They are the unofficial king and queen of reality TV: Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. The couple shot to tabloid fame as the frenemies of "The Hills" star Lauren Conrad. And viewers watched the couple's evolution documented on the MTV series — and just about every outlet willing to give them the time and space.
So it's no surprise that news of their split has people wondering if the duo is really over or just testing how far they can push a publicity stunt.
The fame-hungry couple has filed no legal separation papers. But Montag's pal Jennifer "Jen" Bunney, who appeared in earlier seasons of "The Hills" — most infamously for the so-called rendezvous she had with Brody that left a bad taste in Lauren's mouth — says the couple isn't pulling a fast one.
"This isn't a joke," Bunney said in a telephone interview.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But before the ink on the headlines announcing Speidi's split could even dry, details emerged on Montag's new venture in the reality genre: a Malibu-based series featuring her and Bunney. Filming of the show, which Bunney said was Montag's idea, is expected to start in July.
"We've been planning this show for a pretty long time," she said. "Originally it was going to be about (Heidi) and Spencer's life as newlyweds, and I was going to be on it as a friend. Now after their current situation, it's changed the whole show. It's going to focus on Heidi's life and whether her and Spencer are going to get divorced, my life... and what we're doing."
She added that Heidi was in good spirits since reports of the split surfaced —"She's not a ball on the floor crying or anything" — and hinted that a resurgence of Pratt isn't out of the picture.
"I don't see how he wouldn't be on the show, given what they're going through," she said. "To what extent he'll be on, we don't know yet."
One thing's for certain, it's not an MTV show, a network rep said. Bunney, though, claimed many networks are interested.
And she's not exactly surprised there are skeptics out there who question the timing of the couple's breakup as just a ruse to generate interest in the as-yet untitled show.
"Of course people are going to come to that conclusion," Bunney said. "It's totally understandable. Once you see the show, that will change."
Recent episodes of "The Hills" show a disgruntled Pratt engaging in fits of rage — he's even resorted to using crystals to channel his anger. Neither he nor Montag has appeared in the last two episodes.
Bunney says that's not likely to change as the hit MTV series finishes its run: "They're done with it. You won't see them in any more episodes." Reps for MTV could not immediately confirm that, and reps for Montag could not be reached.
The couple, meanwhile, has yet to directly comment on the status of their relationship. In an interview with People magazine, Montag said: "There are so many lies out there about me and I just needed space — even away from my husband." And she felt inclined to clarify her name ("P.S.: I am not Heidi Pratt, I am Heidi Montag") via the same channel she took to make a plea to Michael Bay for a role in "Tranformers 3": Twitter.
The social networking site has become the unofficial publicist for the reality star. Since news began swirling of her split with Pratt, Montag has put her thumbs to work to update her followers about what they can expect from her: "jenniferbunney and I are doing a girls show coming soon!"; "This is going to be the best summer of my life!!!" she wrote hours after news of the split broke. "Having another slumber party with jenniferbunney can't wait till were official roomies!"
The usually Twitter-happy Pratt has not tweeted a word since May 25.
The other questionable aspect of the BFFs-style series: reports that Spencer's production company, Pratt Productions, is allegedly filming it — a detail Bunney wouldn't exactly deny.
"That's something we're not sure about," she said.