When The Hills debuted on MTV in 2006, it brought a new wave of reality TV with it. Every episode was presented as a real look at a group of friends who’d moved to Los Angeles to follow their dreams, but it turns out that much of the drama was allegedly scripted and a little bit fake. The series reboot returns to our screens in 2019 as The Hills: New Beginnings, making it the perfect moment to visit one of reality TV’s most important shows.
After the success of MTV’s Laguna Beach, which followed a group of high school students in Orange County, Calif., creator Adam DiVello decided to pitch a spin-off. Following Laguna star Lauren Conrad as she moved to Los Angeles, The Hills set out to document her life as she started fashion school, interned at Teen Vogue, and lived with her best friend, Heidi Montag. However, the drama soon began when Conrad disapproved of Montag’s Season 2 boyfriend, Spencer Pratt, and mutual friend Audrina Patridge found herself caught in the crossfire. But even more shocking than these reality TV soap opera plots is the fact that multiple cast members have now gone on the record claiming that a plethora of scenes, episodes, and unforgettable moments were all scripted, edited, or coerced. Let’s reveal some of the fakest storylines that happened during the first six seasons of The Hills.
Justin Bobby and Audrina’s untrue romance
One of the most infamous on-again-off-again relationships on The Hills was between Audrina Patridge and Justin Bobby, whose real name is actually Justin Robert Brescia. Patridge just couldn’t seem to quit giving Brescia chances, even when he gave her every reason to walk away for good (Remember when homeboy wore combat boots to the beach?) But speaking to Complex in 2015, Brescia had this to say about their love connection: « Were we like boyfriend girlfriend? No, we weren’t. We worked a lot, we had some moments, we spent a lot of time together. » Basically, even now, he refuses to admit that he had any sort of real relationship with Patridge. Brescia says they just « became really, really good close friends. »
Here’s the thing: Brescia’s description of this supposedly on-off relationship fabricated for TV doesn’t completely match up with Patridge’s own version of events. Patridge told Entertainment Tonight in 2016 that her relationship with Brescia « was a fine line of real and fake, because we definitely had real feelings for each other and what we were going through was real, but what we were going through in real life we didn’t talk [about] on camera. »
Heidi Montag’s career at Bolthouse was … a lie
A key Season 1 storyline on The Hills involved Heidi Montag dropping out of college to pursue a career in public relationships, much to classmate Lauren Conrad’s dismay. However, in a 2016 interview with BuzzFeed, Montag revealed that her entire job at Bolthouse Productions was, in fact, a lie. It seems that Montag’s involvement with the company was a mutually beneficial relationship, but not an actual career. By the way, that promotion Montag supposedly got over her co-worker, Elodie Otto, in Season 3? That apparently was totally fake too. « I definitely did not get the promotion over Elodie! » Montag told Buzzfeed. « She really worked there and I pretend worked there, so it was obviously a pretend promotion for her to be upset about. That whole plot was scripted. »
However, that very same year, Montag gave an interview to InStyle that seemed to suggest her job was real. « Working at Bolthouse was such a fun experience. It was great holding the clipboard and feeling like you’re running the line, » she said. « They’re one of the biggest event companies in the world, throwing multi-million dollar parties. » Despite giving conflicting descriptions of her time at the PR powerhouse, « holding the clipboard » and attending expensive parties doesn’t sound like much of a job description, does it?
Give this kid an Oscar
When Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt moved into a new neighborhood, they found themselves living next door to an adorable young person called Enzo. Viewers may remember the time they threw the little kid a party, complete with an elephant ride. It all seemed adorable, but Pratt confirmed that Enzo was just a character. « His mom and dad [would be] in another room, and we’d come to Enzo’s house to pretend, » he told Entertainment Tonight. « Poor kid, it’s like, ‘Why are they here in my house again?' » Enzo’s house apparently wasn’t even close to where Speidi actually lived. « [We] commuted all the way to Hollywood to go into this fake world, » said Pratt.
As for whether they’ve kept in touch, Montag told BuzzFeed, « I don’t talk to Enzo, but honestly he’s like the cutest kid I’ve ever seen in my life and obviously he was a child actor! He did a great job. »
Heidi’s phony baby-making plot
Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag welcomed their first child, Gunner, in 2017, but when they were filming The Hills, one of their most memorable storylines involved Montag hatching a plan to get pregnant, despite Pratt’s protestations. Discussing the introduction of next-door neighbor Enzo in Season 6, Montag told BuzzFeed that the child actor’s role was meant to suggest that she was ready to start a family and was going « baby-crazy » as a result, but that apparently wasn’t the way Montag really felt.
