Kristin Cavallari has never been one to censor herself. “If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m honest,” says the star, who found fame on MTV’s Laguna Beach before branching out into hosting, writing cookbooks and running her Uncommon Beauty and Uncommon James lines. Still, she admits she’s had a bit of a wall up — until now.
Chatting with Us at the Fairlane Hotel in Nashville for our latest cover story, the 36-year-old mom of three (she shares sons Camden, 11, and Jaxon, 9, and daughter Saylor, 7, with ex-husband Jay Cutler) reveals she’s “putting it all out there” on her new podcast, aptly titled “Let’s Be Honest with Kristin Cavallari,” premiering September 12. “Since I first started on TV at 17, my image has been controlled to a degree,” she says. “So this is the first thing I’ve done where I’m like, ‘This is the real me for the first time in my entire career. I’m in a really good place in my life, and I feel like I can finally open that door and let people in.’”
What made you decide to do this podcast now?
I’ve been offered a podcast for more than 10 years. I wasn’t ready before because to have a successful podcast, you have to be vulnerable. I’ve always had no filter, but I’ve kept the audience at arm’s length. Once I signed on, I knew I had to be completely myself.
What topics will “Let’s Be Honest” cover?
It’s a good mix. I want to have men come on to shed light on dating. It’s one thing for us girls to sit here and be like, “This is why he didn’t call you back,” when we’re just coming up with scenarios. But for men to actually be like, “This is what we’re really thinking and feeling,” is really beneficial. We’ll also focus a lot on women’s inspiring stories. I’ll talk about spirituality, too, and have psychic mediums come on.
Will listeners learn anything surprising about you through the show?
Everything I’ve done in my career — the TV shows, the books, Uncommon James — has only ever been a little piece of me. It’s like social media — you get a snapshot of someone’s life. So I think people are going to be surprised to really get to know me.
What do you hope the audience will gain from it?
I want to build a community and have conversations about dating, health and friendships. Like right now, I don’t have time for new girlfriends, and how do you have that conversation with the new moms you meet at school? How do you say, “I really do like you, but I literally don’t have time for a new friend”?
What’s the latest with your love life?
I’m dating. I’ve gone through phases of going on a million first dates, and I’ve gone through phases where I’m not dating at all. At the moment, it’s not my priority, but I’m open to it.
Are you on dating apps?
Everyone tells me to get on the apps, but someone can be amazing on paper, and you meet them, and they’re a dud, or you just have nothing in common. I want that passion and fire. I feel like if it’s meant to be, he’ll find me. I don’t know where, because I hardly ever leave my house! Hopefully it will happen at the grocery store. [Laughs.]
What about being set up by friends?
Listen, I’ve tried every avenue. I hate being set up by friends because I hate having to say, “I just wasn’t into them.” I feel bad.
What’s the hardest part about dating as a mom of three?
I’ll go on a first date with someone and sit there thinking, “Could you be a stepfather to my children?” And then I’m like, “No, you suck.” The good thing is I’m not going to waste my time. I have really high standards now because of my kids.
Have they met any potential love interests?
They met one person once because they were a fan of his. They asked me to go out with him when they were with me so that they could meet him. I’m very open with them; they know what’s going on in my love life and who I’m talking to. And they have strong opinions! I haven’t found someone who’s special enough to be around them yet.
What are you looking for in a guy?
Someone who’s secure. A lot of guys want to be needed, so I need someone who’s very, very confident. My life is really great. I love being on my own; I really do. I’m very happy. So it has to be someone who can add joy to my life.
You’ve talked about celebs sliding into your DMs and said you only respond to dudes with a verified check mark…
Not to sound like an a–hole, but I get a lot of DMs. I’ve seen some really cute guys who aren’t verified where I’m like, “I should maybe respond to this,” but I haven’t.
Have you been surprised by any celebs who’ve reached out to you?
Yeah. I’ll talk about it on my podcast, but change the names. It hasn’t been anything scandalous, more like, “Oh my God!” where I’m texting all my friends to guess who DM’d me.
Did you go out with any of them?
Oh, yeah. There was a point about a year ago where I said yes to a lot of dates.
Any good ones?
I went on two dates with one guy — they were probably two of the best dates of my life. Very romantic and sweet, he went all out. But ultimately, I don’t think we were compatible.
Any terrible experiences?
I went out with an actor in L.A. He was slamming drinks and got up to act out a stunt and ran into the waiter. But for the most part, I’ve been lucky. I’ve gone out with all types of guys — actors, musicians, businessmen, Joe Schmo down the street … I’ve covered all the bases.
You must be learning a lot about what you really want in a relationship.
Yes. This is the first time in my life I’ve been single. My first boyfriend was in eighth grade, and I had boyfriends all throughout high school and in my early 20s. Then I met my ex-husband at 23.
You live in Nashville. Is the dating scene there better or worse than in L.A.?
I thought L.A. was bad, but Tennessee is worse! I’ve dated a couple musicians and let’s just say they’re not their music. It’s a huge letdown. You expect them to be so communicative and to express their feelings, and then you’re like, “Hello, where did that guy go?” But they don’t write their own music! [Laughs.] I’m going to get s–t for that — people will piece it together.
