Rewind to the early 2000s. The decade marked the years of bedazzled T-Mobile sidekicks, Juicy Couture velour sweat suits, the boom of reality television and the introduction of Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt as America's most controversial couple, Speidi.
For those unfamiliar with one of MTV's most notable millennium creations, The Hills followed a trio of young women juggling school, blooming careers and a handful of California hunks.
With current fashion designer Lauren Conrad as the main protagonist, the cameras increasingly paid more attention to her best gal pal, Heidi Montag as she became romantically entangled with the series' signature bad boy, Spencer Pratt.
The emerging subplot exploded as fans tuned in to study the latest manufactured drama bubbling within the Los Angeles crew, particularly between the two lovebirds.
"We were fame whores, getting literally a million plus a year in photos and being hated for it," Pratt told Vice's Broadly. "It's frustrating for me that people don't recognize that this was genius. This was innovating!"
It was "innovative" enough to afford a $3,000 daily hair and makeup budget and occasional $30,000 shopping sprees, according to the couple. Pratt estimated he was making "upwards of a million dollars a year" from MTV, paparazzi deals and hosting gigs.
Despite the immediate fanfare and their swelling bank accounts, the show was soon faced with a competitor—the first season of Jersey Shore.
"Sh-t, we knew how good the Jersey Shore was because we were super fans," Pratt told the outlet. "So I personally was like, 'I need to be nutso at this point, like holding crystals to my head.'" According to the couple, they had once spent $70,000 on a crystal to add to their growing collection.
As most cliched movies would have predicted, after six seasons the plot came to a halt with a broken friendship, hated relationship, Montag's 10 plastic surgery procedures and a series cancellation.
"[The Hills getting cancelled] was our 9/11," Pratt said, comparing the moment to America's most devastating terrorist attack. Following the finale, the couple fled to a Ritz Carlton in Costa Rica for about six months and returned to the United States with empty wallets.
Now, the mostly reclusive Pratts live in Spencer's father's beach house.
"Nobody wants to break into our home anymore," he says. "They google our new worth and see we are worth $10."
However, do not fret—this couple has little regret over how it all turned out.
"The biggest misconception about us is that we wouldn't do it all over again," Montag said.