In the wake of the recent #FreeBritney movement, the media has been reexamining its treatment of other famous young women who dealt with the scrutiny of the public and the tabloids in the early ‘00s—including socialites Paris Hilton and her sister Nicky Hilton-Rothschild.
Kathy Hilton is currently on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and during a Tuesday interview on the SiriusXM podcast Lunch with Bruce, Hilton talked about the difficulties of navigating her daughters Paris and Nicky’s fame when they were still kids.
“I was actually worried about Paris for a good while. She was sneaking out and she’d go missing and I wouldn’t be able to find her,” the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, 62, said. “Let’s put it this way — it got very out of control and I was scared for her. And my husband was very scared for her. And, you know, those nightclubs go on all night.”
“It was very scary. I mean, let’s just put it this way — there was times I did not sleep. How about for two days not knowing where your daughter is, and once hearing blood-curdling screaming, and then the phone hangs up,” Kathy continued. “I mean, there’s a lot of stuff people don’t know. And I did get some flack. Well, trust me. I did what I had to do.”
It seems possible that Kathy Hilton is referencing her decision to send her teenage daughter to a Utah boarding school for “troubled youth” that Paris recently accused of subjecting her to verbal, mental, and physical abuse. However, Paris has been clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the harmful treatment she experienced, which she says the school wouldn’t let her tell her parents about.
“They just thought it was a normal boarding school,” Paris told Hollywood Life at the time of her documentary’s premiere in 2020. “I think a lot of parents just have no idea what’s happening at these places, but there’s serious abuse that’s happening.”
When it came to Paris’s clubbing in New York City as a young socialite, Kathy says that she actually came to rely on the tabloids to find her daughter.
“Everybody knew everything. Everybody knew where we were. I used to call the city desk at the New York Post. I would call the city desk and say at one in the morning, ‘Excuse me, hi, it’s Kathy Hilton. Uh, do you by any chance know Paris, where she is right now?’” she recalled. “Usually, they’d be able to track exactly. ‘She was seen at 11:47 [p.m.] or 12:43 [a.m.] at O Bar or this [spot].’”
“I mean, this is the way I lived. My husband [Rick Hilton] had to get up and work in the morning. So eventually he’d go to sleep,” she added. “But I was up waiting all night.”
After all, even wealthy people likely don’t expect their daughters to become teenage socialites who are stalked by paparazzi and regularly written about in Vanity Fair.
“We moved to New York and I didn’t realize what would happen. And all of a sudden, I think with two girls, attractive with a very famous last name, people just started to, [journalists like] Graydon Carter, [would write] 12 pages [on them].”
She continued, “And you know, that was all done behind my back. So I was very angry.”
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