Kristin Cavallari & Stephen Colletti Reveal Their Shocking Laguna Beach Salaries

“I honestly would have done it for free.”

Kristin Cavallari and Stephen Colletti posing together for a photo
Dear Media

On paper, appearing on a reality show sounds like a ticket to stardom and a thicker wallet. But the numbers are a little more dubious than one may think. Stars of the MTV series Laguna Beach, which ran for three seasons from 2004 to 2006 and created an entire new subgenre around wealthy teenagers, are now revealing what they made while appearing on the show.

Kristin Cavallari and Stephen Colletti became huge names in the aftermath of their reality stardom in the early aughts. On the series (and in real life) Cavallari and Colletti dated during their high school years, though Colletti’s friendship with Lauren Conrad was a sticking point in their relationship. The love triangle between the three of them was the main plot of the first two seasons.

Cavallari and Colletti recently started a Laguna Beach rewatch podcast via Dear Media called “Back to the Beach with Kirstin and Stephen,” and got real about their salaries on the first episode of the pod. “I think $2,500,” Cavallari said of her total compensation on the first season’s 11-episode run. Colletti countered: “I don’t even think it was that much. I think it was $2,000. Lauren [Conrad] and I renegotiated for Season 2. It was going to be our last season! We were like, ‘We’re out of here!'”

Cavallari and Colletti were both teens at the time and hailed from the extremely wealthy Orange Count enclave, but for a show that centered their experiences and thrust the young cast into the public eye, the salary is laughable. Still, Cavallari wouldn’t change a thing. “I honestly would have done it for free,” Cavallari said. “At that point in high school, to me, it was more of a competition. Everybody wanted it and I was like, ‘I’m gonna get this show!’ I’m super competitive, that has not changed. So, when they told us they were gonna pay us, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, great!'”

For Colletti, the experience was a gateway into entertainment — which was his goal after school — but doesn’t remember exactly what he talked about with the producers. Though it’s been almost 20 years since the show premiered, Cavallari remembers the interview process well. “It was like, ‘List your five best friends and what you hate about them.’ I remember one of the questions was, ‘Who do you think is going to be prom queen?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t care as long as it’s not Lauren Conrad,'” she recalled. “The questions were setting us up to divulge all of this information. Obviously, they were trying to get to the bottom of things, which they did!”

Though she’s signed on for at least 40 episodes of the Dear Media podcast, Cavallari is nervous about rewatching her high school days where she was often portrayed as the villain. “I think it’s going to be fun to go back and relive it, although, I’m not going to lie, I have a little bit of anxiety thinking about sitting down and watching those years,” Cavallari said. “It wasn’t always the easiest for me. I don’t feel like I was portrayed in the best light or accurately. … There were only a couple of times where I feel like they really showcased our relationship. Those moments, I was like, ‘Thank you! That was us. It’s sweet and it was fun.’ But they were so far and few between that majority of the time, I walked away from it going, ‘Well that’s bulls***. That’s not me. That’s not what happened.’”

At least now, she can set the record straight on her own terms.