Paris Hilton Explained Why She Chose To Open Up About Her Childhood Abuse After Years Of Keeping It Secret

    "I was trying to look like I had the perfect life. I was embarrassed for people to know."

    Last week, Paris Hilton released her YouTube documentary This Is Paris, in which she breaks down public perceptions of her image and brand and gives viewers a glimpse at a far more personal side of her life.

    Mike Coppola / Getty Images

    During a dark and emotional scene of the film, Paris opens up about her time attending a series of behavioural boarding schools as a teenager, where she alleges she experienced "physical, emotional, and verbal abuse".

    YouTube Originals /

    According to Paris, the "worst of the worst" was Provo Canyon School in Utah. She said she was taken from her parents' home in the middle of the night and still has nightmares to this day about being kidnapped.

    YouTube Originals /

    "There's no getting out of there," Paris said of the school in the documentary.

    "You're sitting on a chair staring at a wall all day long, getting yelled at or hit," she went on. "I felt like a lot of the people who worked there got off on torturing children and seeing them naked. They would prescribe everyone all these pills — I didn't know what they were giving me. I would just feel so tired and numb."

    She also alleges that she was sent to solitary confinement after the staff found out she'd been avoiding taking her pills, all without her parents knowing.

    YouTube Originals /

    "They'd make people take their clothes off and go in there, like, for 20 hours," Paris explained. "I felt like I was going crazy. I was freezing, I was starving, I was alone. I was scared. My parents were in New York. They didn't know."

    It's something Paris has never spoken about publicly before — and in an interview on The Drew Barrymore Show on Monday, Paris explained why she chose to come forward and tell her story after years of keeping it hidden.

    Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

    In the interview, Paris revealed that her experience at the school was never supposed to be the focus of the documentary, but she opened up as a natural result of her relationship with director Alexandra Dean.

    CBS /

    "I wanted to do a film to show the businesswoman I am and all I've accomplished, because I feel like there's so many misconceptions about me," Paris said. "And then during shooting I just became so close with the director."

    David Livingston / Getty Images

    "We had this sisterly relationship where I felt like I could open up about anything with her," she added. "She told me, 'This is so important that you tell your story, because you're going to help other survivors and people who want to come forward with theirs.'"

    "It was very difficult for me, because it wasn't something I ever wanted to talk about in public," Paris said of the filmmaking process. "It was hard to relive and have to remember all these traumatic experiences that I tried so hard to forget."

    CBS /

    "I was trying to look like I had the perfect life," Paris said. "I was embarrassed for people to know."

    She added: "I now know that I shouldn't be ashamed. The people who work in these places and were abusing children are the ones who should be ashamed."

    However, the interview ended on a positive note, with Paris saying she's in "the best place" of her life and is "so excited for the future".

    CBS /

    You can watch Paris's Drew Barrymore Show interview in full here, and watch This Is Paris on YouTube here.

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here