From 2004 to 2009 fans watched the story of Lauren Conrad's love life and friendships on Laguna Beach and then The Hills. But after she exited the Los Angeles-based reality show in the middle of season 5 (The Hills went on to have six seasons total), her personal life became more private.
But fans didn't stop caring about the Laguna Beach native whose thoughts used to be consumed with spiky-haired surfer Stephen Colletti. In a new cover story for the January 2014 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, Conrad, 27, opens up about her current romance with new fiancé William Tell.
The USC law student and former Something Corporate guitarist proposed to Conrad in October, and fans couldn't get enough of the details about a fairytale ending to the former reality star's quest for love.
"I had no idea it was coming," Conrad admitted in the cover story. "I thought he would wait until he finished law school. He didn’t even ask my friends [about the ring], which was a bold move. He said, 'I know you, and I know what you like.’ And I love it. It’s perfect."
So after her televised romances with Colletti and then Brody Jenner, what makes Tell the right one?
"William hates it when I say this, but he really is a very nice guy, and when you meet a nice guy who also manages to keep your interest, that is the dream," she continued. "If you’re going to settle down, it should be with someone you can’t stop thinking about. Especially if you’re in your 20s. If I were single in my 60s, I would totally settle. I would!"
She even had advice -- and a word of caution -- for fans eager to rush to the altar.
"You have the rest of your life to be married," she said. "Enjoy falling in love. When girls get caught up in the timeline, it becomes more about the wedding than the marriage. You should be with someone with whom you could elope this weekend and be happy."
And though things turned out well for her in the romance department, Conrad does have a few regrets when it comes to her friendships as they played out on The Hills. Conrad's friendship with former roommate Heidi Montag ended over Conrad's issues with Montag's now-husband Spencer Pratt. She also had a strained relationship with Audrina Patridge while she was dating bad boy Justin Bobby Brescia.
"Being on television all those years, I got to view my own behavior," she admitted. "One thing I realized is that I was too hard on my friends when it came to guys. Instinctually, I wanted to protect them. But then you come off as judge-y and people are reluctant to come to you with a problem. I had to cut 'I told you so' from my vocabulary."