Seven years ago, reality stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt were living the dream.
Their drama-stirring roles on the MTV reality show The Hills were bringing in six-figure pay cheques each, plus staged paparazzi shoots and appearances were bringing in more than $2 million dollars a year.
But then, as quickly as all that money started to come in, it was all gone.
“We were keeping up with the Joneses, but we were going against Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes,” Pratt, 32 tells People.
“We should have stayed in our reality TV lane.”
Montag and Pratt explained that after they married in 2009, they got caught up in the lifestyle they thought they should have.
“I was kind of playing house,” says Montag, 29, of her spending habit.
“I felt like I was someone I wasn’t. We had business managers who told us to stop spending but we acted like we knew what we were doing.”
They say they spent $1 million on Montag’s wardrobe alone.
Another million went to Pratt’s crystal collection.
A full staff, which People estimates could go for $15,000 for a single night and dinners with $3000 bottles of wine, all contributed to the couple losing almost all of their money in just a couple of years.
“I was feeling so alone and defeated,” Montag said.
“Everyone else on our cast had houses and we had nothing to show for what we’d done. I was like, the haters were right! It was sad.”
Today, despite the cut backs, Speidi continues to be Speidi.
“We make most of our income from reality shows,” says Montag.
The couple has appeared on U.K.’s Celebrity Big Brother and Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars.
“We’re doing fine. Each show is like an audition for the next.”
And they seem to have learned from their mistakes.
Besides moving into Pratt’s parents vacation home so they can live rent-free, the couple has cut back on their spending and is being much more careful about their bookkeeping.
Montag says she would even like to “crack down on our budget even more.”
“Life is so short,” she says.
“And what matters is being happy with family and marriage and with personal progress.
“We’re in a really good place.”