On Monday, the famous socialite stopped by The Drew Barrymore Show to discuss her recent YouTube Originals documentary This Is Paris, in which she opened up about abuse she endured while at boarding school. Watching the film, the Charlie's Angels star revealed that she could directly relate to Hilton's pain.
"We've known each other throughout our kid life, adult life — I've known you for many years," she told the 39-year-old. "I feel like when it comes to an interviewer, maybe they haven't had the same experiences as you. So they're coming at it from more of a journalistic, interested but slightly removed, place. Well, not this time. I've been where you've been. And watching your documentary — I mean, I don't know how many interviews and conversations I'm going to have on this show where I'm watching a mirror image of everything I've been through, as well.
"So I want to talk to you and have you know that I've had the people come and take me away," she continued. "I've been locked up in solitary confinement, I've been in a place for lengthy periods of time — we're talking a year, a year and a half, plus. I haven't seen a kind of story like this really reflected out there very often that's one I recognize so deeply."
In her documentary, led by Emmy-winning director Alexandra Dean, Hilton recalls the frightening night she was ripped from her bed as if she was being kidnapped. In a move orchestrated by her parents, Kathy and Rick Hilton, the teenager was sent to Provo Canyon School in Utah, where she says she and her peers suffered physical and emotional abuse. She was regularly given mystery pills, and when she refused to take them, she says she was sent to solitary confinement without clothing, sometimes for 20 hours at a time.
The international DJ told Barrymore that exploring the trauma of her past was never intended to be the focus of the film, but the revelation happened naturally.
"I wanted to do a film to show the businesswoman I am, and all I've accomplished, because I feel like there are just so many misconceptions about me," she said. "And then during shooting, I just became so close with the director. We had this sisterly relationship where I felt like I could open up about anything with her. And she told me, 'This is so important, that you tell your story, because you're going to help other survivors and people will want to come forward with theirs.' It was very difficult for me, because it wasn't something I ever wanted to talk about in public.
"I was embarrassed for people to know," she admitted. "I now know that I shouldn't be ashamed, the people who work at these places who are abusing children are the ones who should be ashamed."
Although they both had experiences in institutions for minors with behavioral issues, the Scream actress, who battled alcoholism and drug addiction said the experience actually saved her life.
"I have to tell you, the people at my place were really good," she said. "I mean, I didn't like being thrown in solitary confinement. I will say that I was very rebellious. I started riots there all the time. There was a lot of other kids like me, and my mom just didn't know what to do with me. I was doing drugs. I was out of control. She just threw her hands up and threw me in there, not knowing where else to turn to. And that place really did help me and it did save my life, and I actually wouldn't change a thing."
Hilton, on the other hand, ended up with "trust issues and PTSD."
"I didn't deserve to go there," she said. "My mom and dad were just very strict and sheltered when I lived in L.A," she said. "I wasn't allowed to go on dates, couldn't wear makeup, couldn't go to a school dance. They just didn't want me to grow up. Then I moved to New York and that's when my life changed and I just was sneaking out at night and going to clubs and ditching school, but not doing anything terrible — just wanting to go out at night, and that really scared my parents, because they were so protective."
Hilton said before making the film, she had never spoke to her parents about the abuse. While her father does not appear in the doc, her mother is captured in serval scenes coming to terms with what her daughter went through.
"I have a host of issues with my mom, many of which I let go of somewhere around 40. What is the status of your relationship with Kathy right now?," the mom-of-two said.
"We're closer than ever," said the famous blonde. "It's something that we just never talked about, so it was very hard for her to hear, but I think just talking about it just brought us even closer than we were."