Paris Hilton is opening up about emotional and physical abuse she experienced during her teenage years.
In her new documentary “This Is Paris,” Hilton detailed the “continuous torture” she faced in boarding school just years before she catapulted to fame in the reality television program “The Simple Life.”
“I buried my truth for so long,” Hilton said to People about her time at the Provo Canyon School in the late 1990s. “But I’m proud of the strong woman I’ve become. People might assume everything in my life came easy to me, but I want to show the world who I truly am.”
Hilton, 39, said she was sent away to a series of boarding schools by her “strict” parents after repeatedly getting in trouble while living in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel hotel in New York City as a teenager.
“It was so easy to sneak out and go to clubs and parties,” Hilton explained. “My parents were so strict that it made me want to rebel. They’d [punish me] by taking away my cell phone, taking away my credit card, but it didn’t work. I would still go out on my own.”
Hilton attended the last of these — the Provo Canyon School — for 11 difficult months.
“It was supposed to be a school, but [classes] were not the focus at all,” she explained. “From the moment I woke up until I went to bed, it was all day screaming in my face, yelling at me, continuous torture.”
Hilton claims the staff would “say terrible things” and even be physically abusive to discipline students.
“They were constantly making me feel bad about myself and bully me,” Hilton said. “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’d be too scared to disobey them.”
She said school officials would even put her in solitary confinement as punishment.
“They would use that as punishment, sometimes 20 hours a day,” Hilton says.
The teenage Hilton struggled with the trauma of the strict school.
“I was having panic attacks and crying every single day,” she said. “I was just so miserable. I felt like a prisoner and I hated life.”
Apparently, attempts to tell her parents about the school’s over-the-top disciplinary tactics were blocked by the school, who barely let her communicate with her family.
“I didn’t really get to speak to my family, maybe once every two or three months,” Hilton explains. “We were cut off from the outside world. And when I tried to tell them once, I 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 is going to believe you.’ And the staff would tell the parents that the kids were lying. So my parents had no idea what was going on.”
When she finally left the school at 18 in 1999, Hilton was relieved to be out — and she kept mum about her experiences since.
“I was so grateful to be out of there, I didn’t even want to bring it up again,” says Hilton. “It was just something I was ashamed of and I didn’t want to speak of it.”
Several contemporary classmates of Hilton’s also appeared in the documentary, corroborating her claims.
Responding to a request for comment from People, the school said: “Originally opened in 1971, Provo Canyon School was sold by its previous ownership in August 2000. We therefore cannot comment on the operations or patient experience prior to this time.”
“This Is Paris” premieres on Hilton’s YouTube channel on Sept. 14.