Paris Hilton’s place in pop culture history was cemented by two significant events in 2003: the debut of her hit reality television show The Simple Life and her sex tape with then-boyfriend Rick Salomon being leaked on the internet. This latter violation of her privacy is at the heart of This Is Paris, the new biographical YouTube documentary directed by Alexandra Dean and produced by Paris. When asked if this sex tape’s leak – and the subsequent release of the full tape under the title of 1 Night in Paris – led to Paris, 39, having trust issues, she tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY, “It definitely had something to do with it.”
“The trust issues started from going to Provo Canyon School,” Paris says to HollywoodLife, referencing her traumatic time at boarding school. During her eleven months at PCS, Paris claims she was constantly bullied and abused by the staff. When she attempted to tell her parents about the alleged mistreatment, Paris says the staff would “hang up the phone and punish me and take away the phone privileges, so I wasn’t allowed to tell my family. And, if I tried to write them a letter about it, [the staff] would rip up the letter. I was cut off from the outside world.”
This resulted in Paris “not being able to trust people in general, ” she explained. “Then, when the tape [with Rick] happened, that just made me never able to trust another man again. That [sex tape] was the biggest regret of my life, and I wish I had never met him.”
“I never opened my heart ever,” continued Paris. “Even when I would say I was in love, I was just saying that because I wanted to portray this perfect life and everything, but behind closed doors, it was always a different story.” Paris had an extensive list of high-profile relationships and was engaged twice: first to Paris Latsis, 37, in 2005, and to actor Chris Zylka, 35, in 2018. Paris is now dating entrepreneur Carter Reum, 39, and she says that things have changed for the better. “It feels just amazing to actually feel love for the first time and be open to it. Also, I didn’t really even know myself. I was just really lost, and now I finally feel like I know who I am, and I love myself now, and it’s the reason I can let someone into my heart.”
“Now, I’m an open book,” Paris tells HollywoodLife, “and I literally put it all out there, so I feel that people finally know who I really am. Also, I’m not going to let people with bad intentions in anymore. I really only surround myself with positive people that have good intentions, and that love me for me, [and] don’t want to use me.”
In the decades after the 1 Night in Paris scandal, the heiress has put in the work to prove she is more than a sex tape. She wrote a best-selling book (Confessions of an Heiress), released an album that reached the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, and developed an eponymous “Paris Hilton” brand that includes everything from perfume to lingerie. She has also become a successful DJ, performing at events across the world.
This isn’t to say that she didn’t seek retribution after her tape was published without her permission. In 2004, Paris filed a lawsuit against Kahatani Ltd., an Internet company that reportedly distributed the video, for “violation of privacy, illegal business practices and infliction of emotional distress,” per CNN. She sought $30 million – “$15 million in actual damages and another $15 million in punitive damages” – but People reports that a Los Angeles judge dismissed the case “for reasons that were not explained in court documents.” There were reports that the suit was settled with Paris agreeing to accept a cut of the profits from the tape’s distribution, but she told TMZ in 2013 that she “never made a dollar” off the film.
This Is Paris is out now.