It's been more than a decade since Kristin Cavallari got her start on MTV's "Laguna Beach." And while many cast members have since come forward to reveal the reality show was most definitely not all reality, Cavallari insists her relationship with costar Stephen Colletti was the real deal.
"What Stephen and I had together was real, and that's what made me get through the producers' attempt at manipulating us," Cavallari writes in her new book "Balancing in Heels: My Journey to Health, Happiness, and Making It All Work." "We talked about everything the entire time. When we saw each episode, it was clear to us what was real and what was fake...but that still didn't make it easy."
Now happily married to football star Jay Cutler, Cavallari said the experience didn't make it easy for her to trust men.
"I think always having my guard up for those couple of years filming made me reluctant to trust men."
She also wrote about how difficult it was to have her on-and-off relationship with Coletti play out on TV. "Normal high school relationships are dramatic enough, but ours now had the added pressure of being seen by MTV viewers across the country as well as being manipulated by the show's producers.
"Surprisingly, the producers had a bigger effect, as they controlled and mapped our lives more than we were aware. One of the most hurtful things they did was pressure Stephen to spend time with another girl from the show, Lauren, while he and I were dating. It certainly provided some juicy conflicts, but it also affected me deeply. I felt threatened. On one side, it seemed like the producers were trying to break us up, which was intimidating. On the other side, I was worried that my relationship with Stephen was becoming less stable, even though I knew if we hadn't been on television, he wouldn't have been spending time with another girl."
With "Laguna Beach" behind her, Cavallari is focused on raising her three kids with Cutler. She recently lost her brother, Michael, who died of hypothermia after he crashed his car in Utah.