Paris Hilton blames 2003 sex tape scandal on childhood trauma: ‘I was so lost’

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 mins read

Paris Hilton recently opened up about experiencing childhood trauma — while attending a behavior modification school in her late teens — and said it’s had a detrimental impact on her life and relationships.

In an interview for the upcoming CBS Sunday Morning, the original celebutante, who’s the subject of the upcoming YouTube documentary This Is Paris, said that her infamous 2003 sex tape scandal wouldn’t have happened had she not been left feeling “lost” after experiencing physical and emotional abuse at the residential school in the late ‘90s.

"That would never have happened if I hadn't gone to that school," Hilton, 39, said. "When I got out of that school, I was so lost. And then I ended up meeting the person who did that,” referring to ex Rick Salomon, who sold the tape which was released under the title 1 Night in Paris around the time of Hilton’s The Simple Life stardom.

“I never would have let someone like that in my life if I hadn't gone through such experiences,” Hilton said. “And therefore, I would have never put myself in that situation. But I just wanted love so bad. I didn't really know. I was so naïve. And I trusted the wrong person. And that's something I'll regret for the rest of my life."

In the interview, Kim Kardashian’s former boss said that her “Barbie airhead” persona — which she herself has promoted for years — is all a facade. It’s really a defense mechanism and act to hide the childhood trauma.

"There's so many differences," the DJ and “Stars Are Blind” singer said when asked about the real her versus her public persona which has painted her as a rich, bubble-head blonde not known for offering more to the conversation than “That’s hot.”

"With the character, it's mostly kind of this blonde, bubbly, kind of Barbie airhead. And, in real life, I’m the exact opposite,” she said. “I'm not a dumb blonde. I'm just very good at pretending to be one.”

Hilton has really played into the “Barbie airhead” thing. She’s referred to herself as a Barbie, held her birthday party at a Barbie Dream House-like mansion and served herself Barbie cake.

Hilton first broke her silence about the childhood abuse last month. She said her parents sent to her to Provo Canyon School in Utah because she was causing trouble by sneaking out of her NYC apartment to party. However, “from the moment I woke up until I went to bed, it was all day screaming in my face, yelling at me, continuous torture,” she told People magazine of the treatment facility. “I was having panic attacks and crying every single day.”

She said she wasn’t able to communicate with her parents and when she left the school after 11 months, she buried the abuse away so she could move on. (Provo Canyon School changed ownership in 2000 and the current owners have declined to comment publicly.)

While promoting the doc, out Sept. 14, Hilton said another effect of the abuse has been falling into abusive relationships. While not naming names, Hilton told People in a different interview, five different exes abused her. (In 2004, Hilton’s then-boyfriend Nick Carter publicly denied abusing her.)

“I was strangled, I was hit, I was grabbed aggressively. I put up with things no one should,” she told the outlet. “I had become so used to [abusive behavior] at Provo, that it made me feel like it was normal.”

Hilton said the men “all seemed like such nice guys and then the true colors would show. They’d get jealous, or defensive or try to control me. And there would come a point where they would become physically, verbally and emotionally abusive.”

Hilton continued, “I didn’t really understand what love or relationships were. I thought that them getting so crazy meant that they were in love with me. Looking back, I can’t believe I let people treat me like that.”

Hilton is now dating Carter Reum, whom she has called “the one.”

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: