What do you do when you're broke, have blown through $10 million and are no longer speaking to your family? If you are Heidi Montag, you're going to try to kill two birds with one stone and go on a therapy-based reality show, of course.
Montag shot to fame and tabloid infamy in the late 2000s starring on "The Hills," where she met and married Spencer Pratt, underwent 10 cosmetic procedures at once, and was on the other end of the line "You know what you did!"
While most reality shows involve very little reality, the involvement of some of Montag's family members on "The Hills" in later seasons resulted in very real tensions. In fact, Montag and her mother, Darlene Egelhoff, were estranged for two years.
These days, they're talking again and breakthroughs are being made on "The Mother/Daughter Experiment: Celebrity Edition," currently airing on Lifetime. The show features six mother-daughter duos working to heal old wounds through totally bizarre exercises, including visiting each other's fake gravesites. But the more bizarre thing is: it seems to be working.
"I think that [the show has] been one of the most beneficial experiences I've ever had," Montag told the The Huffington Post in a recent phone interview. "I think that it really did help my mom and I be able to overcome the past and kind of see each other's sides, where we were coming from, and be able to move forward in a deeper more meaningful relationship."
If your cynic senses are tingling, don't worry, it's not what Montag was expecting either. The 29-year-old admits she thought she was in for much more of a reality TV experience -- and she she should know since this is the eighth reality series she's been on -- but she said it ended up being "a lot of intense therapy."
That's necessary, considering Montag and her mother had plenty of issues to wade through. In the second episode, Montag's April 2009 wedding (which was filmed for "The Hills) is revealed to be a particular sore spot. Montag admitted she felt her family didn't support her, while her mother confessed she was confused as to whether it was a real wedding or just a storyline for the show. It's moments like these that Montag seems to regret the most.
"I wish I never brought my family into that environment," she told HuffPost. "It was really a frustrating situation when it was my life and my job and I knew what was real and what wasn't. And then it became more blurred when my family was involved."
According to Montag, her mother's choice to continue filming "The Hills" after she asked her to stop further created a rift between the two. And Egelhoff's negative on-camera reaction to Montag's 10 plastic surgeries was the breaking point that led to their two-year estrangement. During the first episode of the Lifetime series, Montag admitted she felt her mother had been "paid off to hurt me."
The surgeries are another regret from that time in her life and have had long-lasting effects. There's been so much attention paid to the surgeries over the last six years that Montag breezes through questions that are politely masked as "What the hell were you thinking?"
"I think I was too young to make such a big decision like that and I didn't think it through. I was just so impulsive in all my decisions in life at that point," she told HuffPost, going on to say that she didn't walk into her doctor's office with the goal of having all that work done.
"I was just going back in to get my nose fixed because it had been broken from a backup dancer elbowing me in the nose, and then I thought, 'Well, maybe I'll just get my breasts a little bit bigger' ... And then I just started talking to my doctor and it was like, 'What else would you do?' And he was like, 'Oh, I would do this, this and this.'"
Montag continued, "It was just one of those things that was a quick decision and I thought sounded fine. And it was free at the point too, so it was like 'Great! I love a discount on shoes, why wouldn't I love a discount on [surgery]?' It was just that I was in over my head."
Lifetime’s “The Mother/Daughter Experiment” airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET.