"We got back together and it feels like no time has passed," says Audrina Patridge

By Aili Nahas
June 05, 2019 09:37 AM
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It’s been nearly a decade since The Hills, a seminal reality series about the glamorous — and drama-filled — lives of 20-somethings living in Los Angeles, went off the air.

But now, most of the series regulars — plus two newcomers — are back on MTV, and the drama endures.

“We got back together and it feels like no time has passed.” Audrina Patridge — who joins fellow series alums Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt, Stephanie Pratt, Whitney Port, Frankie Delgado, Brody Jenner and Jason Wahler as well as new additions Mischa Barton and Brandon Lee, and wives Jennifer Delgado, Kaitlynn Jenner and Ashley Wahler — tells PEOPLE. (Breakout stars Lauren Conrad, who is focused on her clothing line, podcast and various other ventures, and Kristin Cavallari, who has a reality series on E!, will not be returning.)

“We’re all older for sure now,” says Jenner, 36. “So, it definitely has a different feel. But there was a lot of drama for sure. Right out of the gate, people were coming for each other’s throats!”

Certainly, there were fractured relationships to explore, including the one between Stephanie and brother Spencer, as well as Spencer’s changed relationship with former best friend Jenner.

“The show started off pretty fiery for sure,” says Jenner. Adds Stephanie, 33: “I don’t know how not to be me. I’m concerned that because I’m so real and raw, I could look like the villain!”

Credit: Jeff Riedel

For Spencer and Montag, who were open about falling on hard times after hitting stratospheric levels of fame and wealth, “it was 10 years of praying to get this,” he says. Adds Montag, 32: “We have had this conversation for years. And it was perfect timing for us.”

And this time, many of the cast — Montag and Spencer, Patridge, Port, Wahler and Delgado — have young children, which adds a different element to the new iteration.

“I was a little nervous to leave my son,” says Montag of 20-month-old Gunner, who will appear on the series. “I’m a mom now. I’m different. And I feel a lot more responsibility for my actions. There’s more at stake.”

That meant that when it came to the nightlife aspect of the show, there were unique challenges.

“Usually Heidi and I party together,” says Spencer. “But she wanted me home. I’d say, ‘But the cameras are still at the club honey!’ I had a 2 a.m. curfew.” Interjects Montag: “That’s pretty late!”

Nightclub impresario Delgado, 38, jokes about a balance between family and the show: “I’m Bruce Wayne during the day and Batman at night!”

The Hills cast
| Credit: MTV

And the cast says that in terms of content and those oft-produced storylines, things are different.

“Last time we’d shoot maybe twice a week and we’d get texted what to say,” says Spencer. “This time, producers were like, ‘We follow the truth!’ We shot seven days a week for three months.”

For Brandon, the son of Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson, The Hills was an exciting opportunity.

“I just want people to be able to identify with me,” says the actor and model, who is three years sober. “But I’m also a very in your face person. I don’t have trouble with confrontation!” Veteran actress Barton, 33, whose show The O.C. inspired Laguna Beach, from which The Hills was a spinoff, admits her presence on the show is “ironic.” Says the star: “It was a little nerve-racking [to join the cast]. I didn’t know their history. And I think a lot of them thought I was going to be a total bitch!”

Audrina Patridge, Mischa Barton and Stephanie Pratt
| Credit: Stephanie Pratt/Instagram

Wahler, 32, a recovering addict, found the new show a chance to raise awareness for his sober advocacy work. “Everything has come full circle for me,” he says. “And I want to use my platform to shed light on recovery.”

  • For more from The Hills cast, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Credit: @brethartman

Ultimately, despite the various conflicts, the cast agrees on one thing — that the magic that made the first series such a hit has staying power.

“What we had was so awesome,” Port, 34, tells PEOPLE. “And I didn’t know if it could ever be recreated. But it was.”

The Hills: New Beginnings premieres June 24 on MTV.