She told Entertainment Tonight in 2016 that she wasn’t trying to manipulate her husband into having a kid. « Yeah, I would never do that, » she said. « I think that’s the worst thing any human could do. I don’t like tricking or manipulating people or things like that. I think that’s a really important step, and I was way too young. I wasn’t even thinking about kids then. » So there you have it, the baby drama was a sham cooked up for viewers to enjoy … and it totally worked.
So Justin Bobby didn’t have women fighting over him?
Kristin Cavallari, the star of Very Cavallari and Laguna Beach, joined The Hills in Season 5 as Lauren Conrad’s replacement. Understandably, Cavallari joining the cast stirred up some instant drama, especially when she took an interest in Patridge’s on-again-off-again boyfriend — the aforementioned Justin Bobby. However, according to Patridge, there wasn’t much truth to all that romantic tension.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Patridge recalled filming a party scene and saying: « You guys, I don’t want to argue about Justin anymore! Kristin, have him! I want nothing to do with this, I’ve moved on. » Patridge alleges that « producers locked my car in the gate and took my keys. I called my lawyers and [told them] they won’t let me leave and they want me to do this fake fight and it’s just going to make me look bad and I’m with someone else and I’m not obsessed with Justin and it’s making me look like this crazy person. »
Whether or not these extreme filming techniques are really how things went down or not, it appears that neither lady was as into Justin Bobby as the cameras would have you believe. When asked if she regretted any of her onscreen romances, Cavallari told Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen: « I would say Justin but I never really dated him. »
Lauren’s best friend’s wedding sounds pretty fraught
An extremely memorable moment in The Hills Season 5 took place when Lauren Conrad surprised Heidi Montag by turning up at her wedding to Spencer Pratt. However, Conrad’s unexpected appearance at the nuptials, where she handed over the show to new star Kristin Cavallari, was not all that it seemed. As Montag told Buzzfeed, « I know Lauren did not want to come to my wedding, and I was shocked when I saw her. » Her initial thought was, « They must’ve paid you a lot to come here! » Montag added, « I think [producers] had both Lauren and Kristin [Cavallari] there to kind of pass on the baton and show that Kristin was the new head b***h in charge. » Lovely, right?
However, Conrad tells a different story about that wedding. Speaking to Us Weekly in 2016, Conrad claimed producers « literally locked me in the basement with two security guards and wouldn’t let me leave! And I was like, ‘You can’t keep me here!’ I was throwing a fit! » Producer Adam DiVello pushed back, telling the mag that Conrad « might have felt locked in, but she was not. » Interesting.
Sacre bleu! The Paris gig was a sham
At the end of Season 1, series star Lauren Conrad was given an incredible opportunity — to spend the summer interning in Paris with Teen Vogue. However, Conrad ended up turning down the internship, thus forever becoming known as « the girl who didn’t go to Paris. » Lisa Love, the editor who offered Conrad the position, revealed that Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour coined that infamous nickname: « Anna asked me what happened with ‘the girl who didn’t go to Paris, » and the rest is history.
But according to co-star Whitney Port, the Paris internship wasn’t as glamorous as it was made out to be. Port was selected to travel to the City of Lights in Conrad’s place. « It wasn’t an ideal situation, but I thought, okay, this is good for me because I really was pursuing a career in fashion. I thought it showed that I was down and determined to do this, » she told Vogue. Port claimed the gig « was very Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs [from The Devil Wears Prada]. » Perhaps the worst part? The trip wasn’t the summer-long internship it was sold as on TV. « I went for a meeting, but I didn’t go for an extended period of time, » she told MTV News.
Kristin Cavallari was cast as the villain
Kristin Cavallari, who has since reinvented herself with jewelry brand Uncommon James and the reality show Very Cavallari, is probably the most outspoken cast member of The Hills. In 2019, during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, she expressed relief that Port had also revealed some behind-the-scenes truths (such as her fake trip to Paris). « I can tell you most of my stuff wasn’t real, » she said. « I’m just happy that more people are coming out and saying that stuff isn’t real, because for the longest time it was only me. So thank you, Whitney. »
Cavallari told Splash (via The Huffington Post): « The producers were really crappy to me. I felt like everybody was against me and manipulating me, and that forced me to be a b***h. » But she seems to have made peace with the role now. In 2018, she told Parade that Producer Adam DiVello « asked if I was cool with the whole, ‘The B***h is Back’ slogan and I was like, ‘Yeah, if I’m going to do it, let’s do it.' » Cavallari apparently viewed playing the antagonist on reality TV as a job, plain and simple, and if Very Cavallari is anything to go by, she’s much nicer in real life than The Hills made her out to be.
