Join 100 plus to listen to even the rich ad free in the laundry app, download the Wonder app in your Apple or Google Play mobile app store today. Heads up. We might use some punchy language here and there. You mean like salty? Yeah, I'm just getting so tired of saying that.
It's June 3rd, 2007, Paris Hilton is decked out to the nines in NSW, cocktail dress and black high heeled Louboutins.
Basically her outfit costs more than my rent, but it's worth it. Tonight is the MTV Movie Awards. When she steps onto the red carpet, she spins around and smiles at an enigmatic smile. Photographers snap away. Paris, look over here. Beautiful Paris. The paps love Paris and she loves them normally. But tonight she's doing her best to fake it. She makes her way down the press line with a smile on her face, hoping that the press doesn't ask her about the incident.
One incident, well, we'll get into it more later. But the Cliff Notes version is she was pulled over for driving on a suspended license and the judge decides to make an example of her. He says he's giving her 45 days in the clink. He calls it the clink. I mean, in the movie version, he does OK.
I mean, I don't know what he actually says, but you'll have 45 days behind bars to think about the error of her ways. She needs to report in two days and where better to spend her last days of freedom than the MTV Movie Awards hobnobbing with celebs like Cameron Diaz and Jessica Alba. She just wants to have fun and forget the whole thing for a few hours. Maybe the press will forget to accept. That's not how the press works and she knows it, so she's going to face it head on.
How are you doing? I'm trying to be strong right now. I'm definitely scared, but I'm ready to face my sentence.
OK, she sounded totally in control. Yeah, total pro. But inside, I'm sure Paris is breathing a sigh of relief. At least that's over. And now she can just settle into her seat next to the stage, relax and enjoy the show. Sarah Silverman is the host. Tonight she takes the stage and begins her opening monologue to wind up the crowd.
Paris Hilton is going to jail. I heard that to make her feel like more comfortable in prison, the guards are going to paint the bars to look like penises, I just worry that she's going to break her teeth on those things.
Oh, that's harsh. Way harsh. It's totally a cheap shot at someone who is in a super vulnerable place. But the crowd finds it hilarious. I mean, like, really hilarious. You know, who wasn't laughing? Paris, all 6000 plus eyes are on her. And that's not including the ones watching from their living room. When the camera finds her, she's just sitting there with this uncomfortable look on her face like the cameras caught her in one of those fight or flight moments.
And for a split second, it even looks like she might cry.
But then she pulls it together and shifts in her chair and her face is a mask again, like, take your cheap shots. You can't hurt me. OK, well, I'm hurt for her. Yeah. I mean, of course it hurts. She's the butt of a joke again, but she's tough. She sits through the entire show like everything is fine. After the show, everyone heads off to after parties and the paparazzi follow. Paris tells them she's going to.
But it's a ruse. She's not going to any parties. She's going to the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood to start her sentence early. And she wasn't lying to the reporter. She's scared. The last time she was locked up and alone was at the Provo school. And forty five days is a long time to ponder how she went from a successful reality star with a brand on the rise to a prisoner yet again. This episode is brought to you by CarMax, learn more about the new love your car guarantee from CarMax at CarMax Dotcom finding the right car takes time.
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When Detective Julissa Trappe learns that a recent murder is linked to three other missing women. She's determined to solve the case. Listen, as the L.A. Times follows her down a dark path to a man who, as she puts it, took a little piece of her soul. Detective Trappe is now available ad free by joining Wendouree plus one dree feel this story. From London, I'm Erica Skidmore Williams, and I'm Brooke Saffron, and this is Even The Rich.
In our last episode, Paris Hilton got her heart broken, overcame a sex tape scandal and shot to fame with her hit show, The Simple Life. She embraced her persona as a spoiled airhead and found her niche as a brand.
But it turns out some of the choices she's made, well, they might just come back to bite her in the ass. This is Episode three, Prison in Pink.
OK, so let's rewind a little bit, three years before Paris is sentenced to the slammer. Oh, my God, would you stop with a prison jargon? It's not possible. I'm sorry. Anyway, it's 2004 and Paris is on fire. She's just shown the business world what she can do for a brand. When she put on a juicy tracksuit, she basically kicked off a worldwide trend. Clearly, her image and fashion sells. Now she wants to cash in, but where to start?
Well, Paris Hilton loves perfume.
It goes all the way back to when she was a little girl. She and Nicky would sneak into little Cathy's room and stare at all the beautiful bottles of perfume neatly lined up in a row and spray them all over the place.
Now that Paris has grown up, she's taking her inspiration from her great aunt.
