For reality TV fans of a certain age, it all began with The Hills.
Sure, Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Vanderpump Rules may deliver more outrageous moments, but before the SUR staff, before Kim, and even before Snooki, Lauren Conrad and company fought, hooked up, and lived the good life in front of an audience of millions.
Of course, The Hills was a spin-off of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (Remember when everyone was obsessed with The OC?), but while Laguna featured high schoolers caught up in the petty drama of their teen years, The Hills was one of the first series to offer up the sort of semi-scripted young-adult lifestyle porn that now makes up the majority reality TV.
There’s no telling how many young adults ventured to New York or LA in hopes of breaking into the worlds of fashion or publishing, a la Lauren Conrad.
Conrad remains one of reality TV’s most impressive success stories, but while she went on to find happiness in both her work and love lives, many of her former co-stars have not been quite so lucky:
Some of their stories you probably already know.
Heidi Montag’s many plastic surgeries have earned her plenty of unflattering headlines over the years.
Her husband, Spencer Pratt remains unemployed and is rumored to be broke.
But it hasn’t been all bad luck and broken dreams. Kristen Cavallari married Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler and went from wild child with a rumored drug problem to responsible, loving wife and mom.
Needless to say, there have been plenty of peaks and valleys for the cast of The Hills, but for the most part they’re entering their 30s with careers and personal lives they can be proud of.
They’re generally living more low-key lives these days, even though not all of them have managed to distance themselves from the tawdry world of reality television. We’re looking at you, Brody Jenner.