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Lauren Conrad was no stranger to reality television when she first starred in The Hills. She made her debut in Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, which chronicled her life and several other students at Laguna Beach High School.
The spin-off series The Hills continued to follow Lauren as she ventured into the fashion industry. But eventually, Lauren decided to the leave the show, which then switched focus to other people.
To this day, fans want to know the real reason Lauren left The Hills, and luckily, this guide has the answer. Keep reading to learn what Lauren and her co-stars have to say over fifteen years after she departed, and what she thinks of the 2019 reboot.
After experiencing five years of constantly being on reality TV and breaking off an important friendship, Lauren decided she needed a break from filming.
Lauren Conrad left The Hills halfway through season 5 in episode 10, “Something Old, Something New.” At the time, Lauren said, “It’s coming to a point where I love this show so much, but I’m ready to kind of walk away.”
“I’ve been doing it for five years. Five years on TV is a really, really long time.”
In a 2020 interview with former co-star Whitney Port, Lauren expanded on her decision, calling The Hills environment “toxic.”
Lauren thought to herself, “’I need to live my own life and [leave].’ I removed myself from that whole scene. There are certain toxic elements there and it gets really hard.”
“I got to step away from this world and heal in a way and figure out who I want to be.”
Part of the toxicity likely stemmed from her strained relationship with Heidi Montag. The two were best friends until season 2, when Montag began dating Spencer Pratt, of whom Laruen didn’t approve.
Things got worse in season 3 when Lauren suspected the two of spreading rumors about Lauren having a sex tape. Although Lauren continued on the show for another season and a half, her friendship with Heidi Montag never recovered, and the strain clearly took its toll.
Lauren And Heidi Never Reconciled
According to Heidi Montag, she and Lauren never really made up after Lauren left The Hills.
In 2020, Heidi Montag claimed that Lauren betrayed her by forcing Heidi to choose between Lauren (and staying on The Hills) or Spencer Pratt (and possibly jeopardizing her role on the show).
“She turned on me. She said, ‘alright, we’re not friends, you’re off the show. She’s like, ‘I don’t like Spencer [and] if you keep dating him, you’re off the show.’”
Heidi continued, saying, “It’s hard when you lose your best friend,” Heidi finishes. “That is such a deep wound.”
In 2022, Montag told Us Weekly, “Laruen and I have not spoken […] Now that we’re mothers, I think we see how unimportant so much of the drama is. Also, it really makes you have a tighter group of friends, and you don’t really have time to chit-chat or have long-term acquaintances.”
“We are just on such different paths at this point. I would hope there is more mutual respect.”
Lauren hasn’t commented specifically about Heidi in several years, only saying that The Hills was a toxic place for herself.
Did Lauren Ever Come Back To The Hills?
Lauren never officially returned for season 6 of The Hills but did film an alternate ending for the series.
In 2013, MTV revealed that they had filmed an alternate ending for the series finale. Instead of a joking about the whole show being staged, they filmed a more narrative ending that featured the return of Lauren Conrad.
In the alternate version, Lauren is waiting for Brody in an apartment after leaving Kristin Cavallari, Lauren’s replacement. In short, the ending implies that Brody and Lauren could end up together.
Other than this unaired series finale scene, Lauren never returned to The Hills after leaving halfway through season 5. She also declined to be part of the 2019 reboot of the show, and actually hasn’t watched it, according to Entertainment Tonight. “I honestly haven’t seen it […] I actually don’t watch any reality television. It’s a little triggering for me!”
But she sends her support to her show and former castmates, saying “I think it’s great. I’m glad they were able to do it again.”
Cast And Fan Reactions To Lauren’s Absence From The Hills: New Beginnings
Most of the original Hills cast haven’t heard from Lauren Conrad in a long time and feel ambivalent about her absence from the show.
Audrina Patridge says she, Brody Jenner, and Jason Wahler, haven’t “really talked to [Lauren] since the finale [of the original Hills]. Wahler added that he feels like they’re all just in different stages of life.
“[I] wish her obviously the best of luck and she’s doing great and congratulations to her and her family, but I really kept it to us and what we’re doing.”
Frankie Delgado and his wife, Jennifer Acosta, however, says they reached out to her before the new reboot began. “Lauren’s a really close friend of Jennifer’s,” said Delgado. “She’s a sweetheart. I think she wants what’s best for us. I think she’s that kind of person.”
“She wishes me the best,” Delgado continued. “I don’t think she has anything against the show. I think… she’s moved on to bigger and better things.” Whitney Port agreed with the sentiment, saying she understands how Conrad must be feeling.
“I didn’t talk to her, but I feel like I talked to someone that knows her and I think she was still really excited for us all to do it,” Whitney said supportively. “And she’s in such a different place in her life, you know?”
“Like, I think she’s probably just feeling like, I don’t know, she’s about to have a baby, wants some quiet time at home. Hopefully, she’ll watch and be entertained by it.”
Fans of Lauren from the original show expressed their feelings about her absence from the reboot on Twitter.
“Is it really The Hills if there is no Lauren?” another user asked.
What Is Lauren Conrad Doing Now?
Since leaving The Hills, Lauren Conrad has started a family, launched several clothing lines and a makeup brand, and written six novels.
While she’s appeared as a guest star on several TV shows, Lauren has mostly focused on her writing and fashion careers.
She launched her first fashion line, The Lauren Conrad Collection, in 2008. Her second line, LC Lauren Conrad, came out in collaboration with Kohl’s in 2009. By 2017 it included affordable swimwear and in 2020, Conrad expanded to include children’s clothing.
She also had the Paper Crown line from 2011 to 2018, and shortly after launched Lauren Conrad Beauty. In 2022, she debuted her first fragrance, LOVED.
Outside of fashion, Lauren Conrad is also a successful novelist. Since 2009, she’s written six novels and two fashion guides. Her novels include L.A. Candy and its two sequels, Sweet Little Lies and Sugar and Spice.
In her personal life, Lauren Conrad has been married to her husband, William Tell, since 2014. Together they have two sons, Liam and Charlie Wolf.
As of 2022, Lauren has no plans to return to television, especially reality TV. “I shared a lot,” she told US Weekly. “I feel like it’s just a privilege to have my privacy [now]. I appreciate it.”