Once removed Elizabeth Taylor, Paris is related to Elizabeth Taylor, just barely. Elizabeth Taylor married her great uncle, Nicky. Liz started a huge perfume line. She was one of the first out there branding her personality. And Paris wants to follow in her footsteps. So she calls her manager at the firm, Jason Moore. Jason's like, brilliant idea. All the celebs are doing it. Britney Spears, Beyonce, Jessica Simpson. So Jason gets on the horn to try and find someone who sees the potential in Paris and who doesn't mind her being associated with a sex tape and they land on.
Carlos Paleckis makes fragrances for guests in Paris and they're thrilled to add Paris to the mix. Fragrance sales are down and Paris is hot. Her perfume comes on in December. The bottle is pink with these wavy black lines. The scent is fruity and sweet with top notes of melon, apple and peach.
They call it Paris Hilton. OK, no lie. That is one of my favorite perfumes to this day. Well, you're not alone. The perfume flies off the shelves. Parleys profits shoot up forty percent.
It's just the beginning of what will become a hugely lucrative business for Paris in 2004. She just knows she's on to something the Paris brand sells.
It's a good year for Paris. She writes her first book and calls it Confessions of an Heiress. It's this kind of tongue in cheek look at Paris, the character, although it's kind of hard to tell where she's serious and where she's not. She's got all these lists with her favorite hair products and designers and clothes. It's peppered in between advice for girls, including gems like always act like you're wearing an invisible crown or wear a real one. Armed, solid advice.
And her work ethic is insane when it comes to promoting it.
Her publisher says she has a publicity lineup that even the most sophisticated, road hardened author would have been intimidated by. She basically starts at 6:00 in the morning on talk shows and goes late into the night signing books, doing interviews and late night events. And she looks good the whole time. As for the reception, it's lukewarm. It hits number seven on the New York Times bestseller list. But most of the reader reviews are tepid at best. One writes, If you want to dislike Paris even more, read this.
Others call her shallow, clueless and boring.
OK, Paris is a lot of things, but she has a not boring. I read. I didn't write that. I agree. But what does Paris care? She's writing hi. Her show is on fire too, if you remember. Thirteen million people watched the premiere of The Simple Life. And just for context, the most watched episode of the Kardashians got just four point eight million viewers. Fox adds a few more episodes to the first season and then they order a second.
Meanwhile, Paris trademarks her phrase, that's hot for simple life season two. The producers have a new gimmick. Well, it's actually the same old gimmick. Fish out of water. Rich girls visit normal people and comedy ensues. But this time they're taking their show on the road in an Airstream trailer. But they still don't have any jobs. So they always have to figure out a way to earn money, which is the funny part. Like one episode, they get jobs as maids at a nudist colony.
Oh my God, I remember that episode. They also beat crawfish traps in Louisiana and work at a dude ranch. But what makes it all work is their chemistry in real life. They're BFX literally. They've known each other since they were little girls. The ratings are great and the show gets nominated for all sorts of awards and pretty soon they're rolling into season three. Meanwhile, Paris is blowing up.
In 2005, she lands a Carl's junior commercial, which runs in the coveted Super Bowl ads lot. It's a pretty big deal considering no one was going to touch her after the sex tape fiasco. And add to that, this is a big bucks campaign with a huge director.
It's what they call a high concept ad, or maybe they were high when they came up with it because it's basically Paris just washing a car. I mean, it's about at least it's an ultra luxe car, but still she's just washing a car. She wears this black cutout bathing suit with these strappy heels and makes all kinds of sexy poses while she's sponges the car down. I'm not even sure what it has to do with food, but it works because the spicy barbecue, six dollar burger sells millions.
Apparently sex sells. It really does. But they do get a lot of shit for it. People threatened to boycott them for objectifying women. The CEO doesn't back down. He says, I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. It's very American.
Yeah, it's American in the worst way possible, you know, but it's basically rating Paris.
Her brand is finally getting off the ground. But when your star is rising, there's always someone waiting in the wings hoping you'll fall.
So basically the plot of every dance movie. Yup. And for Paris, it all begins on February 5th, 2005. It's Saturday night, and Paris is making another appearance on SNL to promote the simple life, and this time she's the host. She's come a long way since her last appearance a little over a year ago. Back then, she sat backstage, her stomach in knots, worried that everyone was talking about her and that sex tape. But tonight, when she found out on stage, she's excited.
Thank you. Welcome to SNL Super Bowl party. She wears a light blue dress and big curls and has her accessory dog, Tinkerbell, under her arm every time this week.
It's been very exciting to do live TV because there are no tapes whatsoever involved. And that makes me very happy.
OK, she's owning that sex tape. Yeah, total callback. She also does this bit where she plays a hot phone sex operator catering to nerds. Her fellow sex workers are Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Those are some heavy hitters. Yeah, but Paris is a pretty good job holding her own. Listen to this.
Hey, boys, feeling lonely tonight? I want to chat with some of the most beautiful women in the world. SNL is hard.
It's live. If you screw up, everyone sees it. So Paris has a lot on the line, especially considering people seem to root for her to screw up so they can gleefully laugh about it the next day. But she really is good. The audience loves her.
