina Patridge: He kept walking in front of my desk and asking if I could get him things… magazines, waters. We had just started filming the show, so I asked if he wanted to cut my hair on camera. 

Justin Brescia: I think I charged her! Then they called me after and asked me to film again. I was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” So I took a step back. At the time, I was touring with Maroon 5 and doing their hair, so I didn’t really need a job. Then Adam [DiVello] asked, “What’s it going to take?” He’s Italian, and I’m Italian, so he schmoozed me like Italians do. It took a couple of pasta dinners and the almighty dollar. 

Spencer Pratt: Sean Travis, one of the producers of The Hills, also produced Princes of Malibu with Brody and I before it got canceled. One day I was kicking it at my mom’s house and her friend said, “Have you seen this show? This girl’s so cute.” And it was Heidi. The trippiest part is that I didn’t even make the connection that I had already met her at Privilege [Ed note: a now-defunct nightclub] the summer before. Then I saw Sean’s name pop up during the opening credits. So I called him, and he told me it was a set cast from Laguna Beach and he couldn’t get us on. I was like, “Bullsh*t. We’ll see you at the clubs.” I called Brody and said, “We gotta drop $30,000 on bottles and make a scene at Area [Ed note: another now-defunct nightclub] next to their table.” Brody was a hardcore prince at the time. 

Brent Bolthouse: Spencer was always a hustler. 

Adam DiVello: Brody and Spencer were a fixture on the scene back then. It’s kind of hard for them not to infiltrate into our world. Then Spencer started dating Heidi.

Stephanie Pratt: I met Lauren briefly at a club, where we got into an argument. The first time I properly met her was when I walked in late to my class at FIDM and the only open seat was next to her. Out of sheer awkwardness, I apologized for fighting with her. 

RELATED: Video: Lauren Conrad Reveals What 3 Beauty Products She Would Bring to a Desert Island

THE RELATIONSHIPS

Late nights and close quarters led to romances blooming. Some of The Hills’ most standout courtships were Montag and Pratt; Patridge and Brescia; Jenner and Conrad; then Jenner and Kristin Cavallari (for a second go-round). And, let’s not forget that infamous hookup between Jenner and Conrad’s childhood friend, Jen Bunney.

Heidi Montag: The first time I saw Spencer, I instantly fell in love with him. I had goo-goo eyes. He was surrounded by, like, 20 [Playboy] Playmates. But I danced with him anyway, and we hit it off. 

Spencer Pratt: Heidi is a scary good dancer. And this is when I thought I was Derek Hough. It’s the last good memory I’ve ever had in a nightclub.

Heidi Montag: I think people knew the depth of love we had right away. And I think it scared them a little bit. We’re soul mates, and whatever we were doing on-camera wasn’t anything compared to how much we truly loved each other off-camera.

Justin Brescia: Heidi and Spencer had my blessings from day one. To be together through that whole time says a lot. When you see two people and their eyes are horizontally locked, you just know they’re meant

Audrina Patridge: Justin and I had an understanding with each other before the show. He understood what I was going through, and we became really close. Then one thing lead to another. First and foremost, we were friends who really cared for each other. 

Justin Brescia: Right off the bat, Audrina had my best interests at heart. There was no hidden agenda. That says a lot to me. Doing what we do, you really have to peel back the layers and see into somebody’s heart and what their intentions are, and hers were super pure from day one. I think that’s why it [the relationship] did what it did. You get to this point where your castmates become like family. Then you get into situations where you have romantic dinners. Being in your early 20s, that stuff’s going to come to fruition. You’re not going to be opposed to certain things that come your way. 

Audrina Patridge: In my eyes, it was more than work, because we had something before The Hills even started. On the show, I wore my heart on my sleeve a lot, so it was hard for me to separate the two. There were things we were doing off-camera that were real, and on-camera, it was all ruthless and heartless. I didn’t like that part of it at all. 

Justin Brescia: You spend so much time with each other in the spotlight and it can almost play a trick on you. You almost believe what is out there in the air rather than your thoughts and beliefs, and I think that’s where a lot of people get tripped up. I tried to stay true to what was in my heart. People can believe anything they want now, but time and truth really does tell. It was a blessing to be able to speak freely like that and give something inspirational to people who don’t think that way.

