Paris Whitney Hilton (born February 17, 1981) is an American singer, actress, model, and businesswoman.
Born in New York City, Hilton is the oldest of four children of Richard and Kathy Hilton. She has a sister, Nicky, and brothers, Barron and Conrad. She is mainly of Norwegian-German descent on her father's side and Irish-Italian-Swiss on her mother's.
On the maternal side of her family, she is a niece of two child stars of the 1970s, Kim Richards and Kyle Richards. Hilton was related by marriage to Nicole Richie's godmother, Nancy Davis, when Nancy's brother, Greg, was married to Kim Richards.
Hilton moved between several exclusive homes in her youth, including a suite in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, Beverly Hills, and the Hamptons. She attended Marywood-Palm Valley School in Rancho Mirage, California her freshman year of high school; Dwight School in New York for her sophomore and junior years; then a few months at Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut before dropping out. Hilton eventually earned a GED.
In December 2007, Hilton's grandfather Barron Hilton pledged 97 percent of his estate to a charitable organisation founded by his father, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. An immediate pledge of $1.2 billion was made, with a further $1.1 billion due after his death. He cited his father's actions as the motivation for his pledge. According to reports, the potential inheritance of his grandchildren is sharply diminished.
Hilton has worked as a model, actress, musician, and engaged in sometime business pursuits. According to Forbes Magazine, she earned approximately $2 million in 2003–2004, $6.5 million in 2004–2005, and $7 million in 2005–2006.
Hilton began modeling as a child, initially at charity events. When she was 19, she signed with Donald Trump's modeling agency, T Management. Hilton has also worked with Ford Models in New York, Models 1 Agency in London, Nous Model Management in Los Angeles, and Premier Model Management in London. She has appeared in numerous advertising campaigns, including Iceberg Vodka, GUESS, Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Dior, and Marciano. In 2001, Hilton began to develop a reputation as a socialite, being identified as "New York's leading It Girl" whose fame was beginning to "extend beyond the New York tabloids". She has appeared in several magazines, including the April 2004 issue of Maxim.
Hilton co-starred with Nicole Richie in the Fox reality series The Simple Life, which premiered on December 2, 2003. The Simple Life ran for three seasons on Fox. The show was cancelled by Fox after a dispute between Hilton and Richie, but it was subsequently aired by E! Entertainment Television for the fourth and fifth seasons.
Hilton founded Heiress Records, a sub-label of Warner Bros. Records, in 2004 and released her self-titled debut album, Paris, under that label on August 22, 2006. Although the album reached number six on the Billboard 200 for a week, its total sales volume has been low. All Music Guide commented that the album was "more fun than anything released by Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson, and a lot fresher, too." On the whole, critical reception was mixed.
In the autumn of 2004, Hilton released an autobiographical book, Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose, co-written by Merle Ginsberg, which includes full color photographs of her and her advice on life as an heiress. Hilton reportedly received a $100,000 advance payment for this book. Some in the media panned the writing as amateurish, and the book was parodied by Robert Mundell on The Late Show with David Letterman. The book became a New York Times bestseller. Hilton followed it up with a designer diary, also with Ginsberg, called Your Heiress Diary: Confess It All to Me.
Hilton helped design a collection of purses for Japanese label Samantha Thavasa, and also a jewelry line for Amazon.com. In 2004, Hilton was involved in the creation of a perfume line by Parlux Fragrances. Originally set to be a small release, high demand led to a wider release before December 2004. The launch was followed by a 47 percent increase in sales of Parlux products, predominantly due to sales of the Hilton-branded perfume. After the success of Hilton's perfume, Parlux Fragrances released several more perfumes with her name, including fragrances for men. In December 2007, Hilton joined in promotion of RICH Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine sold in cans rather than bottles. Hilton went to Germany to promote the drink.
Hilton was engaged to fashion model Jason Shaw from mid-2002 to early 2003, and Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis, from May 29, 2005 to November 2005. Thereafter, she began dating another Greek shipping heir, Stavros Niarchos III, before breaking up in May 2006. She is currently dating the guitarist of the band Good Charlotte, Benji Madden.
In May 2008, Hilton announced her intention to marry Madden during a gushing interview with television talk-show host David Letterman. Hilton waxed lyrical about what a great couple they were, while flashing his initials in bling on her ring finger. A four-year-old homemade sex video of Hilton and then-boyfriend Rick Salomon was leaked on the Internet in 2003, later released as the DVD 1 Night in Paris despite attempted legal action. It appeared a week prior to the premiere of The Simple Life.
In September 2006, Hilton was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, the level at which it is illegal to drive in California. Hilton's driving license was subsequently suspended in November 2006, and in January 2007 she pleaded no contest to the alcohol-related reckless driving charge. On May 4, 2007 Hilton was sentenced by Judge Michael T. Sauer to 45 days in jail for violating her probation. Initially, Hilton planned to appeal the sentence, and supported an online petition asking California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for a pardon. Hilton was released from jail on June 26, 2007. In total, Hilton served 22 days in detention, counting her day-long home confinement. Hilton announced she would be visiting Rwanda in November 2007 as a post-jail vow, but has since postponed the trip until an undetermined date in 2008.
In January 2007 a video surfaced on the commercial website ParisExposed.com in which Paris Hilton uses homophobic and ethnic slurs. Hilton appears to mock African-Americans and Jews at a party during the song We Are Family by Sister Sledge. The video was among Hilton's personal and medical documents in a storage facility which were auctioned off after allegedly failing to pay the bill. Hilton's publicist Elliot Mintz confirmed to the New York Post its authenticity saying she had obviously been drinking. On February 3, 2007 Hilton obtained a temporary injunction against ParisExposed.com, closing down the website for a short period of time before it went back online