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Paris Hilton attends The American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection 2020 at Hammerstein Ballroom on February 5, 2020 in New York City. (AFP/Mike Coppola )
After burying her “truth for so long”, Paris Hilton has finally decided to open up about the traumatic experiences she had during her teenage years, which, to this day, continue to give her “nightmares”.
In a recent interview with People magazine to promote her upcoming YouTube documentary, This is Paris, the entrepreneur and socialite revealed that she endured physical, mental and emotional abuse on a daily basis during the 11 months she spent at the Provo Canyon School (PCS) in Utah in the late 1990s.
“I knew it was going to be worse than anywhere else. It was supposed to be a school, but [classes] weren’t the focus at all,” Paris said of the school, which purportedly focuses on the mental and behavioral well-being of troubled youth. “From the moment I woke up until I went to bed, it was all day screaming in my face, yelling at me, continuous torture.”
Paris, an heiress to the Hilton hotel empire, admitted that her parents’ strictness compelled her to rebel during her teens. She would often sneak out to attend parties and go clubbing. And while her parents punished her by taking away her cell phone and credit card, that didn’t stop her from going out on her own.
In hopes of setting her straight, Paris’ parents sent her to different boarding schools, the last one being PCS.
“The staff would say terrible things. They were constantly making me feel bad about myself and bully me. I think it was their goal to break us down. And they were physically abusive, hitting and strangling us. They wanted to instill fear in the kids so we would be too scared to disobey them,” she recalled.
Paris was cut off from the outside world and got to communicate with her family just once every two or three months. And when she once dared tell her parents about how she was being treated, she “got in so much trouble, I was scared to say it again.”
“They would grab the phone or rip up letters I wrote telling me, ‘No one’s going to believe you,’” Paris recalled. “And the staff would tell the parents that the kids were lying. So my parents had no idea what was going on.”
Paris contemplated running away from PCS at one point. But her plans were thwarted by a classmate who snitched on her. She was put in “solitary confinement” as a result.
“They would use that as punishment, sometimes 20 hours a day,” Paris, now 39, related. “I was having panic attacks and crying every single day. I was so miserable. I felt like a prisoner and I hated life.”
People reported that Universal Health Services, which currently runs PCS, declined to comment on Paris’ claims, because the facility was under a different ownership and operations during her time there.
Paris left PCS and returned to her home in New York City in 1999 when she was 18. She never told anyone about what she had experienced. “I was so grateful to be out of there so I didn’t even want to bring it up again. It was just something I was ashamed of, and I didn’t want to speak of it,” she said.
Reflecting on her life thus far, Paris, who had since become a household name via the reality television show The Simple Life, said she’s proud of the “strong woman” she has become.
“People might assume everything in my life came easy to me, but I want to show the world who I truly am,” stressed Paris, who plans to watch her documentary with her parents once it debuts on her YouTube channel on Sept. 14. “I think it will be good for us, but emotional, too. There are no more secrets.”
And while she’s not planning any legal actions, Paris wants facilities like PCS “shut down". “I want them to be held accountable. And I want to be a voice for children, and now, adults everywhere who have had similar experiences. I want it to stop for good. I will do whatever I can to make it happen,” she said.
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