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Heidi Montag grew up in Crested Butte, Colorado, where she lived from the age of three. She was raised by both German-American Parents.  Her parents, Darlene and Tim Egelhoff, own a popular restaurant in the area, called the Timberline.
After high school, Montag moved to San Francisco, California to study fashion at the Academy of Art University. At freshman orientation, she met Lauren Conrad, star of MTV's Laguna Beach, and the two became close friends. Montag first appeared on MTV during season two of Laguna Beach and was seen on several episodes acting as best friend to Lauren Conrad and secondary cast member Jennifer Bunney.
Both Montag and Conrad left the Academy of the Arts and transferred to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, sharing an apartment in Los Angeles, California. In the summer of 2005, MTV began filming the lives of the roommates for Conrad's Laguna Beach spin-off reality show The Hills. Montag left the Fashion Institute in autumn of 2005 when she was hired as an intern at Bolthouse Productions. According to Montag, she dropped out because she did not find the school challenging. Within two years Montag was promoted to from intern to event planner at Bolthouse, and she has no plans to return to fashion school.