Spencer Pratt is sorry for taking "The Hills" too seriously.
In an extensive interview with Vice's Broadly, the former reality star got candid about how his and wife Heidi Montag's lives changed after the MTV hit went off the air in 2010.
"['The Hills' getting canceled] was our 9/11," the 32-year-old told the outlet, a comparison that drew widespread outrage.
On Friday, he took responsibility for the comments and expressed his regret on social media.
"I want to apologize for making such a thoughtless analogy," he Tweeted, calling the remark an outright poor decision.
"I'm not going to make dumb celebrity excuses about being taken out of context," he added. "I just said something dumb and potentially hurtful to a lot of people and that's all there is to it."
A cultural staple at its peak, "The Hills" ran for six seasons on the cable network and made household names out of its attractive young cast.
Although Heidi's initial role was marketed as the girl-next-door sidekick to protagonist Lauren Conrad, her relationship with Spencer became a key plot point starting in Season 2.
The couple quickly gained notoriety as the show's chief villains – a move Spencer told Broadly he had carefully orchestrated according to what he considered standard practice in Hollywood.
"Look, all the big stars: Do you think that Brad and Angelina randomly got caught on the beach in Africa in the middle of nowhere where they reveal they're dating?" Spencer said. "No! These are strategic moves."
Once he and Heidi had become tabloid fixtures like they'd planned, Spencer said he hadn't anticipated the overwhelming backlash that followed.
"We were fame whores, getting literally a million-plus a year in photos and being hated for it," he explained. "It's frustrating for me that people don't recognize that this was genius. This was innovating!"
Before joining "The Hills," Spencer was an executive producer for Fox's short-lived series "The Princes of Malibu," which chronicled the lives of Caitlyn Jenner's then-unknown sons Brandon and Brody.
Spencer said his Hollywood upbringing gave him a perspective that was useful when it came to crafting reality television.
"All my friends' parents are producers and directors," he explained. "I see the bigger vision of making content. … To me, it's entertainment."
However, he added, he may have been naïve about the consequences he faced after making the transition to on-camera talent.
"I didn't get that you can get murdered in the press, literally," Spencer said. "I thought it was like a comic book."
"The Hills" began to wane in popularity once MTV's "Jersey Shore" premiered. Spencer said he and Heidi were aware of the shift and started upping the ante to try and stay relevant.
"We knew how good 'Jersey Shore' was because we were super fans," Spencer said. "So I personally was like, 'I need to be nutso at this point, like holding crystals to my head.'"
Heidi said their tactics may not have been well-advised.
"We were in such a survival mode," she told Broadly.
Adding, "We were just not at a good place at the end of 'The Hills.'"
The Colorado native underwent a dramatic physical transformation during her time on the show, including 10 plastic surgery procedures that she received in just one day. However, she said, the experience also had its share of emotional ramifications.
"I became the character that I was pretending to be," Heidi said. "I was pretending to be this Hollywood materialistic girl on 'The Hills' that they kept telling me to play out, and I really started becoming more like that. Like you hear with actors, they need to take a break because they start becoming like the movie characters they've played. When you play pretend, you have to be really careful with that."
While the couple now lives in relative seclusion at Spencer's father's beachside residence outside Santa Barbara, Calif., they don't seem opposed to reentering the Hollywood scene.
"The biggest misconception about us," Heidi told the outlet, "is that we wouldn't do it all over again."
-- Erin Biglow