"I really like where my life is now," she said, acknowledging her self-described "boring" life after ending her reality show. "All I want to do is take my kids to school in the morning, go to the office, because I'm the boss I can make my own hours, I leave by like 2:30, I pick up my kids, I make dinner, the bedtime routine, maybe I'll lay in the sauna for a little bit, I don't know, but my life is boring and I'm ok with that."
In fact, she's at ease. "I'm just really happy right now doing that, and so that's all I want to do," she continued. "The pressure of reality TV, it's a lot. I'm so much more relaxed now that I know that the show is not on my radar."
In late March, she, Cutler and their kids ended up spending more time in the Bahamas than they originally planned given the coronavirus pandemic. However, once they got back from paradise, their life together would never be the same again. "I was in the Bahamas for a month, and we knew what was happening, Jay and I, and so we came home and we were separated," she said, "and, you know, we obviously made the decision to get a divorce."
However, as she made clear, their split announcement wasn't a decision made on a whim. "It's interesting because it's like whenever someone's announcing they're getting a divorce, like we didn't make that decision last night and then all of a sudden put it out there. It had been coming for a long time," she continued. "And so, by that point it was almost like a sense of relief, like I was just relieved to get it out there and start this next phase of my life. But, it's still very sad and very up and down and it still is. It's been a rollercoaster. I mean, it's sad when you close a chapter of your life and Jay and I were together for 10 years and we have three kids together. I will always love Jay in some capacity and so, it's tough."
During her brief time as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars in 2011, Cavallari was juggling nerves and a split. "Jay and I got engaged very quickly and we broke up right before I did Dancing With the Stars," she recalled. "And then, in the midst of it all, we had gotten back together. And that third week, that third episode, that was the week that everyone talked about a tough time in their life. And ABC was like, 'We want you to talk about your break-up with Jay' and I was like, 'No, I'm not talking about how I called off my engagement, like no I'm not doing that.' And then he was in the audience that week and I got kicked off."
"Editing was very heavily involved," she said of the hit MTV series. "One time they had me and my two girlfriends walking down the street, and they were filming us walking, and then they had a producer on the other side of the street, and they were like, 'Look over at her when you pass her.' I'm like 'Ok.' And the producer is making these faces at us. So I was like, 'Oh my god, look at her face.' So then they make it seem like I'm talking about Lauren [Conrad]. Like that kind of stuff. Lauren was never over there. I was never talking about Lauren. But when you watch it, you don't understand all that stuff."
"They used to have us do 'wild lines' too," she recalled. "So, we'd go in an audio booth and just record lines to make their story make sense. And you're like, 'Ok, sure.' Now I'd be like, 'I'm not saying that.'"
"Here's what I'm doing right now. I'm going through a divorce, obviously. I'm putting myself first," she clarified. "I mean, my kids will always be first, but beyond my kids, I'm making myself a priority right now. I don't want anything…I'm not ready to jump into a relationship, I'm not. I'm taking care of me and I'm figuring out ultimately what I'm going to want in life, and I'm going through the motions and the process of figuring that all out."
While new romances start with plenty of excitement, the newly single Cavallari would rather have the ease that comes with time. "I used to be like, 'The thought of dating, ugh, I don't want to date'. Listen, there's good things about both. There's nothing like those new feelings in the beginning where you get so excited, that's great," she said. "But, I actually prefer what I had with Jay, where you're so comfortable with somebody, they're your best friend, it's so easy and great, that's way more interesting to me than those new little butterflies," she explained. "But, you know, we just couldn't make it work. I really do—I love Jay. I will always love Jay. You know, he's a great guy. Unfortunately, we just couldn't figure it out."
There will be a silver lining to 2020 for Laguna Beach fans—a long-awaited reunion with the cast of the first season. "That's the first time that we have all been together since high school, since we stopped filming, and so it was really good to see everybody," Cavallari said of their get-together. "And it was fun. We played a drinking game, we answered fan questions and just kind of reminisced about the show and everything. And then we're all on this group email and afterwards everybody was like, 'I love you, it was so good to see everybody!'"
According to Cavallari, their experience as a group serves as special glue. "I feel like that group of people—it was the cast of season one—so I think more than anybody else, we will always be so bonded and so connected just because we all experienced that together at the same time that nobody else will ever understand," she explained, "so it was cool to see everybody."
Of her recent Instagram snap with famed ex Stephen Colletti, Cavallari said, "I knew it was going to create a little commotion, I didn't know to what degree. That's my most liked photo on Instagram ever. More than my kids. More than anything in my life. That photo with Stephen. Which is cool. I mean, I think it's really neat that people are still so invested and it really takes people back to that time. And then of course everyone was like, 'Oh my god, are they back together?' I love Stephen, I've always loved Stephen, and clearly, you know, 15 years later we're still really good friends."
But, are there sparks flying? No. "I brought my kids to Laguna Beach, I saw a lot of people, I didn't just see Stephen," she clarified. "So it was a really fun trip, but that's all there is to it."
"[We're] totally fine," Cavallari said of her former foe, Lauren Conrad. "I think so much time has passed and what we went through was so silly and it was so high school, I'm pretty sure we're both over it at this point."