Audrina Patridge: That line—“truth and time tells all”—was about us being together. Justin was very philosophical. He’d never really give straight answers, but he’d have these brilliant one-liners, where you’d be like, “That sounds really great.” But afterwards you’d think about it, and you’re like, “What the heck does that mean?”

Jennifer Bunney: The kiss between Brody and I was 100 percent fake. The night of my birthday, we all went back to Lauren’s house. We all had a big sleepover that night. I had a boyfriend at the time, and so did Lauren. 

Lauren Conrad: When you’re in your 20s, there’s a lot of drama when you’re dating and figuring out relationships—both with friends and others.

RELATED: Lauren Conrad Reveals the Biggest Lesson She Learned in Her 20s, and Why She's Excited for Her 30s

Courtesy MTV

THE JOB(S) A MILLION GIRLS WOULD KILL FOR

Conrad and Port logged most of their days staring at each other in the fashion closet at Teen Vogue, before honing their PR skills at People’s Revolution, which Cutrone ran with an iron fist.

Adam DiVello: Lauren had already gotten into FIDM, but she needed an internship. The first place I wanted was Vogue, because The Devil Wears Prada had just came out and it was very timely. It seemed like the dream job—the one a million girls would kill for. 

Lauren Conrad: My mom has this book where, every year, she’d have me do my signature and answer a few questions. One of them was “What do you want to be when you grow up?” From third grade on, it just says “fashion designer.” I’m not even sure who put that idea into my head; I just decided that is what I was going to be. 

Whitney Port: I always wanted to be in fashion but I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do. People don’t realize how cut-throat and opinion-based it can be. One season you can do great, and the next season it’s totally off. At Teen Vogue, I was so concerned with what they thought of me, like when they picked out our outfits…

Lauren Conrad: Looking back, I totally agree with the changes they made. We were new to the industry. I think we were both trying to dress appropriately for the job and not really sure of what that was. But at the time I was like, “Oh man! I took a week to pick this out!”

Whitney Port: I was so horrified that day. We did not look good. I don’t know whether I had that style or whether the trends were just so bad then. Either way, I didn’t question it. I figured if I did well during the internship, I’d land my dream job.

Lauren Conrad: Lisa later told me the reason she said I’ll “always be known as the girl who didn’t go to Paris” is because that’s what Anna Wintour referred to me as. Apparently I came up in a conversation and she said, “Oh, you mean that girl who didn’t go to Paris?” I was like, “Great!” Not only were they surprised by that—the entire crew was shocked that I didn’t go. I was so burnt out at the time; I needed a moment to breathe. But I eventually went!

Kelly Cutrone: Lisa called me and recommended me to the producers. At the time, I sensed a shift in the way people would be getting their information about the fashion industry. Like, why isn’t anyone invited to come see it? It’s a consumer-driven business. Initially, I did it for free, because it was a fantastic way to get exposure for my clients. And if I was wrong, I could go make maple syrup candy in Vermont. But I knew I was making a controversial move. I realized I was getting my Jeremy Scott for Longchamp bag and a pair of Havaianas and walking slowly off a mountain. I knew that, by peeling away some of the veneer that covered this inside world of fashion, people were going to get very upset. I was conscious about that. But I didn’t care.

Whitney Port: Kelly was like my career mom for sure. She was always keeping an eye on me. 

Kelly Cutrone: These girls were genuinely interested in fashion. And for people who want to work in the industry, it basically takes your life. If you’re from Montana and you have Sunday dinner at 4:00 PM, it’s probably not the best place for you to be. It’s not just a job. It’s an all-encompassing thing that will take everything from you. But it will also give you a ton. That’s what I meant when I told Whitney she’s making a deal with the devil.

Audrina Patridge: Quixote was a real job. I got in trouble a lot because they would film there and I was the only receptionist. I was like, “I’m going to get fired!”

Heidi Montag: Working at Bolthouse was such a fun experience. It was great holding the clipboard and feeling like you’re running the line. They’re one of the biggest event companies in the world, throwing multi-million dollar parties. I couldn’t just sit and play Solitaire all day.

Brent Bolthouse: Heidi was always a hungry worker. She wanted to do things. She got done whatever needed to get done. And she was willing to do anything to move ahead. She had bigger aspirations than being a secretary, and she always showed that she wanted to push the envelope and take risks.

