In honor of the MTV hit's 10th anniversary, several cast members and behind-the-scenes player spoke to InStyle

By Lanford Beard
May 23, 2016 07:15 PM

The Hills celebrates the 10th anniversary of its premiere on May 31, and the cast is celebrating by offering up prime dirt on the ultra-popular, super glam MTV reality series.

Lauren Conrad, Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag Pratt, Audrina Patridge and Justin “Bobby” Brescia were just a few of the cast members and behind-the-scenes power players who talked to InStyle for the occasion and spilled some serious tea, including who was really behind the infamous nickname Conrad earned among Vogue stars and how Pratt descended into crystal addiction.

Despite the glossy veneer on the series, by the end of six seasons (4½ for Conrad), many cast members admit the friction between their real lives and the lives they were living on camera led to some dark places – causing three of the stars to leave the U.S. entirely after the show wrapped in July 2010.

Read on for the highlights …

Lauren Conrad on The Hills
MTV

LC’s Burn-Book Nickname Came from … Anna Wintour?!

Perhaps the oral history’s freshest revelation centered on one of The Hills‘ most unforgettable cliffhangers – and the fallout it held for Conrad, now 30.

In season 1, she opted out of an internship in France to spend the summer living with then-boyfriend Jason Wahler at the beach. When summer ended, so did the couple’s tumultuous relationship. Conrad returned to the Teen Vogue offices that fall, and West Coast Director Lisa Love told her cooly, “You’ll always be known as the girl who didn’t go to Paris.”

Conrad reveals to InStyle: “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!’ ”

LC Wanted More Than Fame from The Hills

“I initially signed on because I wanted the paycheck,” she says. “I was going to college, my parents weren’t financially supporting me anymore, and I had used up all my Laguna [Beach] money. So when Adam [DiVello, the show’s producer,] came to me and said, ‘Do you want to do this show?’ I was like, ‘Yep!’ ”

RELATED VIDEO: The Hills Stars Turn Bikini Girls!

Patridge, now 31, met Brescia while working at Quixote studios. He was styling hair for various musical acts and offered up his services (and maybe more!) to her, too. “I asked if he wanted to cut my hair on camera,” she says. And Brescia, now 34, reveals, “I think I charged her!”

“The first time I saw Spencer, I instantly fell in love with him,” remembers Montag Pratt, now 29. “I had goo-goo eyes. He was surrounded by, like, 20 [Playboy] Playmates. But I danced with him anyway, and we hit it off. I think people knew the depth of love we had right away. And I think it scared them a little.” (For his part, Pratt says he was most taken with his future wife’s “scary good” dance moves.)

After their nightly excursions to Los Angeles’ hottest spots, Pratt, now 32, reveals that “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.”

“During season 1, all of my stuff was from thrift stores or hand-me-downs,” says Montag Pratt. “When I started getting a little more money, I got into the heels and the Birkins. I had a million-dollar closet.”

Her husband admits, “I just had a show [Princes of Malibu] 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.”

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After infamously undergoing 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day, Montag Pratt was in “excruciating pain” (it “was definitely the worst idea I ever had”), and her husband was desperate to provide some relief.

“That’s when I got into the crystals,” he says. “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.”

He adds, “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 s—.”

“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,” he says. “When the cameras were off, I was a complete gentleman – opening 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 [as an actor] in an indie film, people would think I’m the new Jennifer Lawrence.”

Stephanie Pratt, now 30, thinks her brother “is the funniest human on the planet,” but she says that it was no fun to film with him “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.”

Of the famously tense confrontation in which Conrad told Montag Pratt, “I want to forgive you, and I want to forget you,” Montag Pratt says, “Lauren would watch movies sometimes and get impacted by them. I think that line was rehearsed in her mind.”

She adds, “It was really intense for me, because it was the first time I had seen Lauren since I had surgery for the first time. 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.”

Counters 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.”

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

Adds 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.”

Several cast members fled to Central America after filming.

“When the show stopped, it was shocking,” says Montag Pratt. “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.”

Brescia agrees: “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.”

And while Patridge didn’t fully leave Los Angeles (she took some time out of the spotlight before appearing on season 11 of Dancing with the Stars and later hosting 1st Look), she revealed recently on her blog that she hasn’t talked to Conrad since they finished filming together – though she does keep in touch with Montag Pratt, Kristin Cavallari and Brody Jenner.

Spencer: “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: “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!”

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