Paris Hilton gained global notoriety following the release of a sex tape in 2003. Following her role in The Simple Life, Paris won a Teen Choice Award for her performance in House of Wax, and her first novel, Confessions of an Heiress, debuted on the New York Times best-seller list. She has since made news for her romances, music ventures, and television shows such as The World According to Paris and Hollywood Love Story.
Early Life and Modeling
Paris Whitney Hilton was born on February 17, 1981, in New York City, to real estate developer Richard Hilton and socialite Kathy Richards Hilton. Hilton, along with her sister Nicky and brothers Barron and Conrad, is one of several heirs to the Hilton hotel fortune.
Hilton, who began modeling as a child at philanthropic gatherings and was given the childhood moniker “Star” by her mother and grandmother, was born into acting stock. Her maternal grandmother was actress “Big” Kathy Dugan, and her aunts Kim and Kyle Richards have continued to work in film and television. By marriage, Hilton is also connected to Zsa Zsa Gabor, who married Hilton’s great-grandfather, Conrad Hilton, and Elizabeth Taylor, who was temporarily married to Hilton’s great uncle, Conrad Nicholson Hilton Jr.
Hilton spent her infancy transferring from one opulent mansion to the next. She attended Marywood-Palm Valley School in California during her freshman year of high school while residing in the family’s Beverly Hills house. She completed her studies at the Dwight School after the Hilton family migrated to New York City in 1996. At the time, the family lived in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan and vacationed frequently at a multimillion-dollar house in the Hamptons.
Hilton and her sister were East Coast transplants who often attended society functions, charitable events, fashion displays, and A-list parties. The two quickly became red carpet regulars, and a titillating 2000 Vanity Fair spread shot by legendary photographer David LaChapelle solidified their rising star.
Hilton signed with Donald Trump’s modeling agency, T Management, around this time. She was quickly seen in a slew of campaigns for top fashion houses including Christian Dior and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as national periodicals. Hilton later worked for renowned agencies such as Ford Models Management and London’s Model 1 Agency.
New York’s ‘It Girl’ and Early Films
Hilton, who drew constant media attention for her extravagant lifestyle, was dubbed “New York’s leading IT girl” in 2001. Hilton’s short-lived romances with actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar de la Hoya, as well as caustic remarks thrown at her colleagues, gained her negative headlines and solidified her reputation for careless jet setting and wild partying.
Hilton made her acting debut in Zoolander (2001), Ben Stiller’s feature-length satire of the modeling industry. She continued to spend her time between runways and movie sets for the next few years, featuring in the 2002 horror film Nine Lives. The next year, she appeared in the feature films Wonderland and Cat in the Hat, as well as her own small-screen reality series.
Se.x Tape and ‘The Simple Life’
In November 2003, an unofficial four-minute film of Hilton, titled “One Night in Paris,” began to circulate on the Internet; it portrayed Hilton indulging in personal actions with then-boyfriend Rick Salomon. Salomon advertised the film, making millions of dollars in sales, and Hilton sued. Despite the fact that the matter was settled out of court, it was reported that Hilton gained $400,000 from the footage. She also declared publicly that she had never meant the film to be a business enterprise.
Hilton premiered her first reality television attempt on FOX three weeks following the video’s release. She co-created The Simple Life with long-time friend Nicole Richie, a show that depicted the two socialites doing blue-collar jobs and completing mundane activities. It was expected that Hilton’s incident would damage ratings and alienate potential viewers, yet the show went on to become a huge success.
Guess asked Hilton shortly after to star in three global campaigns. Hilton appeared as a guest on Saturday Night Live the following month. Her double-entendre-laden chat with Jimmy Fallon made light of the Salomon tape scandal.
Book: ‘Confessions of an Heiress’
The following year, Hilton participated in the films The Hillz and Raising Helen, and she began to diversify her commercial interests. She published her first book, Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Cheek Peek Behind the Pose, after creating Heiress Records (a Warner Bros. sub-label). Despite being widely lambasted by critics, the book immediately made its way onto the New York Times best-seller list. It was written in collaboration with author Merle Ginsberg.
Hilton was also busy that year with a perfume line, a nightclub business, and the second season of The Simple Life. Despite the show’s high ratings, Richie and Hilton had clearly grown apart by 2005, and the reason for their breakup became a source of public speculation.
While still appearing on the show, Hilton accepted additional acting roles, including a minor but crucial role in the horror film House of Wax. Her performance garnered her the Teen Choice Award for Best Scream, as well as nominations for Choice Breakout and Best Frightened Performance at the MTV Movie Awards.