RELATED: Whitney Port Reveals Her Secret to Staying Energized All Weekend Long

THE NIGHTLIFE

The cast spent the bulk of their nights hitting Hollywood’s club scene at then-hot spots Area, Les Deux, Geisha House, and Opera. 

Heidi Montag: Clubs were so much cooler back then, before cellphone cameras and Snapchat. It was free and fun and everybody was present and there. Lauren and I mopped up the clubs all the time. We had a schedule. Tuesday and Thursday was Les Deux. Wednesday was Area. Friday was Privilege. Nobody knew who we were yet, but we still got in and got tables. 

Michael “Spike” Van Briesen (Producer): Adam was always really conscious about filming wherever is hot and happening. Brent got us access to a lot of great places, like Area. It was a “you scratch my back, we’ll scratch yours” kind of thing. 

Brent Bolthouse: Area was my vision of what I thought a beautiful mid-century modern nightclub could look like, with a residential feel. Les Deux was a fantastic space that had existed for a really long time as a French-Bohemian restaurant. When The Hills started, we had to ask people if we could film their parties. By Season 3, they were begging us to film there. 

Lauren Conrad: I think the fact that I was young worked to my advantage. I look back at the amount of things I used to do, and it’s so crazy. I don’t think I could do it anymore. I was definitely burning the candle at both ends. 

Spencer Pratt: Heidi and Lauren had this pizza spot they used to go to after the clubs. I swear to god, to this day, I’ve never seen two girls that could eat pizza faster at 3 a.m. I’m talking whole larges to the dome.

RELATED: Lauren Conrad's Changing Looks

THE FASHION

Along with countless memorable quotes, The Hills birthed some fantastic mid-aughts fashion moments, including Conrad’s trademark oversized sunglasses and headbands. 

Adam DiVello: We always wanted the girls to wear their own clothes. We never provided hair, or makeup, or wardrobe. What you wear represents who you are. It’s an extension of your personality. 

Heidi Montag: During Season 1, all of my stuff was from thrift stores or hand-me-downs. When I started getting a little more money, I got into the heels and the Birkins. I had a million-dollar closet. It was insane.

Jennifer Bunney: Heidi used to let me go into her closet and borrow her clothes. I remember loving everything she wore. We had similar style. 

Kelly Cutrone: I remember Lauren coming into my office with, like, four or five boxes of Jimmy Choos and Louboutins. They all looked hot and girly, very West Coast-y. 

Audrina Patridge: Whenever I see old photos, I’m like, “What. Was. I. Wearing?” But at the time, it was all super cute. That edgy rocker style will always be a part of me.  

Justin Brescia:  My pops was a big Harley guy and Bostonian, so I kept a lot of his rags. A lot of it I still carry with me. I don’t have an abundance of clothes, but the stuff that I have, I have for life. I like to live in my stuff and have it be a part of me as much as I can because in this life nowadays you just gotta be as comfortable as possible. 

Whitney Port: When I look back, I don’t even know how I worked in fashion because my looks were so crazy. 

RELATED: Lauren Conrad's Top 10 Style Secrets

“A MAN SO GREAT, HE NEEDED TWO NAMES”

One of the most hilarious scenes in the entire series came when Conrad and Bosworth decided to confront Brescia about his alleged two names: Justin and Bobby. 

Justin Brescia: My middle name is Robert. My dad’s name was Bob, so he was Bobby Brescia. When I was a kid, people would call me Bobby because I look like my dad. I didn’t want my birth given name on the show—it rubbed me the wrong way—so I thought it would be cool to keep an alias of sorts. I thought “Bobby” was on the lower tides of that sort of thing. So I told Audrina, “Tell production and whoever we work with to say ‘Bobby’.” But she would slip. They would call me “Bobby” and she would just sort of sit there, then go, “Oh, you mean Justin?” I’d have to kick her shin under the table. Then it came to a head at some point.

Audrina Patridge: It was weird for me because I knew him before as Justin. And when he started filming, he wanted to be known as Bobby. And I was like, “What am I supposed to call you?” Then when I talked to Lauren about it off-camera, she told Lo, and then it just got out of hand. It’s kind of funny how it stuck. It works!

Lo Bosworth: He couldn't make up his mind so I suppose I did for him. It was truly inadvertent but some things aren't easy to shake.

