Think of Paris Hilton and it’s easy to conjure up her self-created caricature –blonde, rich, excessive, owner of tiny dogs wearing clothes. You might also remember her sex tape, filmed in 2001 and leaked to the public in 2003.
Except some might say it’s less a sex tape and more revenge pornogaphy, given she sued the distribution company who later released it as a porn film, says she never consented to it going public and was 20 years old being filmed by her then-32-year-old boyfriend, Rick Salomon.
Whatever you think of Hilton, having a video of a sexual encounter viewed by millions without your consent is something nobody should go through.
And speaking to Marie Claire, the hotel heiress has discussed the emotional fallout of the video’s release, describing the footage as “the last thing that I would ever want out there” and detailing the severe impact it had on her mental health.
“I could not leave my house for months,” Hilton tells the magazine. “I was so depressed, humiliated. I didn’t want to be seen in public.”
She added that she had not participated for fame or profit, saying that she didn’t make any money from the video (she, Salomon and the distribution company settled out of court) and believes it had a negative impact on how she was perceived.
“It’s really hurtful, because my whole life I really looked up to Princess Diana, all these elegant, amazing women, and I feel like [Salomon] just took that all away from me,” she says. “I could have been like that, but because of that tape, I will always be judged and thought of as whatever they say about me because of a private moment between my boyfriend and me.
“I wish I had never met him. That is actually the one regret in my life. I wish that I had never met that guy.”
In 2015, she made a similar point about the impact the video had on her reputation, despite the fact she never thought it would go beyond their own relationship.
“Now when people look at me they think that I’m something I’m not just because of one incident one night with someone who I was in love with,” she said.
“People assume ‘Oh, she’s a slut’ because of one thing that happened to me and it’s hard because I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life and explain it to my children. And it’s something that’s changed my life forever and I’ll never be able to erase it.”
She added that it was “the most embarrassing, humiliating thing that has ever happened to me in my life.”
Hilton, who has numerous product lines worldwide to her name, including 24 fragrances, also said in the Marie Claire interview that she used to play up to the public perception of her as an “airhead”, but while she had dropped the “baby voice” she was known for, she’s past caring what people think about her.
“People love to talk s***,” she says. “I’m used to it, over the years. I love how, anyone I meet, I always change their mind right away. I'm not what people think. It’s fun to kind of laugh with it and say I’m in on the joke.”
It’s a stance family friend Donald Trump (whom she says is “so nice, so respectful and sweet”) fully approves of, according to Hilton’s father, who contributed a quote to the magazine saying Trump had praised his daughter as “dumb like a fox”.
Read the full interview here.
Images: Rex Features