I hope I don't find any politics here. Are you a dollar baby? Do you want to exterminate me? Called today. It's like a pinnacle moment. The hard stuff is behind her. It's full steam ahead. And then she gets back to L.A. and one thing after the next goes wrong. First she and Nicole stop talking. No one's really sure what happened, but there are rumors and one of them goes like this. While Paris is recording SNL, Nicole is back in L.A. stewing with jealousy about her simple life co-star is getting more attention.
So she invites a bunch of friends over and tells them they're going to watch Paris on SNL. And then she pulls a switcheroo and shows Paris's sex tape instead. Yikes. Yeah, this was in People magazine, but Nicole's friends deny it. They say she's pulling away from Paris to spend more time with her fiancee. But the timing is a little weird. Paris doesn't say anything about it for two months. And then in April, she says it's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends.
Nicole knows what she did, and that's all I'm ever going to say about it. And true to her word, that is all she'll ever say about it.
Meanwhile, Nicole continues to deny the viewing party story. When asked a year later on The Today show, she'll just say she and Paris grew apart. Orisha, promise me, will never grow apart. OK, but only if you invite me to your viewing party of my sex tape, OK? I mean, it is sad, though. Whatever happened, it seemed like the end of their 22 year friendship and the simple life just got a lot more complicated then toward the end of February.
Paris is T-Mobile sidekick attacked and all of the contents are posted on the Drudge Report, including her photos. The photos aren't that bad in the scheme of things. I mean, I guess the most compromising is one of her topless kissing MTV veejay Eglantine posing for a photo shoot. Pretty tame stuff. But what is bad is that the Drudge Report also prints the names and phone numbers of all of Paris's famous friends. Oh, no.
Celebs like Lindsay Lohan, Snoop Dogg and Eminem. Having your privacy hacked sucks for anyone, but Paris takes it especially hard. She says she feels horrible that once again someone has invaded her privacy. She even apologizes to her friends and family like it's her fault or something. About the only one who makes out in the end is T-Mobile. It's like a free commercial and sales of the sidekicks. Oh, my God. Paris really can sell anything.
Yeah, I mean, you'd think hearing a phone is hackable would mean you don't buy it, but apparently that's not the case.
Wow. But now Paris has another problem. The simple life has been given the green light for season four and the whole show rides on the chemistry between her and Nicole. How can she fake it when there's bad blood between them? But maybe there's a way to save the show and give it a fresh spin all at the same time. It's April 13th, 2005, and Paris is attending the young, hot Hollywood style awards.
They'll make an awards show for anything truly at this event. Paris has a totally new style, a green satin Bill Blass dress and her blonde hair has been dyed brown. Or maybe it's a wig. I don't know. But what's important here is that she has a new BFF at her side. Kimberly Stewart, a.k.a. Rod Stewart's daughter, Kim and Paris have been friends since they were six. And Paris tells USA Today that Kimberly is going to replace Nicole on the simple life.
Wait, didn't Paris call her originally? And then she turned it down? Yeah, but now that she sees what's involved, she's totally down. Well, when the reporter asked Paris what happened to Nicole, she says she's engaged and doesn't have time. Then she says, it's my show. I've had it three seasons and I just want to freshen it up, make it newer and funnier. And she tells the paper, instead of going to Mexico, like the original Season four plan, they're going to Maui.
The public is surprised when they get the news, but not as surprised as Fox. They didn't approve Kimberly Stewart and they haven't signed off on sending Paris to Hawaii. In fact, they have both Paris and Nicole locked into two more seasons with signed contracts. So Fox tries to do some damage control and issues. A statement saying that changes Paris teed up are not happening. They say, quote, Breaking up those two would be like breaking up Lucy and Ethel.
And then they say Nicole and Paris are TV professionals who will be ready to work together when the time comes for Fox, Paris and Nicole are ratings gold and they don't want to lose them. But now Nicole wants her own show, too, with her fiancee. It's a complete mess, a real life cliffhanger. Will the show go on? And if it does, what will it look like?
In the meantime, it looks like Paris has more time on her hands, which is good because she has a new boyfriend who just happens to be one of the richest men in the world and she thinks he's the one. We get support from bright colors, Bright Sellers is the wine subscription service that helps you find wines you love without the normal intimidation and wine pretentiousness you're used to. Oh, yes. Oh, my gosh. If you've ever been intimidated by wine menus or wine shelves at the grocery store like me, Bridezillas has your back and they're going to give you 50 percent off your first order.
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Just go to perfect snacks. Dotcom rich. That's perfect snacks. Dotcom rich today to get 15 percent off your order. Perfect snacks, dotcom rich. La, la, la, la, la. Brooke, do you like to ski? Not at all, but I love snow. OK, so I'm guessing you've never skied gatot in Switzerland. It's where the really rich ski well, like cross-country skiing, one time in gym class. And it was on a football field.
