Family forever! Paris Hilton said she and mom Kathy Hilton are “so much closer now,” decades after her alleged abuse at the Provo Canyon School.
“You know, that was something that was traumatizing to have went through and something that has been such a painful subject for us both to talk about,” the Confessions of an Heiress author, 40, said in her Friday, February 11, interview with Tamron Hall.
“So, I’m just so grateful to have been able to finally speak to her about it and have her watch my documentary and understand what I went through,” she said. “And to just hear her say ‘sorry’ for the first time meant the world to me because it’s been something I’d been waiting for, for a very long time.”
In her This Is Paris documentary, which premiered in September 2020, the House of Wax actress alleged that she was physically and verbally abused while attending the residential treatment center in Provo Canyon, Utah, when she was 17 years old. Paris attended the school for 11 months and was released in 1999. Toward the end of the film, she allowed her former peers to speak about their alleged experiences to spread awareness.
“It just makes me happy that I have been brave to tell my story and open up the door for other people to feel comfortable to say what they went through so the more awareness that is raised, the better,” Paris added. “I’m just so proud that now, because of this, we passed seven state laws so that everything that happened to myself would be illegal, and now we’re taking it to a federal level and hoping to pass legislation this year on that.”
The interview comes just one month after Kathy, 62, opened up about her decision to send Paris to PCS in a January 6 interview on SiriusXM.
“It really was so devastating, the way I was told [about Paris’ experience],” the Kathy Hilton Collection designer said. “To keep that in for 20 years … and I said to her, finally, like a few weeks ago, I said ‘I’m still not ready to watch [the documentary].’”
However, Kathy said she and her daughter eventually watched the film together. “We held hands for an hour watching this thing,” she recalled. “Just the energy that I was feeling from her and how relieved and happy that she was that I would watch it.”
The socialite then explained why she and her husband, Richard Hilton, decided to send the disco jockey to the residential school.
“I mean, a lot of people understood that we were trying to help our daughter,” Kathy noted. “You know, we were trying to save Paris, not that, like, strict … We were worried. She was living in New York, she was sneaking out and, sometimes, didn’t come back home for three days, not going to school. So, we put her in this boarding school, this one, this one. I thought, ‘We gotta keep her away from the city and all these predators and people wanted her to model.’”
Provo Canyon School provided a statement to People in August 2020 regarding the allegations: “Originally opened in 1971, Provo Canyon School was sold by its previous ownership in August 2000. We therefore cannot comment on the operations or patient experience prior to this time.”
Despite the previous rift between the mother-daughter, the two have developed a solid relationship over the years, as Kathy supported Paris at her wedding with husband Carter Reum, whom she wed in November 2021. Kathy even joked about her new son-in-law in a January 24 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“She goes, ‘Mommy, he means well,’” Kathy recalled her daughter saying during their wedding preparation. “But [Carter] was offending me. He was calling the cake place. He was calling the band. He was calling the party planner, the hotels, everything. I said, ‘This is not normal.’ He even picked out the invitation and the save the date cards.”