Paris Hilton speaks out about alleged abuse at ‘troubled teen’ boarding school – and her fight back
Paris Hilton’s mansion is in a gated community in Beverly Park, one of Los Angeles’s most upmarket enclaves where Adele and Mark Wahlberg also live.
On the driveway is a pink Bentley and a blue Porsche. The grand entrance is flanked by a giant white model giraffe and a neon pink Chanel sign and the hallways are lined with framed prints of the woman herself.
We are led to a room upstairs with a full-sized bar and fluffy white chairs where even the cushions have prints of Hilton’s face.
It is a home befitting the original “It Girl” – a reality TV star who once traded off her ditzy persona.
But this is a grown-up Hilton and we’re here to discuss serious issues, specifically the two years she spent at boarding schools for so-called troubled teens.
“It was like something out of a horror film,” she says. “It’s like they enjoyed abusing children.”
In the early 2000s, Hilton was one of the most photographed women in the world, the leader of a party set that included Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan.
But behind the celebrity, there was a darker reality.
As a 16-year-old she was sent to a series of residential facilities for so-called troubled teens, children with all manner of issues, from bad behaviour to addiction problems and mental illness.
“I wasn’t a bad kid,” she says.
“I was just a normal 16-year-old girl. My parents were very strict. They didn’t want me going out and I rebelled and started sneaking out and getting bad grades.
“My parents spoke to a therapist who recommended these schools. I later found out that this therapist and many others receive commissions sending children to these places.”
Like many children who attend these schools, Hilton’s parents paid for secure transportation, in effect an authorised kidnapping, where strangers take teenagers from their beds in the middle of the night and bundle them into the back of waiting vans.
“At 4.30 in the morning, two large men came into my room and just shook me out of bed and said, ‘Do you want to go the easy way or the hard way?’.
“They were holding up handcuffs and I had no idea what was happening, I thought I was being kidnapped, I had no idea who these people were.
“It just blows my mind that there are people like this that exist in the world that could treat children like this and get away with it for so long.
“I still have severe nightmares about it.”
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Hilton ended up at Provo Canyon School, in the foothills of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains.
It is marketed as an “intensive, psychiatric youth residential treatment centre,” but she says every day there was a living hell.
In her newly released autobiography, Paris: The Memoir, she alleges she was woken in the middle of the night by male staff – not doctors – and led to a private room, where they forced her to submit to cervical exams.
“To be treated like a criminal when you’re just a kid,” she says, “and the strip searches constantly”.
“As an adult now, I see that as sexual abuse. Male and female staff watching a young girl changing or naked or taking a shower, it was just dehumanising on all levels.”
She also claims to have been force-fed medication.
“One time I was like, ‘I don’t want to take these anymore’. So I just kind of had the pills under my tongue and put them in a Kleenex.
“Later on someone found out and I got in so much trouble and they sent me to what they call ‘obs’, where you’re just locked in this tiny cell with blood stains on the wall.
“They put the air conditioning as cold as possible, take away all your clothes and they leave you there for hours and hours.”
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In response to the allegations, Provo Canyon’s owners say the school was sold in 2000 and they cannot comment on the operations or student experience prior to that time. But that they do not condone or promote any form of abuse.
Hilton, now, 42 and the mother to a two-month-old son, Phoenix, says her perspective has hardened on the troubled teen industry.
“I’m just so in love with my little baby boy,” she says.
“I want to do everything to protect him and I know by doing this work, I will protect future children.
“I just can’t imagine my little boy being anywhere near these type of people, my heart goes out to all the children who are locked up in there now.”
She thinks her own parents were victims of deceptive marketing by the troubled teen industry.
Hilton has become a figurehead for a movement that campaigns to shut down troubled teen schools across America.
She’s helped introduce new laws in Utah, which now put limits on the use of restraints, drugs and isolation rooms in youth treatment programmes. It also requires facilities to document any instance in which physical restraints and seclusion are used.
But she now wants to effect change on a national level.
“These people need to be held accountable,” she says.
“They need to have people that have proper licensing, people that don’t have a criminal record. There’s just so much that goes into it. For children to have rights, it should be common sense but unfortunately, in some states, it’s not that way.
“I know by us continuing to fight this fight, that we will succeed and they messed with the wrong girl.”
Listening to her reliving the darkest moments of her life and the determination to bring those responsible to justice, it is hard to dispute that they did indeed mess with the wrong girl.
Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash court case due to start in US after man accused her of seriously injuring him in ‘hit-and-run’
Gwyneth Paltrow is expected in court in the US over claims she seriously injured a man in a “hit-and-run” skiing crash in 2016.
She is accused of skiing “out of control” and hitting retired optometrist Terry Sanderson at Deer Valley Resort in Utah.
He claimed that Paltrow crashed into him, “knocking him down hard, knocking him out, and causing a brain injury, four broken ribs and other serious injuries”.
Mr Sanderson first sued Paltrow in 2019, seeking $3.1m (£2.5m) in damages.
He is now seeking $300,000 (£245,000) after that claim was dropped.
The original 2019 claim stated that after hitting him, “Paltrow got up, turned and skied away, leaving Sanderson stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured”.
It also said a Deer Valley ski instructor who had been training Paltrow saw Mr Sanderson had been injured but made no attempt to help him.