OK, so it's Christmas 2004 and Paris is off on a ski holiday when she meets a guy. His name is Paris, Paris and Paris.
Secret Santa must be really confusing. I know, right? His last name is Latsis, so let's just call him that so we don't confuse Santa. OK, Latsis is five foot eight, dark and kind of boyish looking. He's the heir to a shipping fortune. His family is worth seven point four billion, which makes them the fifty fourth richest family in the world, according to Forbes. In 2004, the two met in Monaco 10 years earlier when they were just innocent kids.
Now they're young adults in the Swiss Alps. They carve through the powder, glide over ice moguls and drink hot cocoa and marshmallows by the fire. And pretty soon love is in the air.
Paris hasn't had it easy in the relationship department. First there was Rick Solomon, who we've already given away too much airtime to. And after him, she hooks up with a model named Jason Shaw. Jason's eight years older and he's actually really nice.
They even get engaged, but then it falls apart. Her sister Nicky will later say she had a hard time letting people in.
She basically has your run of the mill trust issues. Oh, shocker.
After Rick Solomon, why wouldn't she trust anyone? Right. And then the next boyfriend.
Well, let's just say he's a close runner up to Solomon and the bad boy department. You want to guess who it is? Oh, I know who it is. Bad boy. Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys.
Ding, ding, ding. She meets Nick in 2003 when he's apparently at the height of his bad period. He's got a thing for drinks and drugs, mostly ecstasy and coke. But some nights he'll drink an entire bottle of vodka all by himself. I don't get me wrong. Paris was a party or two. She liked going out to clubs and having fun, which was like adding fuel to the fire.
Every other picture I found, they're partying somewhere fabulous. A club in the Bahamas, a club in New York, a club in London. In fact, in London. She even gets a tattoo with his name on her derriere. OK, I guess she's committed nothing says forever like an ass tat. Well, in this case, forever is three more weeks. They call it quits in July.
There's rumors Nick cheated on her with Ashlee Simpson, which he said he did to get back at her for cheating on him with Chad, Michael Murray. Whatever happened, it was a toxic relationship and now it's done. Paris just wants to throw back up her walls and move on.
But then Nick comes out with a book where he blames Paris for everything he writes.
And I quote, She awoke in me the worst instincts. All of this could have ended in tragedy for me. Oh, poor little thing. God, even the rich play the victim. I know. So what about the tattoo?
So she turns to laser tattoo removal and never gets inked again.
Ouch. That must really sting a Fernet.
Carter Totally. Nick Carter may not have been the right guy for her. Let's be real. A boy band member waning in popularity was never going to take Paris off the market for long.
But it still hurts. It always hurts. Paris will say that she dives into love headfirst. She says she just wants to be normal. She wants to be happy. But how is that possible? She's never been normal and she doesn't really know what happiness is supposed to look like. So she pretends she'll later say she was just acting the way she thought happy people did. That's how badly she wanted love. But then five months later, she gets her chance when she meets Paris Latsis on the slopes.
Oh, yeah, I forgot we were in Switzerland.
The two have a blast together. Latsis is honest and loyal. He makes her feel safe. She says every day I'm like, this is not real. I thought I was just going to settle and end up with some jackass while it was pretty touch and go there for a while. It really was. But now Paris has finally found the one and he feels the exact same way. On May 25th, 2005, five months after they meet, Latsis gets down on one knee and offers her a choice of 15 different rings.
Only fifteen at least.
That's the rumor. Paris picks a wildly expensive twenty four carat diamond rock with more jewels on the side. But then she has second thoughts and she says, My four point seven million dollar rock is like making my hand tired. Oh, the travesty. How will she survive? Yeah, so he gets her another one for when her hand is tired.
I'm not kidding. Wow. Truelove It really is. But before they get married, there's just one little piece of business they need to get out of the way. They have to get the in-laws together.
It's July of 2005 and Paris Hilton stands at the bow of a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. But this isn't just any old yacht as if there were such a thing. This is the Paris, one of the many that the Latsis family owns. It has a Jacuzzi and kitchen staff and security guards. And it's more of a private Greek island.
But Paris isn't alone. She's there with her parents, Rick and Kathy, and our beloved fiancee, Latsis.
They're all here to meet his parents.
Marianna, Niko's for lunch, there are very conservative, very rich and very low key Greek Orthodox family who don't read the American tabloids, they barely even know who the Hilton family is, though. Mariana and her husband did meet Paris once in L.A. and it didn't go great when they tried to make small talk with Paris.
It was like they were from two different worlds. Paris would later tell friends. They asked me lots of questions about culture and stuff that no one my age could be expected to know. But maybe Paris can make up for it now. They're all going to be a family soon. And Paris figures the parents will have a lot in common. They fly private. They live in a mansion and ski, and that's that. They also both have kids named Paris.
