The media personality is opening up like never before in an emotional, new documentary now streaming on YouTube.
Paris Hilton is opening up like never before. In the all-new, unflinching documentary, This Is Paris, the 39-year-old media personality is revisiting key events and personal traumas in her early life that she’s still coming to terms with today. As she looks back on these defining moments in the film, only Hilton talked to ET about what it was like to survive years of abuse in high school, be pressured into making a sex tape, and how she feels about her public persona today.
Paris Allegedly Experienced Severe Physical and Emotional Abuse at Provo Canyon School
In the ‘90s, Hilton attended the Provo Canyon School, which is described as “an intensive, psychiatric residential treatment center for youth,” in Utah. “[That] was the worst of the worst,” she said, before sharing allegations of physical and emotional trauma forced upon her by the school’s faculty. “There was no getting out of there. You are sitting on a chair, staring at a wall all day long, getting yelled at or hit. I felt like a lot of the people that worked there got off on torturing children and seeing them naked.”
She compared her experience at the school to the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. “I felt like I was going crazy,” she continued. “I was freezing, starving, I was alone and I was scared. My parents live in New York, they didn’t know, but I was so angry and so upset, I hated them. I was there for 11 months and the only thing that saved my sanity was thinking about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become when I got out of there. I was gonna do everything in my power to be so successful that my parents could never control me again.”
According to the documentary, there have been 56 allegations of assault or sexual abuse made against the school.
Following the allegations, People reached out to the school for comment and received this response: “Originally opened in 1971, Provo Canyon School was sold by its previous ownership in August 2000. We therefore cannot comment on the operations or patient experience prior to this time.”
Following Provo, Paris Claims She’s Been in Abusive Relationships With Multiple Men
“After being at Provo, you don’t even know what love is or how to have a relationship,” Hilton shared. “I have been in a lot of relationships where people get so controlling and so angry they become physical.”
Hilton claimed that five guys were abusive, including times where she’s been left bruised, was strangled, or had electronic devices thrown at her. “I accepted it because I almost thought it was normal,” she recalled. “I was like, ‘He loves me so much that he is going this crazy.’ I just wanted love so bad that I was willing to accept being hit or yelled at or screamed or strangled. A lot of things.’” Even the sex tape was a direct result of her experiences at Provo.
“When I was a young girl going through this, I didn't know how to deal with it and I would allow it to happen,” Hilton says now, sharing advice to other people going through what she’s gone through. “My advice is to stand up for yourself. No one deserves to be treated like that. If you are going through abuse or anything, you need to leave, you need to talk to someone about it, you need to call the police, anything. That’s not love. And if someone thinks what, like, I thought, ‘He loves me so much that he's going this crazy.’ No. It's not that. They're just an abusive person, and you need to stay away from them.”
Paris Felt Pressured to Film a Sex Tape
In 2003, a sex tape featuring Hilton and then-boyfriend Rick Salomon leaked on the internet and was eventually packaged and sold by Salomon as 1 Night in Paris, much against Hilton’s choice. Looking back on it now, Hilton says the “private moment” came about because she wasn’t in the right head space. “I was just so in love with him and wanted to make him happy and I just remember him pulling out the camera and pressuring me into it,” she said, saying “it was like being electronically raped.”
“For people to think that I did it on purpose because after that all of these leaked tapes were coming out and it almost became a blueprint to become famous,” Hilton continued, revealing that her dreams of following in the footsteps of the likes of Grace Kelly and Marylin Monroe were shattered. “I just felt that when that happened it took it all away from me.”
While speaking with ET, Hilton said that everything she went through with the sex tape “was one of the most painful experiences” she’s ever been through. “I would have never put myself in that position or met a man like that if I had not gone through what I went through before because at these places, being abused, it almost makes it seem like it is normal.”
The Sex Tape Also Affected Her Family
After the leak, Hilton’s mother Kathy was confined to her bed for an extended period. She revealed she didn’t want to get up and take the kids to school or face other people at the time. Meanwhile, Hilton’s sister, Nicky, was busy trying to protect Paris and her family from seeing it covered in the news everyday. “We lived in a hotel where the New York Post and New York Daily News was on everyone’s front,” Nicky shared. “On days where [Paris] was a cover story, I would run down the hall first and flip every newspaper over so they didn’t have to see it.”
Now, Hilton says Nicky means so much to her. “There’s no one in the world who knows me like she does, and I look up to her like she's a big sister, even though she's my little sister, because she's just always been the more mature one,” she tells ET. “I don't really have a lot of people like that in my life, so it's good to have someone around who always tells me the truth.”
Paris’ Public Persona Is a Performance
“I didn’t use to be that way,” Hilton said, revealing that once she became a media personality, first walking the red carpet and then appearing on talk shows before landing her own reality series. The Simple Life. alongside friend Nichole Richie, she developed a character -- a high-pitched valley girl -- that came to define her brand.
While it’s taken years to shake the persona, she tells ET she initially “built this character to protect myself.”
Kim Kardashian West Says She Owes Everything to Paris
Before she became the star of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kim Kardashian West was friends with Hilton, who she says paved the way for her and family. “That was the height of everything. Paris really started that movement of having paparazzi follow your every move,” Kardashian West recalled. “I wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t been for her starting out in the reality world and her introducing me to the world. The best advice that she ever could’ve given me is just watching her.”
Hilton tells ET that she feels “incredibly proud” to have known her since they both were young girls. “The empires that her and her sisters and her mother have built is just amazing.” And just like she ended The Simple Life to focus on her business, Hilton thinks the Kardashians are doing the same by ending Keeping Up With the Kardashians. “They have huge business empires,” she says. “I am sure that is what they want to spend their time doing. That and being with their families.”
This Is Paris is now streaming on YouTube.