Heidi Montag on Surviving Reality TV Scandal: Spencer and I Were Never Those People on ‘The Hills’

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Even after years out of the limelight, Heidi Montag says she still feels trapped by fame.

“I’ll never be able to be Heidi Montag, a normal person, again,” she told Celebuzz. “What [I’ve] done is something that you can’t undo and that’s what I didn’t realize. It’s a very different life. It’s like a lifelong sentence.”

The former Hills star and her husband, Spencer Pratt, have been holed up at a her father’s beach-side estate in Santa Barbara, Calif., rethinking her life path following several reality TV stints and much publicized scandal.

“I’ve been…getting re-grounded and getting back to a normal life and figuring out what my goals and aspirations are,” Montag said. “[Spencer and I] are not those people on The Hills anymore. We never were. It was more an acting role than anything else. But we played those character and when you start playing a character you kind of start to become more of a character.”

But underneath her on-screen persona, Montag says she’s just a small-town girl.

“I didn’t realize that pretending to be this ‘Hills Heidi,’ this spoiled rich girl who I wasn’t, would almost destroy me,” she explained. “I’m from really humble beginnings. I’ve never been this Hollywood diva, but you get caught up in what you’re pretending to be.”

But stepping out of the fast lane help Montag and Pratt, who wed in 2009, find their bliss.

“We’ve been through…a lot together, more than most people,” she said. “We really fought for our love against producers and MTV and family members and friends and we had the odds against us. [But] we had our love prevail and that’s the most important thing. Now were kind of coming down into a more normal existence with each other, less drama-filled with fake fighting. Thankfully we’ve been able to come here and get grounded and become ourselves and re-prioritize our lives.”

That includes planning for the road ahead.

“I have two really big projects in the works that I just signed for 2013,” said Montag. “Unfortunately I can’t say what they are yet, but they are very different from anything I’ve done so I’m very excited. I don’t think I’ll ever go on that scripted reality drama type of thing again but definitely this has huge potential for long-term lifetime career. So I’m getting ready and getting in shape.”

And that means more sweat sessions. After my surgery, I stopped working out,” Heidi — who got a jaw-dropping 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day — said. “Now I’m getting back into it I feel the best ever. I’m gonna be the healthiest and fittest ever. I feel really good.”

While she’s ready to revive her career, Montag knows what’s important at the end of the day. “My priorities are my family, my husband, my love life and my happiness and everything after that is great. But my priorities are not money, fame and fashion. I am very grateful for everything I’ve had but I will never make those mistakes again and I will never compromise myself and pretend to be someone that I’m not.”

Are you excited for Montag’s career comeback? Weigh in below.

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