Yeah, they're basically the same people right now. She just has to wait for them to arrive.
But lunch comes and goes and still no parents. I imagine Paris is picking out a stuffed grape leaf dejectedly, maybe tapping it on the table impatiently. Oh, I love that image. And then suddenly her fiancee announces they are not coming.
Apparently, the local papers have been reporting on Paris's past and her antics. And the Latsis don't like it.
They're private people, so they slip off the nearby island and sail away.
Later, Mariana will tell a Greek magazine that, quote, She is in no mood to make the young woman her daughter in law when anyone can see her in an erotic entanglement by visiting the neighborhood video club. Oh, my God. Not the damn sex tape again. Yep. Neither the Hiltons nor the Latsis talk about the fiasco, but it's widely rumored that's how it went down. And two months later, the engagement is off. Maybe because Latsis doesn't want to marry without his parent's approval.
Or maybe Paris was furious that Latsis didn't stand up for her.
But it's done for Paris. It's got to feel like a punch in the gut. She opened her heart and it's crushed again. She issued a statement saying, We remain best friends and I'll always love him. Latsis issues his own statement saying Right now is a very tough time for me. I love Paris very much. This was the best experience of my life. OK, that sounds like somebody who just went skydiving, not lost the love of his life.
You know, for Paris, it's another reason to put up her walls. And the crazy thing is the rest of her life is blowing up. Her business is literally soaring out of the stratosphere. By 2005, she has a clothing line, jewelry and handbags, plus her perfume line, which is flying off the shelf this year. Her scent is called just me. Paris's business is herself and people are buying. She charges up to two hundred grand for a twenty minute appearance at parties, save for clubs.
She tells a reporter, if it's in Japan, I get more. She earns almost seven mil in a single year. And now the simple life is about to start shooting again with new BFF Kimberly Stewart, at least in her mind. And there will be new adventures and more new fans. All the pain is behind her the sex tape, the bad relationships, her broken friendship with Nicole. But then on October 5th, Fox pulls the plug and cancels the show.
They meant what they said. If Nicole and Paris aren't in it together, it's over. Paris gamble backfired. Yeah, I imagine Paris waking up to the news and blinking her big blue contact eyes and being like, what the hell? It's got to be a wake up call. She may be in control of her brand, but she has no control over the rest of the world, especially the world. She wants to be in TV and film.
Maybe she's not as big as she thought, but then six weeks later, she offers to pick it up. They have just one condition.
Both Nicole and Paris have to agree to be on the show in 2005.
It is just a small cable network, mostly celeb news and gossip. They're just dipping their toes into the reality world with girls next door, a show about the Playboy Mansion.
But what choice does Paris have? She wants her show to keep going, and she has faith in her fans. She knows they'll follow her wherever she lands. But there's still that one little problem or huge problem. Nicole and Paris aren't talking, and Paris doesn't particularly want to talk to Nicole either. And the feeling is mutual. So what would you do if you were E and really wanted to do the show?
Hmm. I don't know. Maybe they can, like, shoot on a green screen and superimpose one of them. All right.
George Lucas, their plan is actually crazier than that, if you can believe it.
Ready for this concept shoot.
So it doesn't really have the money. Fox does. It's too expensive to shoot on location and put everyone up. So Season four will take place in L.A. and they're going to take advantage of two rich girls in their native habitat. They get to keep their cell phones and their credit cards. But here's the twist. In each episode, they're going to play wife to one family, both of them the same family. Yup, same family, but a different one.
Each week they'll shoot on different days and take turns being mom to the kids. At the end of each episode, the family decides which girl is the better wife, so is pitting them against each other totally. They want to build out the whole series around their real life feud and call it TIL Death Do US part.
That's kind of genius. Paris is like, fine. Works for me as long as I don't have to talk to Nicole. Where do I sign? But she's like, not so fast. Just one tiny little thing you and Nicole will have to film together in the finale episode. And Paris agrees.
The Simple Life Season four begins production in Los Angeles in February 2006. And I got to say, some of the episode plots are kind of funny. And one, each girl is supposed to take the family on a camping trip. Paris takes them to the Hilton Hotel and hires bear cubs to make it look like camping. And then the day comes to shoot the final episode.
Paris and Nicole will be reunited in the same room for the first time since who knows when the episode is called the confrontation. The plot is hilarious. Basically, Paris sends a lookalike to do her job because she's tired.
So Nicole spends the day with this elderly couple in the look alike. But to get back at her, Nicole calls a reporter and spins a bullshit story that Paris had a fling with Marc Anthony and is now pregnant with his baby.
Then Paris gets pissed and races over wearing a blue maxi dress and matching facial. And finally, the two are together.
Paris says, how could you do this to me? And Nicole says, How can you wear blue fur?