Justin Brescia: You can’t find it and you can’t run away from it too long without letting it do its thing and just be. 

Courtesy

“I WANT TO FORGIVE YOU, AND I WANT TO FORGET YOU”

It was the fight that launched 1,000 GIFs. Conrad and Montag’s escalating tiff over her relationship with Pratt came to a head at their former apartment at Hillside Villas in La Brea, Calif. Then came the mascara tears. 

Heidi Montag: Lauren would watch movies sometimes and get impacted by them. I think that line was rehearsed in her mind.

Lauren Conrad: There’s nothing fake about that scene. That was a very real moment. And while it took a lot of conversations for me to be open to having that conversation on-camera, I think it’s important we did.

Michael “Spike” Van Briesen: It’s good to put the cast into situations that are uncomfortable. I’d always say, “If you need to say something to somebody, say it. If you have feelings about this person, tell that person.” It’s like being a camp counselor. 

Heidi Montag: It was really intense for me, because it was the first time I had seen Lauren since I had surgery. When I woke up, this whole thing had exploded. I was like, “Did I wake up in hell?” I had no idea any of this was going to happen. It was really challenging for me to get the courage to go there by myself knowing she was mad at me. I have absolutely drawn strength from that moment.

Lauren Conrad: I think that the more emotional scenes are the best ones because they were just so raw and real. They might not always look the prettiest, but they were always truthful.

RELATED: Lauren Conrad Revealed a Major Secret From Heidi and Spencer’s Wedding

THE NEW HEIDI

In January 2010, Montag famously went under the knife to have a staggering 10 plastic surgery procedures done in one day. She unveiled her cosmetic makeover on the cover of Us Weekly, and, later that spring, in The Hills’s Season 6 premiere.

Heidi Montag: When you have a surgeon telling you, “It’s a little of this, a little of that,” those are big wounds they are cutting you open with. I was too young to make a decision like that. I didn’t realize the magnitude of the situation. It was definitely the worst idea I ever had. But at the time, I didn’t care what anyone else was saying. I was just trying to survive and get through every minute of excruciating pain.

Spencer Pratt: That was such a heavy moment. Plastic surgery is no walk in the park. That’s when I got into the crystals. I was playing nurse, and her painkillers weren’t working. I started Googling “homeopathic remedies” and I read this article about Sugilite—this one rock with healing powers. So I go buy a $15,000 chunk of Sugilite, and when she held it, she said she felt no pain. Then I was like, “I’m filling the whole bedroom with crystals! I’m putting them on!” I didn’t want Heidi to be in pain anymore. I started getting into wands, too. I was just like, “I need to join the Illuminati, it’s my only chance.” There was a lot of dark energy, and I was looking for any way to counteract it. You just start getting medieval on sh*t. 

Heidi Montag: I felt horrible, because Spencer didn’t want me to do the operations in the first place. I didn’t realize that I was committing both of us to surgery. He was the one who had to sit there and watch me cry all day in screaming pain. I certainly would not recommend it. When things seem too good to be true, it’s because they are. 

RELATED: Brody Jenner and Longtime Girlfriend Kaitlynn Carter Are Engaged

THE GLARE AND STARE

The show was known for its icy staredowns between cast members. According to producers, the surly expressions were an editing tactic, refined over time. 

Michael “Spike” Van Briesen: Instead of saying “you suck,” it was easier to have them stare directly at someone and cue out with a soundtrack.

Adam DiVello: We wanted to make the show feel soapy. It was like a cliffhanger for next week’s episode. The big thing we didn’t have that a lot of reality shows do is the confessionals. But we were at MTV, so we had access to a lot of songs that a lot of people didn’t have yet. One of the best glare and stares is when Lauren looked at Whitney when they were talking about a rumor and we played Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” The music helped tell the story. 

Lauren Conrad: I believe most of those looks came from the very end of shooting. We were just standing there; we weren’t allowed to talk.

Whitney Port: It wasn’t necessarily something we were consciously doing.

Kelly Cutrone: It wasn’t planned. Everyone’s eyes would kind of open and you’d do a nod with your head without blinking. It’s so insane. It was this psychic weird connection. It’s an open-eyed blink without closing your eyelids. 

Audrina Patridge: I’d be like, “You guys! I said this, this, and that and you didn’t even show what I had to say—you just showed me staring!” It was frustrating, but it was part of the show. 

