When Caroline D'Amore joined the cast of The Hills: New Beginnings this season, she went in to the experience with high-hopes that she would have a good relationship with all her castmates.
Already a long time friend of Brody Jenner, Audrina Patridge and Kaitlynn Carter, the Pizza Girl CEO also got along great with Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag. The 37-year-old entrepreneur hooked them up with a pizza truck from her family's business for their son Gunner's birthday party and even deejayed the couple's wedding vow renewal.
Another incident early into filming, D'Amore was comforting Carter when she was having a hard time dealing with things being said about her in the media. That friendly support didn't sit well with the 37-year-old reality TV veteran.
"One of the first things Spencer said to me when we started filming was 'you chose the wrong alliance,'" she recalls. "I found it a little threatening. I was very confused, wondering if he was doing it just for the camera's sake."
D'Amore continued to try and make it work with the couple, even helping Montag score a lucrative opportunity with a trendy underwear brand.
"Her response was so strange, it was 'is this real or am I getting punked," she says. "I don’t mess with people’s livelihood. I offered the opportunity to a couple girls on the show. She should have been thankful, but it was weird vibes."
D'Amore quickly caught on that the couple, who eloped in Mexico during the fourth season of The Hills in 2008 and celebrated with a wedding ceremony in April 2009, had no interest in being friendly co-stars. In fact, she said that Pratt and Montag went out of their way to sabotage her time on the show.
"The whole season they avoided me so that I wouldn’t get air time," she claims. "They knew if they had a conversation with me that I was would be on camera. That was hard for producers."
In one recent episode, D'Amore is seen sticking up for friend Jason Wahler when Pratt questions his sobriety. She says Pratt quickly turned it around on her and accused her of just trying to "get in the scene."
"He was trying to make my moment null and void," she says.
But its not just D'Amore whom the couple seem to be at odds with. As the season nears its end, Pratt and Montag are seen butting heads with nearly every cast member and since cameras have stopped rolling, they haven't been shy about slamming the series which made them famous.
"The worst cast,” Montag, 34, tweeted during the Wednesday, June 16, episode of the MTV show. "Hello we are on a reality show pretend to be interesting."
"It’s not getting renewed, it’s not even a maybe,” Pratt told the "Unpopular" podcast with Jacques Peterson. “They would have to use another production company, this production company wouldn’t even do it. They won’t even mess with this cast, there’s no way.”
He went on to describe his co-stars as “boring," "frauds" and "losers" and said there was "conspiracy" against him and Montag. Additionally, he also blamed production for the altercation between him and Wahler during a cast dinner in Lake Tahoe, tweeting, "Yah this one producer Meg just enabled this garbage."
Seemingly "done" with the show, Pratt said he and his wife are already working on their own spin-off series about his business Pratt Daddy Crystals.
When D'Amore heard about the couple's off-screen antics, she was mortified. "[Executive Producer Megan Estrada] is talented and the way that she was able to pull a great season during Covid was a really difficult task," she notes. "Everyone was risking their lives coming to work everyday, getting tested everyday, dealing with Covid officers and giving their all for this show and for these people to just s** all over them. I’m really embarrassed to be connected to that energy."
D'Amore wasn't really in the season's first four episodes and she heard rumors that Pratt and Montag were snickering and saying "Caroline must be so upset, she's on the cutting room floor." After episode five aired, which focused on the new cast member, Pratt told Us Weekly that it was "worst episode of reality TV I have ever watched" and tweeted “that footage didn't deserve cloud space."
"How hurtful is that?," responds D'Amore. "Just because it’s not all about you, you say it's the worst episode and needs to be recast."
D'Amore thinks that Pratt and Montag's gripes with the show stem from seeing themselves in the show, seeing fans' reactions, and not liking how they are portrayed.
"Some of their true colors are showing and instead of apologies, they go this other direction and tear apart the entire production," she said. "They don’t like their narrative. It’s really distasteful and so inconsiderate of the the people who worked so hard through a year and half of Covid. To bash the producers, to bash the production, to bash the network, saying it's all terrible and then you think you are going to get another show...".
"It's shocking," she adds. "I’ve had a lot of Hollywood friends my whole life but I’ve never experienced this kind of behavior."
One thing that D'Amore doesn't think Pratt and Montag seem to grasp is how the world has changed since the height of their fame in the mid 2000s.
"They set out to be the king and queen of the show, but the world's narrative has changed since the old days of The Hills," she explains. "The narrative of privileged, spoiled, nasty people, bullies and ordering $60 burritos and having financial issues because of their lavish spending is not what resonates with people anymore."
"They haven’t really evolved with society," she adds in regards to their behavior.
The Hills: New Beginning has tackled more serious issues this season including the pandemic, Walher's sobriety and the death of his wife's father. While Pratt has criticized the series for being too dark and too serious, D'Amore applauds its authenticity.
"We have happy fun silly moments, but people also want it to be real," she says. "And I respect the show for taking that risk and evolving."
D'Amore is well aware of the blow back she may receive for speaking out against the couple. "I don’t want to be in a war with them, but I always have to stand up for what’s right." she says. "A lot of people on the show are scared to speak their minds to them. Like you have to align with them, otherwise they will try and go out an destroy you."
She says the couple has even gone so far to threaten certain cast members with personal dirt they have on them and she was told certain people were warned not to shoot with her.
Despite the drama with Pratt and Montag, D'Amore says she would be happy to return to the show for another season, but doesn't expect the couple to do the same.
"I think my story has a lot of evolving to do and I think I’ll be able to handle it better the second time around," she says. "Everyone's stories are getting more and more exciting, but I think it will be really hard to have them on the show because they won’t work with anybody."
"They trying to destroy to show, I’m trying to fight for it," she adds.
In the meantime, D'Amore, who is a single mom to six-year-old daughter Isabella, is focused on her booming Pizza Girl business. "I'm in the trenches working my ass off for this company every day," she says.
Her line USDA certified organic, locally sourced and ethically-bottled sauces in three flavor profiles — Marinara, Arrabbiata and Vodka — is a favorite among celebs including Paris Jackson, Ashlee Simpson, Evan Ross, Emile Hirsch, Paris and Kathy Hilton, Kristin Cavallari and more. It has even been earned a POOSH “Pick of the week” on Kourtney Kardashian's lifestyle site.
Her e-commerce site relaunched in May 2021, offering the sauces for direct to consumer purchase in 24-oz glass jars. Pizza Girl is now available at Gelson's Markets beginning in her home state of California and 65 Whole Foods locations. It will continue to do a larger retail rollout throughout the year.
"Coming from an Italian family of pizza makers, it was always a dream of mine to have a home product line featuring my grandmother’s recipes, reinvented, for everyone across the country to enjoy," says D’Amore. "Essentially, the pizza business is in my DNA, and I am proud to carry on the tradition through my own interpretation, keeping my great grandmother’s recipes alive, following in my dad’s entrepreneurial footsteps, and adding my own modern touch."