Brody and Lauren were never, ever, ever really together
Despite the fact that viewers were busy shipping Lauren Conrad and Brody Jenner, it turns out that their fledgling relationship was totally fake. Conrad broke the news to Us Weekly in 2016: « We were always more friends than anything. » While several plot lines on The Hills involved Conrad and Jenner hanging out, dating, and even sharing a kiss or two, apparently that was all for the cameras. « He was always very sweet to me, and we enjoyed each other’s company, but I think it was one of those things where producers really wanted us to be together, and we both knew that we didn’t really have that kind of chemistry. »
Jenner concurred. « We would literally film a scene of us kissing or being in this lovey-dovey scene and right after it would be like, ‘Cut!’ … and then we’d go our separate ways, » he told Yahoo! The tryst with Conrad wasn’t his only fake relationship on the show. He told Yahoo! « the hardest part of it was having to live that fake reality. The not being able to say … ‘I didn’t have sex with Jen Bunney, I didn’t hook up with Audrina, I didn’t hook up with any of these girls.' »
So if most of the relationships on The Hills were a lie, what is there to live for? We hate to break it to you, but there’s more bad news ahead…
Audrina wants you to know she never dated Spencer
When Spencer Pratt arrived on the show in Season 2, he was portrayed as Heidi Montag’s possible love interest … who just so happened to be hanging out with Audrina Patridge. In an interview with Broadly, Montag recalled the moment Pratt arrived at a club with Patridge, who supposedly wasn’t on speaking terms with anyone thanks to rumors that she’d been hanging out with one of Lauren Conrad’s ex-boyfriends, Jason Wahler. (Key word: rumors.) As Montag told Broadly, Patridge « showed up with Spencer, and we were like, ‘B***h, please!' » Just like that, Season 2’s drama was born.
However, Patridge claims that all of the friction between her and Montag was fabricated, and she never had any romantic interest in Pratt. « Oh, God, no! I did not have history with [Spencer] and this was one of the things that really upset me, and this was when I started distrusting the producers, » she told Us Weekly. Although we’ll never know for sure, it seems some clever editing helped create a connection that was never really there.
Lauren’s canceled cameo
Season 6 of The Hills ended with the reveal that Brody Jenner’s final scene was being shot on a sound stage — a not-so-subtle nod to the show’s fake storylines. But things could have gone very differently because Lauren Conrad actually returned for the series finale and filmed an alternate ending. MTV broadcast the special cameo years later: It shows showed Conrad waiting at home for Jenner, as if they were now living together. (In reality, the secret girlfriend Jenner kept referring to throughout Season 6 was actually Avril Lavigne, who he was dating at the time.)
While Conrad previously told E! she had « no plans to come back, » Producer Adam DiVello wasn’t going to give up so easily. « It’s something I always wanted for the finale, and it just took a lot of persuading, » he told Entertainment Weekly. « …I was relentless and I bugged MTV until they gave in. » But when all was said and done, MTV didn’t follow DiVello’s vision — the one where Jenner and Conrad are cohabitating. « It wasn’t my decision. I handed in two finales … I think even Lauren was surprised when they decided to go with the other one. » Thanks to the internet, Conrad’s totally fake cameo is now immortalized forever.
Spencer’s Jekyll and Hyde persona
The most polarizing character on The Hills was definitely Spencer Pratt, who admits that he played into his villainous storylines as the show got more popular. According to Pratt, he couldn’t be more different from the erratic, sometimes violent, consummate dirt bag he personified onscreen. Heidi Montag’s other half told InStyle: « 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 gentleman — opening doors and going to the movies and cuddling. » Pratt insisted he was simply « chasing a payday » by playing into his nasty narrative. « There was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing going on. »
One of the show’s producers seemed to confirm Pratt’s version of events, telling Refinery29: « I feel like he knew the character the show was portraying, and he played into it, and it helped him and the show out. Now I feel bad if any of that is ruining anything he wants to do moving forward. » Even Pratt’s (now-estranged) sister, Stephanie, described her brother as « a reality TV genius. »
So which Pratt will we see in The Hills: New Beginnings? We can’t wait to find out!