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It's hard to believe that anything could elicit sympathy for fame-hungry reality TV stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, but a lengthy interview with The Daily Beast has done just that. In the surprisingly candid Q&A, the married couple talks openly about how their quest for meaningless fame was a huge mistake -- and a costly one: It has left them broke and unemployable and, basically, has ruined their lives.
After achieving notoriety for their antics on the pseudo-reality show The Hills -- which ran from 2006-2010 and made Speidi's (as the couple was famously nicknamed) volatile relationship the show's centerpiece -- the two now find themselves at the end of the road that once though would lead to a life of lasting fame and riches. It has not: They are currently penniless, living rent-free in Pratt's parents' beach house, and trying to regroup and figure out what has happened to their lives. Pratt says, honestly, "What we learned is: You can be too famous."
According to Pratt and Montag -- who insist they have never broken up, despite staging their own divorce (to try to make money, they say) -- they are dead broke. The millions they made are now gone, squandered on Spencer's spur-of-the-moment purchases and Heidi's numerous plastic surgeries, as well as her failed attempt at a music career.
"I probably spent a million dollars on suits and fancy clothes," says Pratt. "My whole million-dollar wardrobe -- I would never wear that again. They're props. Everything we were doing, we were buying props. I bought a big blue monster truck just to drive it on The Hills for an episode. Never drove it again."
Montag, who came from humbler beginnings than Pratt, also regrets her reckless spending. "I should have known growing up and not having any money ever that I should have kept every dollar that I had," says Heidi. "I thought I was investing in myself and my brand. Like Kim (Kardashian). When she buys these clothes, she's investing in herself. Because she is a big brand and is likeable. I thought I had that potential. My ego got too big. To think I could be someone like that when I was the most hated girl ever."
Then there's the plastic surgery: Montag famously got 10 procedures done in one day! Now, she says she's done with plastic surgery and regrets having had so much work done. "Obviously I wish I didn't do it. I would go back and not have any surgery," admits Heidi -- who, after a brow lift, nose job, butt implants and multiple boob jobs (among other procedures), looks nothing like her former self. "It doesn’t help. I got too caught up in Hollywood, being so into myself and my image. I don't regret anything, but if I could go back, I wouldn't do it. I made a lot of wrong decisions too quickly. So many wrong rights and lefts and then you're just off the road. Things happened so quickly."
The two are trying to rehabilitate their image right now, and it is proving to be an uphill battle. Pratt, who is trying to drum up some work, has found that his name has become "Mud" in Hollywood, and that even non-industry people do not want to be associated with him. "I thought when this was all over, I could get on an interview and say, 'It was all entertainment,'" says Pratt. "I thought I was the Wizard of Oz, like, I'm the guy behind the curtain." But Pratt, who insists he was playing an exaggerated character on The Hills, has found that no one sees the difference. "We were all getting paid to be people we weren't for so long that you stop -- there's no line," Spencer says. "The gauge is gone. The gray area is gone."
So what do Heidi and Spencer do with their time these days? They hang out at home, read books, do laundry and train their dogs.
While Pratt and Montag insist they have no regrets, they do believe they are a cautionary tale. "We were living each other's mistakes -- everything we were doing, in retrospect, was a mistake. The second we continued on our quest for fame was a mistake," says Spencer. "This isn't a business. That was the big thing I didn't get: Reality TV is not a career. Anyone who says, 'Oh, you can have a career in reality' -- that is a lie."
Even so, Pratt says he would return to reality TV in a heartbeat -- just for the cash. "If they called me right now and said, 'We want you to be on Jersey Shore and be a bully, and we'll bring your paycheck back,' I'd say, "Get me on a plane to Italy.'"