Nicole is funny. She is. And Paris is great at playing the straight man. No matter how much they hate each other, they have great chemistry. Then Paris glares and Nicole and says, this has got to stop.
We have to talk. Nicole glares back. So talk. And then it cuts out to be continued next season. Oh, a cliffhanger, I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Well, I can tell you how the viewers feel. They feel cheated. They actually feel that way about all of season four. It gets only one point three million viewers compared to the debut of 13 million.
So like a 90 percent drop. Yeah, pretty grim. Basically, the show is missing the special sauce that made it a hit in the first place. It's missing their friendship. Pair shrugs it off and tells herself it'll all be fine. She's got other stuff in the works that she's sure her fans will love.
Paris is ready to take on the world of music with an album she's known as someone who's famous for being famous, but she wants to show everyone she has more to offer another side to who she is. She loves music and she's always wanted to sing. She's been playing the piano and violin since she was six. She started putting together a team to help her back in 2003. She handpicked producers, which of course are the best because everyone wants to work with her.
She records and rerecord songs. She even write songs of her own. On a press junket, she explains why she wanted to do an album now.
I think people think that that's really how I am. On some level, it's not. So I think with this record people that I am a lot different than what they may think.
This album is more authentically Paris than anything she's ever done before. It's part reggae fusion, part electropop. It's an eclectic mix of sounds. A few tracks even have a hip hop influence.
On June 5th, 2006, the first song drops. It's called Stars Are Blind. It's catchy and playful. Or as one critic puts it, it's like a tropical escape from Paris tabloid headline persona. Is that good? While she's up to number 18 on the Billboard charts and is one of the highest debuting singles of the year, and Paris is finally feeling the love again, her fans are still with her and it goes a teeny, tiny bit to her head.
Before the album drops, Paris tells an interviewer that she sees herself as an icon, just like Madonna of old claim. Yeah, kind of a secret philosophy. Visualize it and it happens.
Except it doesn't. The album lands in the charts at number six, which is good, but it only sells 77000 copies in the first week, which is far less than expected. Or, as one paper puts it, Paris album sales only sort of hot.
The reviews are mixed, too. One guy says it's a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought. Another one is a little bit nicer. He calls it a flash in the pan, a fluke, but an incredible one. But most people basically relegated to the dustbin category, a vanity project.
It's not the best reception for sure, but it's about to get a whole lot worse. In fact, Paris is about to have a very bad week. Get a fresh start toward the future you want with the credentials you need, earn a degree or certificate online from University of Maryland global campus 20 years ago, they were one of the first universities to offer classes online.
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La, la, la, la, la. Paris thought her album was going to go straight to number one, but it feels like people are barely paying attention while most people one person is paying very close attention. Banksy, Banksy, the street artist. I love that guy. He apparently does not feel the same way about Paris before the album even hits the shelves. He decides it's going to be the subject of his next big project. He's going to rip celebrity culture, a new one.
And the morning of the album launch, he's ready. He goes to record shops up and down England. And when the shop clerks aren't looking, he swaps Paris's album with his own alternative version with tracks produced by the Danger Mouse. It's a meticulous spoof down to the sticker on the album cover, naming the featured tracks. But on this version, the tracks are Why am I famous?
What have I done? And most tragically, what am I for?
The first track is basically a 14 minute loop of Paris saying that's hat over house music. Once in a while. She'll also say, my boobs look good in this. Paris worked her ass off on this album, and with just one stunt, Banksy turns three years of hard work into a total joke.
To him, Paris must be devastated. I'm sure she is.
And her life is about to get a whole lot worse. It's September 7th, 2006, Paris is zipping down sunset, driving her Mercedes SLR McLaren, she and Kimberly Stewart just left a charity event hosted by Dave Navarro and their hungry guests. Those bite sized hot dogs didn't do the trick. They never do. The Mercedes, by the way, is a five hundred thousand dollar car. It has those wing doors, you know, like the Batmobile, which means you see it coming on the road.
So it's no surprise when just after midnight, it catches a policeman's eye.
Paris's heart drops as she sees the police cars, lights flashing right behind her.
She slows to a stop. She watches the officer get out of his car and slowly approach.
He motions for Paris to roll down her window and she puts on her most winning smile. He's not having it. He tells her she was driving a little fast and reckless and erratically.
Paris is like, I'm so sorry, officer. I'll be more careful. He's like, Ma'am, I'll need you to take a breathalyzer. And at that point, she's screwed. She blows a point 08, which is the lowest limit of what qualifies for a DUI in California. She scrambles to explain.
She tells the officer she was at a charity event hosted by Dave Navarro and only had one margarita, just one. She says it must have gone right to my head because I'm so tired. I've been working crazy hours on my music video and I haven't eaten anything. That's exactly why I carb load every time I'm about to leave the house. Yeah, that's just common sense. Paris keeps talking. She says she's on her way to in and out right now to get some food, so she'll just be on her way.
