Paris Hilton Reveals How Her Boarding School Reality Was Different From What Her Parents Imagined

Paris Hilton has been open about her journey with trauma in her documentary, This Is Paris, but there is still more of her story to be told. At the A Day of Unreasonable Conversation event in Los Angeles on Monday, the 43-year-old personality shared how her parents, Rick and Kathy Hilton, were seduced by the shiny, but false, claims by the Provo Canyon School where they sent her for 11 months as a teen.

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Paris HiltonGilbert Flores/Billboard via Getty Images.

Paris discussed how “extremely lonely” the experience was because she and her classmates “were silenced, and physically, emotionally, verbally, and sexually abused” every day. “We couldn’t tell anyone. We couldn’t tell our families,” she heartbreakingly told the audience. “If any of us said anything to our family on the phone, they would immediately hang up and take away our phone privileges.” Rick and Kathy had no clue what their teen daughter was enduring daily.

378841 05: Paris Hilton, 19, a year older than screen legend Elizabeth Taylor when Elizabeth married Paris'' grandfather, Conrad "Nicky" Hilton Jr, poses in Las Vegas, September 1999. The marriage between Paris'' grandfather and Elizabeth Taylor lasted just eight months and caused a great scandal at the time. Now Paris is making some potential headlines of her own. Already linked to "Titanic" star Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris and her younger sister Nicky, 16, are making a name for themselves on the New York and Los Angeles party circuit. Her Hollywood friends say the precocious teen has been going to nightclubs since she was 13, claiming she was 22 and getting away with it. Her friends include children of other celebrities: Nicole Richie, daughter of Lionel; Kidada Jones, daughter of Quincy; Brent Shapiro, son of O.J. Simpson lawyer Robert and Bijou Phillips, daughter of John. "Right now I am working on recording an album," Paris told Vanity Fair magazine. She has also completed filming an independent film called "Sweetie Pie," a teen thriller where she plays the title role. "Basically I am killed, like, right in the beginning," she says. She is also featured in a documentary called "Guest List Only." It started out being about a bunch of Los Angeles club girls, but now it is mainly about Paris. (Photos by Dan Callister/Online USA)

Paris Hilton, 19, poses in Las Vegas, September 1999.Dan Callister/Online USA.

“My family just thought I was at this beautiful boarding school because… the marketing was just so deceptive, and they use fake photos of children smiling and riding horses, and people have no idea what’s happening behind closed doors,” she claimed.

Paris wound up at the youth residential treatment center after “sneaking out at night” and “getting bad grades” at the age of 16. Her parents thought that she needed a change of scenery, away from her New York City life, on the advice of an “educational consultant.” They recommended the “emotional growth boarding school” when in reality, doctors were missing her ADHD symptoms.

In April 2023, Paris appeared on Capitol Hill to introduce a bipartisan bill that would regulate “troubled teen” facilities called the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act. “I witnessed and experienced sexual abuse from adult staff as well as endured verbal and emotional abuse daily. I was yelled at, dehumanized, silenced, and stripped of any semblance of privacy,” she said last year in a press conference. “What I went through will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

During Monday’s panel, Paris also recommended that people watch the Netflix docuseries, The Program, because she doesn’t want anyone to suffer the way she did. “There are hundreds of thousands of children being sent to the troubled teen industry every year, and children are dying, being abused, and just horrific things are happening, and nobody has been talking about it until now,” Paris summed up. “And it’s just been really incredible to tell my story and how healing it’s been for myself and so many others.”

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