Coming clean. One year after the success of Fox’s The O.C., MTV took a look at the actual town, launching Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County in 2004. The reality show focused on the personal lives of then-high schoolers Stephen Colletti, Lauren Conrad, Kristin Cavallari, Lo Bosworth and more.
Conrad led the first season as the narrator, as the main story line focused on a love triangle she found herself in with Cavallari and Colletti. Season 2, after Conrad went away to college, Cavallari took over as the narrator. When her season ended, a new group was introduced. Meanwhile, the show landed its first spinoff, The Hills, following Conrad and her best friend, Heidi Montag, as they took on life in Los Angeles and tried to make it in the city of dreams By the end of season 4, Hills cast member Whitney Port landed her own spinoff, The City, following her fashion career to New York City.
Laguna Beach was originally set to be a high school drama but was not allowed to film inside the actual high school, meaning that it was completely shifted to focus on the cast’s home life. “Two days after [casting], it was the Super Bowl when Janet Jackson’s boob revealed herself, thanks to a wardrobe malfunction and Justin Timberlake. That was an MTV produced halftime show. So they had to take the fall for everything that happened,” Colletti explained to Us Weekly exclusively in March. “After that happened, the school board got together and they’re like, ‘No, no no, this is not happening. MTV, you’re off campus.’”
After season 3 of Laguna Beach fell flat without its original cast, the producers searched for a new town and launched a new spinoff, Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County. Unfortunately, it only lasted 12 episodes.
Luckily, MTV had found a hit with The Hills, which aired for six seasons from 2006 to 2010. Midway through season 5, Conrad decided to leave the show and Cavallari came in, taking over as the lead — much like she did on Laguna Beach. However, after the series ended, many of the cast spoke out about how scripted the reality show had become. In fact, the series finale played into that, as the last scene ended with the backdrop of the Hollywood sign moving, revealing to be a set.
In 2019, The Hills: New Beginnings launched on MTV with many of the original cast members from The Hills. Nor Cavallari or Conrad were part of the series.
So, who’s still in touch today? Well, many have moved away from reality TV — but some are still in the same area.
“I still talk to a lot of people. The guys that were on the show, Dieter [Schmitz] and Trey [Phillips] specifically, we’re still very close friends,” Colletti said. “Conrad and I, we’re usually down there around the Fourth of July and she’ll host people. She does a great job hosting. Shocker!”
Scroll through the gallery below for an update on where the cast is today: