In a revealing new interview with Glamour UK, the hotel heiress, reality star and author of the forthcoming Paris: The Memoir, out March 14, spoke candidly about the sexual abuse she suffered as a teenager, including her first experience with intercourse, with an older man who she says drugged and raped her, as well as the vilification she experienced from powerful men as a young woman.
When recounting her first sexual experience, Hilton, 42, says she met the older man at the mall with her friend when she was 15 years old.
“These guys would always just be hanging around the stores [and] we’d talk to them, give them our beeper [pager] numbers,” Hilton recalled. “And then one day, they invited us to their house and we’re drinking these berry wine coolers.”
Acknowledging that she “didn’t drink or [do] anything back then,” Hilton claims one of the men was particularly forceful in having her consume a drink he’d made, which she later realized had been drugged.
“When I had maybe one or two sips, I just immediately started feeling dizzy and woozy,” she recalled. “I don’t know what he put in there; I’m assuming it was a roofie.” She eventually passed out. When she woke up a few hours later, she said she knew she’d been assaulted.
“I remembered it,” she explained. “I have visions of him on top of me, covering my mouth, being like, ‘You’re dreaming, you’re dreaming,’ and whispering that in my ear.”
It was around this time, Hilton notes, that she was also groomed by one of her high school teachers,
“I was just such a young girl and I got manipulated by my teacher,” she explained. “He took advantage of a young girl and that was something I blocked out as well, I didn’t remember it until years later… he would call me on the phone all the time, just flirting with me, trying to put in my mind that I was this mature woman.”
One night, she says, the teacher, who she does not name, lured her outside her Bel Air home and into his car, where they started kissing and were eventually caught by her parents, Kathy and Richard Hilton, who pulled up in their car and saw them. That’s when her teacher sped off at “100 miles an hour” through Bel Air, with her parents following behind in hot pursuit.
“We were going so fast and somehow we got away from them through a red light. He was freaking out and drove me back home to Bel Air, where he was like, ‘Get out,'” she said. “[I] just felt so ashamed by the whole situation — just from the beginning at such a young age and it really stuck with me in a weird way.”
“To this day, I’ve not talked about it with my family. I’ve never told anyone,” she added.
After these two encounters, her parents sent her to Provo Canyon School in Utah, where, she said in a 2020 tweet, her childhood was “stolen” from her.
It was during this time, while locked up in Provo Canyon School, Hilton said she created a “dumb blonde” caricature, which she later became known for, as part of a coping mechanism to help heal from trauma.
“The character was a trauma response, it was actually more comforting to put on this mask just to deal with everything I’d been through in life,” she said. “I would literally just think about who I wanted to be and who I was going to become. I started closing my eyes and dreaming of this world; I’m going to work so hard and become so successful and no one will ever control me again.”
“I was inspired by Marilyn Monroe, Barbie and Dolly Parton, all these blonde icons who were definitely playing characters as well,” she added. “And that just made me not think about any of the bad stuff. It was like a total escape.”
Later in the interview, Hilton recalls a cringey moment with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who was recently sentenced to 16 years in prison for rape, at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000 when she was 19.
“I was at lunch with my girlfriend and he came up to the table and was like, ‘Oh, you want to be an actress?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I really want to be in a movie,’” she recalled saying to Weinstein. “I was a teenager, so I was impressed by him. I was like, ‘Oh my god, Harvey Weinstein is so cool!’ and he said, ‘Well, we should have a meeting. You can come up to my room and read scripts.'”
“I just didn’t want to go, so I never went,” said Hilton, who was well-versed on the producer’s predatory reputation. At a gala the next night, she claimed Weinstein became aggressive with her and followed her into the bathroom where he started screaming at her, “Ya wanna be a star?”
“He tried to open the door, he was hammering on the door, banging on it,” she recalled. “And I wouldn’t open it, because I was like, ‘I’m in a stall, why do you want to come in here?’ And I just wouldn’t open it. And security came and literally carried him away and he was like [shouting], ‘This is my party,’ going nuts. It scared me and freaked me out.”
Hilton said she never said anything about it because, at the time, Weinstein was a “powerful” man in Hollywood “who everyone was terrified of.”
“I was like, ‘I don’t want people getting mad at me for saying anything,’” she said, “because [his behavior] was just a known thing. He was just like that and people were like, ‘OK, just turn a blind eye.’”
Since welcoming her first child, a son named London with husband Carter Reum, Hilton has become a staunch activist, having campaigned for the Stop Institutional Child Abuse bill, aiming to address systemic issues that increase reliance on congregate care and subject youth to abuse and neglect.
The mogul is also using her platform to speak out about last year’s repeal by the Supreme Court of Roe v. Wade, restricting women’s access to safe abortions. For her, the issue is personal given that she herself had an abortion in her early 20s.
“This was also something that I didn’t want to talk about because there was so much shame around that,” she said. “I was a kid and I was not ready for that.”
Still, she’s ready to speak out now — and to continue advocating for the rights of women and girls — because “it is so important.”
“There’s just so much politics around it and all that, but it’s a woman’s body,” she said. “Why should there be a law based on that? It’s your body, your choice and I really believe in that. It’s mind-boggling to me that they’re making laws about what you do with your reproductive health, because if it were the other way around with the guys, it would not be this way at all.”