It's official. Lauren Conrad is off The Hills.
After months of speculation that the reality starlet would abandon ship at the end of the current season (including pretty convincing quotes from Lauren herself that she's ready to move on), Hills executive producer Liz Gateley has confirmed today that L.C.'s final appearance will be in the upcoming season five (premiering March 30 on MTV), and she is not expected back on the series after that.
"It is bittersweet," Gateley says. "But I understand why [Lauren] is saying goodbye. I will be forever grateful for all that she shared with us and am incredibly proud of the television we made together."
Sources connected to the show tell us that Lauren has already filmed her final scene, and it was a very emotional goodbye...
"She filmed Wednesday at Comme Ça with Brody in the afternoon," says the insider, "then with Brody at Beso. It filmed out of order so it wasn't like a goodbye scene. But then the entire restaurant stood up and gave her a round of applause and she got tears and Adam Devillo gave her flowers."
Another insider who was there during filming says, "There were definitely tears. All around the room. I don't think anyone expected it to be so emotional, but five years is a long time."
According the same source, Lauren was set to shoot a scene at Joan's on Third restaurant in West Hollywood yesterday; however, the shoot was rained out. (Yes, it does, on occasion, rain in Los Angeles—just not in the dreamworld of The Hills.)
—Additional reporting by Ken Baker