During a recent interview with TooFab, the "On the Way Down" singer opened up about his stint on the reality television series that briefly documented his relationship with Patridge.
"To be honest, when me and Audrina were together, [cameras] were definitely around, but I don't think we gave them what they would want," Cabrera said with a mysterious grin. "We like to keep our real life pretty private."
When we noted that his philosophy rarely makes for good TV, Ryan agreed.
"Exactly. Which, uh, was not strategic. At all," he said, eyebrows raised. "No, but like, anything people would wanna see -- the real stuff that goes on in our lives -- I'm not willing to put out for anyone to see. What happens in our real life stays in our real life. I'm not a public person like that. Like, even that first season that we did, we let [cameras] be around, but like, you know, it's stories. What really happened, no one will ever know and no one needs to know, you know? That's our actual life."
"But [the cameras] were around for some stuff, and I'll always support Drina," he added, noting that he and his ex are on "great" terms. "We were hanging out last week. We're still really great friends."
Developed as a spin-off of "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County," the original run of "The Hills" lasted from 2006 to 2010. In June of this year, MTV debuted the series' long-awaited revival, "The Hills: New Beginnings." Patridge is front and center, and Cabrera is happy to report he won't be making any more cameos.
And to answer our question, no, he did not watch the premiere. But that's not because he's "above" it; he simply prefers "The Bachelorette."
In addition to writing his own music, Ryan also told us he finds "a lot of joy" in writing songs for other musicians.
"In the first 10 years of my career, I was like, 'If I write it, it's mine. That's it,'" he explained, but after 15 years in the game, he's come to appreciate writing specific songs for specific people -- like good friend and fellow pop-2000s icon Avril Lavigne.
Cabrera told us he helped Lavigne brainstorm creatively for her most recent album, "Head Above Water." He's even got a songwriting credit on "Tell Me It's Over."
"She's the sweetest person in the entire world," he explained of his friend and collaborator. "Super shy, though, so a lot of times, she can come off -- like, a lot of people are like, 'Oh, she might be to herself.' But she's just super shy. If you went up to her and talked to her, she'd be the nicest person in the world. She has the sweetest heart and [is] one of the most incredible artists I've ever heard sing."
"Like, we go to the studio, and she sings it once through, and then I'm like, 'Uh, okay, so I guess we're good?' She's like, 'Yeah, I'm good!' I'm just like, 'Alright!'" he continued. "She's one of the most incredible singers I've ever heard. And fun to write with! We're literally like best friends, and to be able to spin ideas off each other, especially as somebody that I love as an artist and respect, and she loves my music and respects me as an artist as well, so it's cool to get to bounce ideas off your best friend."
Ryan said one of his favorite qualities about the "Sk8er Boi" singer is that she's "very, very blunt and to the point."
"In our world, it's very hard to find people who will tell you the truth because everyone just wants to be like, 'Oh my God, you're so good! That's the best song I've ever heard," he said. "And I'm like, 'Av, it's kinda crap, blah blah blah.' So she knows that I'm gonna give her the truth, and I know that she's gonna give me the truth, so that's why I think our collaborations work so well together is because we're honest with each other."