REAL VS. FAKE

Whether or not The Hills was real or fake remains a hotly debated topic, with different cast members speaking out about which storylines were indeed scripted. 

Heidi Montag: Lauren was very serious about not doing fake things. I always admired her for standing her ground with her show. But a lot of it was engineered. Spencer didn’t really propose to me on a beach in Santa Barbara. Sometimes I would get confused in my head. I think I played it more like I knew what I was doing than I actually did. 

Spencer Pratt: I just had a show canceled, so I wanted the ratings. I was always chasing that payday. I loved going to Hermès and buying everything. I was eating dinner with Wolfgang Puck having him cut my steak for me every night. We wanted to have a show that people watched, so we did all this stuff that made us look like the worst humans on Earth. When the cameras were off, I was a complete gentlemanopening doors and going to the movies and cuddling. There was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing going on. If I did any of that in an indie film, people would think I’m the new Jennifer Lawrence

Stephanie Pratt: Spencer is the funniest human on the planet. He’s a reality TV genius. Filming with him was always the highlight, except when he was mad at me, and during the last season when we stopped speaking. I never think about those times. It was very dark.

Brent Bolthouse: We had a real company that threw parties in L.A. Teen Vogue was a real magazine. We didn’t alter our lives for this show. Whatever was happening was what these kids were doing. 

Kelly Cutrone: The show was not scripted. People were filmed and, after a two or three hour pass, producers would chime in with suggestions for the plot. 

Michael “Spike” Van Briesen: We always tried to keep the show as organic as we possibly could. You have to make people comfortable about what they don’t want to talk about on TV. I never told the girls what to say. I helped them think about what they wanted to say.

Adam DiVello: It was scheduled reality. We weren’t with these kids 24/7. We didn’t have their houses wired up. We knew when they were coming. We were constantly in contact with all of them. Of course, there was a lot of speculation, so the finale was a tongue-in-cheek nod to the storytelling process. It left the viewer wondering a bit.

RELATED: The Most Quoted Line from Laguna Beach, According to Kristin Cavallari

Courtesy MTV

ON WHEN THE SHOW ENDED

While Conrad left the show halfway through the fifth season—after making a surprise appearance at Montag and Pratt’s wedding—it officially ended with Season 6, after Cavallari took over as the protagonist. During the final episode of the series, Cavallari decides to move to Europe. In the final scene, Jenner watches her car drive off to the airport, and a fake Hollywood Hills backdrop is pulled away, revealing a set and alluding to the rumors about the The Hills being fake.

Lauren Conrad: I really struggled with leaving because I wasn’t happy doing it anymore, and, at the time, I was in a relationship with someone that could never exist on camera. I was ready to start my real life. There was always compromise when I was filming, and I had to decide what I could share and what I couldn’t and I felt like very little was my own. I was in a place where I knew the show could go on without me, and I would be happier if I left. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I made it and I’m glad that I did. 

Audrina Patridge: When Lauren left, it wasn’t the same. It slowly transitioned into drama and chaos. It wasn’t fun anymore. It wasn’t genuine or happy. It was drama, drama, drama. 

Adam DiVello: We had gotten to a point where Lauren had left the show two seasons before, and Kristin graciously came in to carry the last two seasons. But people’s fame caught up with them and it became bigger than what the show was. I thought that we had told the story. 

Heidi Montag: When the show stopped, it was shocking. We didn’t really know what to do. We went to Malibu first and had all these marines and bodyguards living with us. Then we went to Costa Rica and lived there for a couple of months. It was hard because we didn’t really have our families and life was just a mess. It was really challenging adjusting from that high. 

Spencer Pratt: If you had asked me right before The Hills ended what I was going to be doing, I would’ve told you, “I’m going to be on a reality show for the next 30 years!” That’s not crazy when you think about the Kardashians. You didn’t think that you could just be turned off. Game over. 

Audrina Patridge: When I didn’t have people calling me telling me where to be, what to say, or what to do, I felt lost. That was a huge wakeup call for me. So I took about a year for myself and get back in touch with me again.

Justin Brescia: I made some investments. I bought a really nice home in Manhattan Beach, opened up two salons, and did a bit of traveling. The last thing I wanted to do was be around L.A., so I went to Nicaragua for a couple of years on a surf trip. 