The instructor did not send for help and later accused Mr Sanderson of having caused the crash in a “false report to protect his client”, the claim said.
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The actress countersued for a symbolic $1, saying it was Mr Sanderson who had caused the crash and delivered a full “body blow”.
Paltrow’s claim said she was shaken by the collision and stopped skiing with her family for the day.
It added that Mr Sanderson apologised to her and said he was fine.
Paltrow is due to attend court today and is expected to testify, according to reports from local media.
The trial is scheduled to last for eight days.
Sarah Snook: Succession star reveals pregnancy at final season premiere
Succession star Sarah Snook has revealed she is pregnant with her first child during the red-carpet premiere of the final season of the show.
The 35-year-old Australian actress told reporters she felt “great” about her impending motherhood.
As one quarter of the show’s feuding Roy brood, she plays Shiv, who along with brothers Connor, Kendall and Roman, face a constant battle to impress their demanding father Logan Roy.
Attending the event in New York on Monday in a black fitted jumpsuit and long silver cardigan, she told US outlet Extra that she had brought along “someone I have not met, but am intimate with”.
Asked if she had learned anything about being a parent from Succession, she said: “What not to do.”
“I don’t think the Roy family are a paragon of family values, I don’t think we can really be looking to them for guidance.”
Snook later told Entertainment Tonight that the news was “exciting” adding: “I feel great.”
She married Australian comedian Dave Lawson in 2021.
Written by British screenwriter Jesse Armstrong, the upcoming fourth season of Succession is highly anticipated, not least because it has been confirmed it will be its final series.
Fans have followed the dysfunctional Roy family through three series as they fight for control over a media empire. It stars several household names, including Snook, Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin and Matthew Macfadyen.
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Cox, who stars as Logan Roy, said despite its success, ending the show now was the right thing to do.
He said: “I think it’s great… It’s good television, [it] doesn’t try to be infinite as it sometimes does. It repeats itself. Shows go on far too long. The genius is Jesse Armstrong and also the genius of his writers as well.
“They know there is an element of finite, and they finish it because each season has to top the next season. So, you have to make the fourth season the best season so far.”
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The final trailer for the fourth season of Succession was released earlier this month.
The show will pick up after the Roy siblings’ failed coup and their father’s proposal to sell Waystar RoyCo.
This season will again feature Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard, playing tech mogul Lukas Matsson – the man set to take over the media empire.
Season 4 of Succession airs in the UK exclusively on Sky Atlantic from 27 March.
Bruce Willis sings and blows out candles as he celebrates 68th birthday following dementia diagnosis
Bruce Willis has celebrated his 68th birthday with a song and a cake, surrounded by his family, after it was announced he had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) earlier this year.
A video shared by his ex-wife Demi Moore showed the Hollywood star singing happy birthday while surrounded by his daughters, Moore and his wife Emma Heming, before blowing out two candles on an apple pie.
Relatives of the Hollywood star said in March 2022 that he would be “stepping away” from his successful career after being diagnosed with aphasia, a condition affecting his cognitive abilities.
Moore, 60, wrote alongside the Instagram post: “Happy birthday, BW! So glad we could celebrate you today. Love you and love our family.
“Thank you to everyone for the love and warm wishes – we all feel them.”
Heming, 44, also shared an emotional post on Instagram, describing the feelings of “sadness” and “grief” she said she experienced as a caregiver to someone with dementia, adding: “I’m really feeling it today on his birthday.”
Becoming tearful as she ended the short video, she thanked fans for their support, saying: “As much as I do it for myself, I do it for you because I know how much you love my husband.”
Starring in more than 100 films over four decades, Willis has appeared in box office hits including Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys and The Sixth Sense, earning him fans worldwide.
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Hemming also shared a collection of videos and photos of Willis spending time with his family and playing with his children.
She captioned the post: “He is pure love. He is so loved. And I’ll be loving him always. Happy Birthday my sweet.
“My birthday wish for Bruce is that you continue to keep him in your prayers and highest vibrations because his sensitive Pisces soul will feel it.
“Thank you so much for loving and caring for him too.”
Willis has five daughters, sharing his three eldest – Rumer, Scout and Tallulah – with Moore whom he married in 1987, and his younger daughters Mabel and Evelyn with Hemming, who he married in 2009.
Willis and Moore separated in 2000, but remain on good terms.
Rumer marked her father’s birthday by posting the same video of everyone singing happy birthday and wrote: “Happy Birthday Daddio I love you to the moon. You are so cool.”
Scout captioned the video in her post: “Also though, today has been PROFOUNDLY JOYFULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL !!!!!! HAPPY BW’S BIRTHDAY TO ALL WHO CELEBRATE !!!!”
Tallulah shared a selection of photos of her father from throughout the years on her Instagram, writing: “Happy birthday to my numero uno Bruno !!
“Feeling awash with all the good energies and love headed this Willis way! I love him and he loves me – what a delight!”
FTD is a degenerative brain disorder characterized by deterioration of the frontal and/or temporal lobes, according to the Association of Frontotemporal Deterioration (AFTD).
They list symptoms including uncharacteristic personality changes, apathy, and unexplained struggles with decision-making, speaking or language comprehension are among the most common presenting symptoms.
There are currently no treatments for FTD.
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