First Engagement and Album
In May 2005, Hilton announced her engagement to Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis, focusing on her romantic life. Five months later, the pair called it quits, and Hilton began dating Stavros Niarchos III, an heir of a separate Greek shipping dynasty. Toward the end of the year, she experimented in fashion, launched her own jewelry line, and released her sophomore writing effort, Your Heiress Diary: Confess It All To Me, another collaboration with Ginsberg.
Hilton ventured into music in 2006, releasing her self-titled debut album on her Heiress label. The No. 6 single contained a variety of genres as well as the work of producers such as Greg Wells, Kara DioGuardi, and Scott Storch. At the same time, Hilton resumed her acting career, and when The Simple Life entered its fourth season, Richie and Hilton reconnected publicly.
Arrest and Jailtime
While her commercial ventures were flourishing, Hilton’s hard-partying private life caught up with her in September 2006, when she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Hilton was arrested and was sentenced to probation. Only a few months later, the heiress was back in court after the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office claimed she had broken the terms of her probation by driving with a suspended license.
Hilton was sentenced to 45 days in prison in May 2007, which was later reduced to 23 days. Hilton reported to the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California, on June 3, immediately following her appearance at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards. Hilton was released early in the morning on June 7 after only three full days in prison for unclear health concerns. The court ordered her to serve the remainder of her sentence in house confinement for 40 days.
A court ordered Hilton to return to jail in response to the belief that she was receiving special treatment because of her famous status. When she heard the sentence, Hilton exclaimed, “It’s not right!” and requested her mother. On June 13, she was brought back to the Century Regional Detention Facility from the medical ward of the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles.
Hilton was released from jail on June 26, 2007, after spending a total of 22 days. The Hilton family received terrible headlines for seeking to extort a million-dollar fee from Barbara Walters and ABC as networks competed for her first post-incarceration interview. A enraged Walters refused, and network interest waned. Eventually, a repentant Hilton went on Larry King Live for free, claiming that the pastor at the jail had motivated her to have a “new beginning.”
‘My New BFF,’ ‘The World According to Paris’
The Simple Life ended after five seasons in 2007. Hilton continues to act in major motion pictures, including Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) and The Hottie & the Nottie (2008), and created the MTV reality show Paris Hilton’s My New BFF.
Hilton, on the other hand, tended to receive the greatest on-screen attention for her political opinions. On August 5, presidential candidate John McCain contrasted Hilton’s celebrity to that of opposing contender Barack Obama. Hilton responded with a video from Will Ferrell’s humor website funnyordie.com. Her clever, comic turn was well received by the media.
In May of 2008, Hilton confirmed her engagement to Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden. After a nine-month relationship, the couple divorced in November of that year.
In 2010, she began dating nightclub entrepreneur Cy Waits. The two had a very public romance, which was documented in her Oxygen series, The World According to Paris, which aired in 2011. Their relationship was riddled with drama, with the couple being detained in Las Vegas for cocaine possession (her second drug charge of the year, after being caught with marijuana in Corsica) and Waits holding a gun to an intruder in Paris’ residence. Their romance ended in June 2011, one month before the end of The World According to Paris, after nearly a year.
DJ and More Music
Following the launch of various fragrances and businesses around the world, Hilton decided to refocus her empire by returning to music. Hilton declared her desire to become a DJ in early 2012. In 2012, she made her DJ debut at the Pop Music Festical in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her debut performance was poorly reviewed. In October 2012, she starred in a Korean music video by artist Kim Jang Hoon.
To many people’s astonishment, Hilton prepared to release her sophomore album under Cash Money Records—home to prominent hip-hop musicians Drake, Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj. Although a finished album was never released, Hilton did record a number of songs that charted on the dance charts over the next few years. She also continued to appear on television shows such as The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
‘Hollywood Love Story’
Hilton settled into a relationship with actor Chris Zylka after romances with younger boy toys such as Spanish model River Viiperi. They announced their engagement during a ski trip to Aspen, Colorado, in early 2018, before calling it off late that year.
In the spring of 2018, Viceland announced that Hilton would star in Hollywood Love Story, a new reality series about a gang of fame seekers in Tinseltown. She announced in June that she was collaborating with the Boohoo fashion company on a new 70-piece collection that will release later that month.
Hilton then kicked off 2020 with the premiere of her YouTube show Cooking with Paris.
Hilton confirmed her engagement to boyfriend Carter Reum in February 2021.