Whitney Port: I wanted to see what the world was like in New York. It took me a bit of time, but I knew doing The City was a sure way to get the amount of exposure I needed for my eventual clothing line. I needed to be a smart businesswoman at that point and sacrifice privacy. 

Jennifer Bunney: I went to business school and got my MBA at Loyola Marymount University, a master’s in Public Health at Berkeley, and now I’m getting my doctorate in public health.

LIFE AFTER THE HILLS

Many cast members moved on to careers in the fashion industry, most notably Lauren Conrad, who runs two clothing lines, Paper Crown and LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s, and parlayed her reality TV gig into a burgeoning lifestyle brand. 

Lauren Conrad: The biggest projects I work on now are my two clothing lines. Then, I wrote a new book, Celebrate. I’ve also spent a lot of time working on The Little Market, a fair-trade clothing line, which affords me the opportunity to work with amazing female artisans. I’m busy, but in a good way.

Spencer Pratt: My life is like Groundhog Day. Every morning, I make two 32 gram shots of Zip Zinger espresso. I used to have a breakfast burrito every day, but now I have an apple with almond butter, because I want to be model skinny. Then I usually do jujitsu for about an hour and a half, then I eat salmon. Then I go home, ice my old man knees, watch Apple TV, and tweet, because I don’t have any actual friends to talk to. Then Heidi and I will either get sushi or Mexican food and I’ll have some tequila on ice. I keep that in rotation. 

Heidi Montag: I’m a domestic goddess. I cook and I clean and I deal with four dogs. Spencer and I are going to try to have a baby next year, too. I’m ready to be a mom—I think it’s going to be such a great chapter. Kristin seems like such an awesome mom, and I think Audrina will be such a great mom. I guess we need to have the new Hills as moms! 

Audrina Patridge: I’m pregnant, so I’ll be having a baby soon. Corey [Bohan] and I are planning our wedding, so there’s lots of things we’re getting ready for. And I’m working on my own swim line. 

Justin Brescia: My band, BobbyrocK, is on a U.S. tour. And I have a haircare line. I have other people running the hair salons.

Whitney Port: My career is definitely evolving. I’m taking this time right now to restructure my line, Whitney Eve. I’m married. I live in Venice. I have a very normal life. 

Kelly Cutrone: I’m developing a project with Lionsgate about the fashion industry and starting to work on my third book, You Are a Witch, You Know You Are, about girls and magic and power and creating what you want, through a pagan filter. 

Lo Bosworth: I live in New York now and run my own website, TheLoDown, create content for brands in the cooking and lifestyle space, and have a podcast called Lady Lovin'. My boyfriend and I are also welcoming a new puppy into our home. I don’t have any complaints. 

Jennifer Bunney: I’m the director of population health for a healthcare company based in Southern California. I help deliver quality care to people that are sick and old in vulnerable populations. 

RELATED: Lo Bosworth's Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

LEGACY

For many, The Hills lives on as a generational classic; a vestige of the aughts that will be treasured along with Josh Schwartz’s beloved teen dramas. 

Adam DiVello: I think everybody in their life has been through what Lauren went through. She’s such a relatable character. She wore her emotions on her face—you always knew what she was feeling. She’ll always be remembered for that in a very positive way.

Lauren Conrad: Everybody has these moments and everyone goes through them, and it’s a way that others can relate with you so you don’t feel alone.

Audrina Patridge: I feel like a lot of girls can relate to what Justin and I were going through. There were blurred lines, but there was true love there. 

Whitney Port: I’m so grateful. I would never have the opportunities I have now.

Kelly Cutrone: Because of my persona on the show, people are afraid of me. It made my seating charts much easier to do, because no one f*cked with me in the front row anymore. 

Brent Bolthouse: I run The Bungalow, a new club in Santa Monica. Brody comes in all the time.

Lo Bosworth: I can't imagine what my life would look like without The Hills in it, and frankly, I don't wish to because I'm quite content at this point. I’d do it all over again. 

Heidi Montag: I am very thankful for The Hills because it gave me the love of my life. I deeply appreciate everything that Lauren has done for me, and I don’t hold any grudges. Maybe, in heaven one day, we’ll be friends again. We’re all different people now. That’s the great thing in life: You don’t have to be who you were 10 years ago. You can work on yourself and change.

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