Thanks, officer. The officer is like, not so fast before she knows it. She's in handcuffs and on her way to the station to be booked for driving under the influence. I'm sure she's scared shitless, but she has people to handle these things, like super expensive lawyers. And they do. She just has to pay a fifteen hundred dollar fine and go to an alcohol education class. She's also put on probation for three years and her driver's license is suspended for four months.
And still, that's not the end of her.
No good, very bad week. A couple of days later, Paris is sitting in the back of a limousine an hour north of London, heading to a birthday party for Richard Branson's son, Sam. Sam is five years younger than Paris, but he's also one of Britain's most eligible bachelors. So Paris jumped at the chance bonus points for the fact that the party has a Kinki Mad Hatter theme. And when Paris asked Sam if she can come as Alice, Sam says yes.
So Paris is almost like a guest of honor. So the limo pulls up at Servitors Estate. The party is already in full swing. Prince William is there with Kate Middleton. Princess Beatrice and Eugenie are there. You've even got Prince Harry who are royalty extravaganza. I'd be so nervous, but it's Paris, so she's probably fine. No, you're right. She's nervous, but she tries to look confident when she steps out of the limo. I mean, she's looking pretty good as Alice and then she heads under one of the circus tents placing the lawn, and that's where she spots another woman dresses Alice.
She's weaving through the crowd carrying a tray of sushi. Then another Alice breezes past carrying a tray of champagne. Every server at the party is dressed as Alice. Oh, God. But Paris doesn't let it Fazer. She keeps a smile on her face and walks up to Richard Branson, ready to tell him how amazing the party is. But Branson pretends he doesn't recognize her. Instead, he hands out an empty glass and asks for a refill. Paris freezes.
Then everyone laughs at her. They're all in on it. Oh my God. Branson went full middle school on her. That's kind of mean. Yeah.
Supposedly when Sam told his father that Paris was planning to come to the party, is Alice Branson secretly ordered the same costume for all 60 of his staff. But of course, Paris's people deny she was ever there.
I would have my people do the same. Paris has been on the butt of jokes before, but the cream of British society laughing in her face, that's really got to hurt. I hate this. I know. And it's still not the end of her. Terrible, horrible, very bad week.
When Paris gets back to the States, she decides to go out for a night on the town, a VIP spot in New York called the Rose Bar in the Gramercy Park Hotel. It's where the city's movers and shakers go when Paris pulls up. Winona Ryder and Orlando Bloom are already inside partying, but the bouncer takes one look at Paris and says, nope, Paris has got to be like, I'm sorry, do you know who I am? But the bouncer knows exactly who she is.
That's the problem. Word came down from the very top owner, Ian Schrager, that Paris shouldn't be allowed past the velvet rope. His exact quote is, The likes of Paris Hilton and her ilk are not welcome here. Damn, yeah.
He insists it's not personal. He just wants the place to feel, you know, exclusive, really? Because it feels personal. Yeah, it's got to sting. Here's the thing about Paris. She's wildly successful by anyone standards. She's more famous than she's ever been, but she's the only one who thinks she deserves it. The public, for the most part, hates her.
It's like the dumb entitled heiress act is starting to backfire. The public is still fascinated by everything she does, but now it's like they're all rooting for her to fail. Understandably, Paris doesn't wear it well. She starts acting out and lashing back at everyone who mistreats her, like her very public feud with Lindsay Lohan. Oh, let's do Lindsay for a future episode. Yes, Paris the heiress. Big Kathy's granddaughter never backs down. Instead, she doubles down.
Who the hell cares? She thinks she's already made a ton of money. Her perfumes are still wildly successful. Who is anyone to tell her who she should be? They don't know the real Paris and they never have. Why should she care what they think?
And that's how she finds herself speeding along Sunset Boulevard on a suspended license. It's 11:00 p.m. on February 28th, 2007, and she's on her way home from Virgin Megastore. This time, she's in a Bentley. She steps on the gas, turns up the music and yawns when all of a sudden it's the police.
When they pull her over, they tell her that her headlights aren't on. She's like, oh, I had no idea. I just pulled out of a brightly lit parking lot. They say you were speeding, too. Then the officer runs her driver's license. It's suspended. She tells him she's allowed to drive to and from work. But then he finds a letter from the court in her glove box that spells out the terms of Paris's suspension. And nowhere does it say she can drive herself to work.
Well, yeah, he tells Paris she'd better call someone to give her a ride. And that's how Paris finds herself standing on Sunset Boulevard, watching her two hundred thousand dollar convertible being towed away. I imagine she goes over the events of the past few months and is kicking herself for not taking the DUI more seriously. Yes, she paid the fine, but she never took the class. She could have hired someone to drive her around.
