It's been a rough year for Darlene Egelhoff.
Aside from her estranged relationship with Heidi Montag since February, the mother of three and her husband, Tim, also now face financial problems.
Timberlines, a popular restaurant featured on The Hills and owned by Heidi's folks in Crested Butte, Colo., went out of business after a 21-year run.
'We're a tourist town, so our business was dependent on the economy,' Egelhoff tells People. 'We were forced to close because of the economy.'
Egelhoff admits she hit such a low that, at the end of last year, she even borrowed money from Heidi Montag, who's now close to bankrupt herself.
Even that wasn't enough, however, and she's gone from owning that restaurant and making appearances on The Hills to working as a maid for a living.
'The work is sporadic and competitive,' Egelhoff says of her new gig. 'My work is not enough to pay the bills. We need other work immediately. [My son] Sky is eligible for free lunch at school and is proud to take advantage of it.'
Despite the hardships she and her family have faced, Egelhoff maintains a positive outlook on life and on the possibility of reconciling with Heidi.
"I have no regrets in life," she says. "I feel like God makes all things for good, and the most difficult situations we go through in life are opportunities. That's when we build character and strength – during difficult times."
'I love Heidi more every day, even though I don't talk to her. I love her unconditionally. I have confidence that we will have a loving, strong relationship again. I think it just takes time. Heidi and I were so close when she was growing up.'
'I think she needed to disconnect from me to discover herself.'
Unfortunately, she also discovered Spencer Pratt.