June 30, 2008 -- "The Hills" are alive with the sounds of Montag.
Depending on whom you ask, Heidi Montag is the villainess on the hit MTV reality show "The Hills". But ask Montag, and she'll sing a different tune: She's merely the outcast friend who is portrayed as the troublemaker by star Lauren Conrad.
Regardless, Montag, 21, has used the drama to her advantage. She is unveiling the fall collection of her fashion line, Heidiwood, which is sold at Kitson and Anchor Blue. And with the help of her manager/boyfriend, Spencer Pratt, she is releasing her first official single, appropriately titled "Fashion", after previous song "Higher" leaked online.
"The Hills" ended Season 3 (available on DVD July 29) in May with Pratt, 24, flying to Vegas to reclaim Montag after a broken engagement. (There was some ugliness involving a tacky pink ring he had given her.) Montag and company have been shooting Season 4 for more than four months in Los Angeles; the first of 19 episodes premieres Aug. 18. Montag reveals that viewers will meet her older sister, Holly, 24, an aspiring filmmaker who once lived with Montag and Conrad.
"Holly and Lauren were inseparable for a while," Montag says. "But they stopped being friends when Lauren and I stopped being friends."
Montag credits Pratt with saving "The Hills" from cancellation when he joined the series in Season 2 as the resident troublemaker. The two had met a year earlier off-camera. "I fell in love with him the second I saw him," she says. "He's the most amazing person to exist. Everything you could ever want in a best friend, soul mate and boyfriend."
Nonetheless, they broke up repeatedly, and Montag changed her number several times so he couldn't contact her. Asked whether they are engaged, Montag looks at Pratt and her naked ring finger and asks, "Where's my ring?"
He says he's saving up for a multimillion-dollar bauble to show how much he adores her.
Even though "The Hills" chronicles Conrad's life (it's the most watched TV show among women 18-24), it's her feud with Montag that's grabbing most of the attention. The falling-out began when Conrad expressed her dislike for Pratt. Montag blames Conrad for telling co-star Audrina Patridge to drop her as a friend, even though Montag introduced them. All hell broke loose this past season when Pratt and Montag revealed that Conrad had supposedly shot a sex tape with ex-beau Jason Wahler.
"I don't even want to talk about that," Montag says. "There were rumors about a sex tape, but I had nothing to do with that. God knows the truth in all of this, and at the end of the day, that is the only thing that matters. Jesus was persecuted, and I'm going to get persecuted, ya know? But it doesn't matter to me."
Little coverage in celebrity magazines, which seem to chronicle every movement of this reality troupe, is given to Montag's and Pratt's Christianity. Montag identifies herself as "kind of non-denominational Baptist" and hopes to release a Christian album one day. Both she and Pratt read the Bible conscientiously. Montag even planned on devoting her life to God as a missionary in Africa.
"I have been the most religious person since I was 2 years old. I always felt this crazy connection to God," says Montag, who grew up in Colorado with Holly, brother Sky, 15, and her since-divorced parents, Bill, a rancher, and Darlene, who runs a restaurant with Montag's stepfather.
This August, she and Pratt are headed to Africa to "feed children and help build things." Cameras will capture their trek, but not for The Hills. Pratt says it's possible they could adopt a baby while over there, but Montag laughs that idea off.
"Not right now," she insists. "I think we'd be married before we do that."
Montag likes to think she and the Jonas Brothers are part of a new wave of positive role models. "As a parent, I would not want my daughter looking up to someone throwing money away, on drugs or coming out of rehab," she says.
But while Jesus preached forgiveness, Montag says "Hills" fans should not hold their breaths for a big reunion for her and Conrad. "I don't think people are ever going to get that," she says emphatically. Even so, if Conrad offered an olive branch, Montag would accept. "She'll always have a place in my heart."
A more likely scenario: Montag and Pratt will wrap up their time on "The Hills" after this season and launch their own MTV reality series along the lines of "Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica" — Montag's all-time favorite show.
Any concern such constant camera presence could lead her and Pratt down the same doomed path as the since-divorced Lachey and Simpson?
"I don't really feel that way," she says. "You're either going to make it as a couple or you're not. I love cameras, but the cameras aren't with us when we're falling asleep at night.
"The show's going to be about our lives, and it's such a blessing to be doing this."