But Paris loves to drive and now she's in some shit.
It's May 4th, 2007, at the metropolitan courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. And you'd think there was a blockbuster movie opening. There are hordes of photographers standing behind yellow tape and people milling around like they're looking for stars. And then a black Escalade pulls up to the entrance. The back door opens and Paris steps out. She's wearing this gray pinstripe jacket and black pants with these black oversized glasses on her eyes. As she walks up to the doors, photographers holler.
Her name is normally Paris, waves and smiles for the cameras. But today she keeps her head down, says nothing in, walks inside.
She arrives fashionably late by 18 minutes. Never a good way to start your own hearing. From there, things go from not good to worse when she takes the stand. The judge asked her why she was driving with a suspended license. She blames it on her handlers. He tries again. Do you understand the terms of the drunk driving plea you sign on January 22nd? Her answer, I just signed what people tell me to sign. So basically no ownership.
Yeah. She says her publicist told her she could drive to and from work. The publicist even backs her up on the stand. But the judge isn't interested. Harris is responsible. She signed the terms. Paris's attorney jumps in and says that Paris has, quote, unique issues and needs. She simply made a mistake. And then it's time for the judge to render his verdict. Paris quickly makes a sign of the cross 45 days in jail.
Kathy yells at the prosecutor, your pathetic Paris cries. It isn't fair. It isn't fair, but it's done. She's going to actually have to serve her time and not in some glamour slammer with cable TV, yoga classes and all the fresh coffee you can drink. They're sending Paris to a real jail. To her credit, five days after the hearing, she issued a statement that says, I absolutely realize how serious driving under the influence is. I could not live with myself if anyone was injured or killed while I was driving while impaired.
I'm ready to face the consequences of violating probation. No one is above the law. I surely am not. I do not expect to be treated better than anyone else who violated probation. However, my hope is that I will not be treated worse.
Damn me too. Yeah.
Two nights before she's scheduled to report to the pokey. Oh my God. Nobody calls it that full circle baby. She goes to the MTV Movie Awards where she throws the press off her tail and nervously makes her way to Lynnwood Correctional Facility, where she trades in her A.C. cocktail dress for street clothes, even poses for the camera for her mug shot.
She's still wearing dark black eyeliner and thick mascara. She actually looks really good. She knows this photo will soon be featured on every tabloid magazine, every gossip blog and every celebrity news show in the country. Then she's given a standard orange jumpsuit and a female corrections officer asks for all her possessions. Paris clings to her bejeweled BlackBerry. It's her lifeline to the outside world, but she knows she has to let it go. As she hands over the phone, she sees the black ink on her fingertips.
She'll later say the only thought going through her mind was, oh, my God, I can't fucking believe I'm here. I felt like I was in a bad movie again. Just kidding.
After booking, a guard escorts Paris to the special needs unit. It's a wing that's separate from the other prisoners. It's basically a dozen cells reserved for police officers, public officials, celebrities and other high profile inmates. As the guard escorts her down the hallway, female inmates stare out at her through small windows and solid metal doors. The last thing she wants is for everyone to see how scared she is. Paris always projects an image that nothing can hurt her AM.
Didn't she says to herself, Paris, be strong. She steps inside the eight foot by 10 foot cell. There are two bunk beds with obscenely low thread count sheets, a small metal table, a sink and a toilet with no privacy. Her mind flashes back to her nightmare year Provo Canyon School nine years earlier days locked in solitary in a barren cell. She's been claustrophobic ever since. And now here she is alone again, with a lot of time to consider what went wrong and what she wants to do differently when she finally gets out.
This is episode three of our four part series, Paris Hilton, if you like our show, please give us a nice review. Nice reviews, make our day and be sure to tell your friends, friends, make everyone say subscribe to our show on Apple podcast, Spotify, the Wonder App or wherever you're listening right now, join thundery plus in the Wonder App to listen ad free. And the episode notes you'll find some links and offers from our sponsors.
Please support them by supporting them. You help us offer you this show for free. Another way to support us is to answer a short survey at one dary dotcom slash survey. We use many sources when researching our stories especially helpful for this episode or Vanity Fair, The New York Post, The Guardian, The New York Times and Paper Magazine. We highly recommend the documentary The American Mean by Bert Marqise and the documentary. This is Paris, directed by Alexandra De.
I'm Orisha Skidmore Williams. And I'm Brooke Zafrin. Adam Prince wrote this episode, editing by Alison Rimer. Our producer is Natalie Sheesha, our associate producer is KIYOUNG. Our audio engineer is Sergio Henriquez. Sound Design is by James Morgan. Our executive producers are Stephanie Gen's, Marcia Lily and Hernan Lopez for wondering. Or, you know, those days when you hop online and you see posts about productivity, you know, like hashtag hustla hashtag, work hard, play hard and you just immediately feel like you're failing.
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