Have you sworn off musicians?
I’ve realized entertainment is not for me. It’s just a whole ego thing that comes with it. I just want someone normal. I did the Hollywood thing; it ran its course. It was fun. I really loved it. But now I’m just in a more peaceful place in my life.
Are you open to marrying again?
I still very much believe in marriage and love. I was just really young when I met my ex. So, yeah. I’m open to it — even after all these horrible dates!
What advice would you give to women who are going through a divorce?
Remind yourself that everything is temporary. It’s horrible, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Allow yourself grace and know that when you get to the other side, it’s the most beautiful thing.
How is coparenting going with Jay?
It’s working. We’re making the most of it.
You’ve said you’re grateful your parents divorced. Why?
It helps me relate to my kids. My mom never said anything bad about my dad, and I really admire that. [It] was something I wanted to do with my kids.
Your brother, Michael, died unexpectedly in 2015. How did that tragedy change you?
It made me question everything about life and started me on my spiritual journey. My kids and I talk about Uncle Mike, and we keep him alive; they have some of his stuffed animals. We still get signs from him sometimes. It opened my eyes to there being something so much bigger than what’s right in front of me.
Would you say it brought your family closer?
Yeah. I think about my parents all the time and what they’ve gone through. It’s one thing for me to lose a brother, but to lose a kid as a mom, I don’t know how you move on from that.
You lived in California, but you settled down in Nashville. Why?
I couldn’t be happier here. Today my kids are outside riding their bikes all day. There’s a real sense of community. It’s old school, and I love that. When I got a divorce, everyone thought I’d move back to L.A., but nothing in me wanted to move back there.
Do you think you’ll stay in Nashville permanently?
I don’t know. My soul really comes alive at the beach. I am a beach girl, tried and true. I’ll end up [near the beach] at some point, I just don’t know when.
What are your favorite things to do with your kids?
They all love being in the kitchen — even my 11-year-old son loves baking. We swim. We’re going to ride go-karts tomorrow. We like fun stuff like laser tag and paintball.
You don’t show your kids’ faces on social media. Will you let them go on eventually?
It’s so hard. My kids have seen firsthand how things on the internet are not necessarily true. I’ve had conversations with them, and they’ve pulled up articles and been like, “This didn’t happen.” With Saylor, the big thing is body image. We’re trying to live up to a standard that truly doesn’t exist. I also worry about random people reaching out to them.
You started on Laguna Beach at 17. Would you let your kids do a reality show?
Not until they’re 18. I just want them to be kids. I wanted to be older my whole life, and now I’m like, “Why didn’t I just enjoy being 18?” We all get there. So just live in the moment.
Do you think your E! reality show, Very Cavallari, affected your marriage to Jay?
No. Our problems were our problems before doing the show.
Would you ever do another reality show?
No. I promise you I will never do another reality show about my life. I have nothing else to say. Even on Very Cavallari, it was a struggle for storylines. It’s not for me anymore.
Were there any differences between filming Laguna Beach and The Hills?
I look at [the shows] very differently. Laguna Beach was more like producers coming in, kind of manipulating our lives, putting us in situations we wouldn’t normally be in. With The Hills, it was like, ‘OK, let’s go. I know what you want me to do. I’m going to play this character.’ It was like filming a real TV show.
If the cameras weren’t around, do you think you and your Laguna costar Stephen Colletti would’ve gone the distance?
No. Stephen was my high school sweetheart. I think college would’ve happened and we would’ve broken up anyways.
Have you gotten any memorable advice from a producer?
Just being honest and telling me when to reel it in or when to step it up. I actually had a lot of producers looking out for me on all the shows I did. There are definitely snakes, don’t get me wrong. But there are really good people too.
What has surprised you the most about fame?
It can be really lonely. It’s also really fun, and I’ve done a lot of cool s–t. But it can be hard to trust people. I was hanging out with a lot of bad people in my early 20s. It felt grimy at times. Being in Tennessee has helped with that.
Talk to us about your self-care routine.
Meditation has become really important. I’m someone who loves being alone, and that’s how I recharge my batteries. Writing is also really beneficial for me. Self-care is extremely important, especially as a mom. If my cup is empty, I have nothing to give my kids. If my cup is full, I can be patient and loving and supportive. I didn’t understand that until the last four years, and I’m a better mom now.
What’s the latest with your Uncommon James line?
Uncommon Beauty is crushing it right now — I think it’s going to overtake the jewelry. We’re really going to expand on skincare.
You have a lot going on. Do you ever struggle with mom guilt?
Because I’ve gone through divorce, I don’t have my kids a hundred percent of the time, and that’s given me a good balance. When I don’t have them, I go to dinner with friends [or] go to L.A. for a photo shoot. When I have them, that’s it. I’m Mom. I can count on two hands how often I’ve gotten a babysitter. I want them to always be able to count on me. My parents didn’t make my brother and I their priority, which was hard. My kids know they’re my priority.
What’s a lesson you learned from sharing your life on TV?
I learned at a pretty young age that no matter what you do — whether you’re a saint or a wild party child — you can’t please everybody. So why not do what makes you happy?