June 28th, 2007
LARRY KING: We’re happy to welcome Paris. We’re happy to welcome Paris Hilton to “Larry King Live.” Good to have her with us. Her parents have been with us. This is her first appearance on this show.
Why are you doing this interview?
PARIS HILTON: I consider you an icon and I really respect you and it’s an honor for me to be here today.
KING: Well, we’re happy to hear that …
HILTON: Thank you.
KING: But mainly the why do any interview? Why come out and talk?
HILTON: I just want to let people know what I went through.
KING: You think it’s time to let that happen?
HILTON: Yeah. I just — I’ve been through a lot and it was a pretty traumatic experience. Something I really have grown from and when I heard that you asked me to be on the show I was excited.
KING: What have the last two days been like?
HILTON: Some days, overwhelming. You know, I’ve been confined for 3½ weeks in a little cell so it’s just overwhelming to be out and be free again.
KING: What was that moment like, we saw you hopping down out. That feeling of freedom.
HILTON: It was one of the happiest days of my life. Like — it’s hard to even describe. It was so exciting even just being in the fresh air and looking up at the sky and the stars and being outside and then it was just pandemonium and then as soon as I saw my mom I just ran to her to give her a hug. So that was really exciting for me.
KING: What do you think it is about you, Paris, that everybody follows you around? You must have examined this in your life. Why do people, photographers, paparazzi, why you?
HILTON: I have no idea. I’m just living my life.
KING: You don’t call them up and say I’m going down to Third Street tomorrow. Be there.
HILTON: No. Actually from the moment I wake up to when I go to sleep they’re outside my house following me all day long.
KING: When did that start?
HILTON: I moved to New York when I was 16 and I started modeling and ever since then.
KING: So you have now become used to the fact that you have no privacy.
HILTON: Yeah. I think it definitely comes with the territory.
KING: But you have ultimate privacy in jail.
HILTON: Somewhat but there’s always like the officers around, so you don’t really have any privacy in jail but it was nice to be away from all the flashes for a while.
KING: How well were you treated?
HILTON: I went up to L.A. County. All the sheriffs there were very professional. I was treated like any other inmate, no better, no worse.
KING: You were in confinement 23 hours a day?
HILTON: Yeah. It was pretty difficult, just — the cell was like 8 by 12. So I was alone the entire time.
KING: Do you have television in the cell?
HILTON: Nothing that …
KING: Describe what’s in the cell.
HILTON: Basically it’s a small room with a metal bunk bed, a toilet right next to the bed connected to the sink and a little metal desk so it’s a very small area.
KING: What do you do with the hour you get out?
HILTON: For the hour I got to shower and call my family. You only have an hour so you try to make the most of it.
KING: Eat in the cells?
HILTON: Yes. All the meals are in the cells.
KING: Is there a commissary? Can you go and buy extra goodies?
HILTON: Every Monday they bring — it’s called the canteen and you can order candy and food and stamps and pencils and paper. I was writing a lot while I was there, so …
KING: Have visitors?
HILTON: Saturdays and Sundays for a half an hour. My family came, my friends.
KING: Friends could come to? Was there a list? Could you give them a list of who can come? How does that work?
HILTON: For inmates and myself, it’s the same, every Saturday and Sunday for a half hour you can have two visitors.
KING: And you can tell them who’s coming?
KING: Did anybody try to come that you said, “No!”?
HILTON: There was a lot of random people and the officers would be like, “Do you know John whatever?” And they were like these random people pretending that they were related to me.
So a lot of people would just pretend that they knew me to get in.
KING: What did you eat?
HILTON: The food was horrible.
HILTON: Well, it’s jail food. It’s not supposed to be good.
KING: What is jail food? OK. Lunch!
HILTON: Lunch is basically a bologna sandwich which is they just give a bologna which — they call it mystery meat. It’s really scary. And two pieces of bread and some mayonnaise. With orange juice.
KING: Would they shove it under the door?
HILTON: There was like a little …
KING: Pellet hole?
HILTON: Yeah. Kind of a whole they would put it through.
KING: What did you eat for dinner?
HILTON: Dinner was usually the same. It was hot at least.
KING: Hot …
HILTON: The only hot meal that was again, this mystery kind of — they call it jail slop, so it wasn’t that tasty.
KING: Do you have to wear special clothes?
HILTON: I wore the orange jumpsuit just like everyone else.
KING: Did you lose weight?
HILTON: Not really. I was reading all these rumors and hearing about me losing all this weight but I only lost a couple pounds.
KING: Did you hear a lot about what people were saying on the outside?
HILTON: Not really, because when you’re in jail you don’t really have any connection with the outside world and I just really wanted to focus on myself. I didn’t really want to hear all the gossip (inaudible).
KING: I know you wrote some notes and we’re going to hear from them in a while. Did you get to talk to other inmates?
HILTON: Yes. There’s inmates next to me in the cells so we would speak through the vents, you could hear each other and just walking down the hall, just my visit — like my Lara came to visit me, I would see the girls in the hallway and just say, “Hi.”
They were all really nice.
KING: The obvious — the purpose of jail, prison, jail, confinement is to teach a lesson.
KING: Or at least that’s a big part of it. Did it work for you?
HILTON: It definitely — it was a very traumatic experience, but I feel like God does make everything happen for a reason. And it gave me, you know, a time-out in life to really find out what’s important and what I want to do, figuring out who I am. And I’m — even though it was really hard, I took that time just to get to know myself.
KING: Did it change you?
HILTON: Yes, definitely. I have a new outlook on life.
KING: Was there a couple of days — when did it happen? Quickly? Or did it happen over a period of time?
HILTON: In the beginning, it was really hard, really hard for me. It’s kind of a blow. So kind of traumatic. But after a while, I had to accept that I could either make the best of it or make the worst of it. So I just went with the motto don’t serve the time; let the time serve you. And so that really helped.
KING: You read a lot?
HILTON: A lot. I read a lot of books. I received fan mail from all around the world, so many letters that I would literally sit in bed, like, crying, reading these letters. And it just — it really got me through it.
KING: No kidding?
HILTON: Really. It was really special. I had no idea, like, how much support from so many different age groups, so many people from around the world. It was really heartwarming.
KING: Any critical letters?
HILTON: Actually, no.
HILTON: None. I was really surprised about that. I was scared to open letters, because I was like, “Oh, I hope this person’s not mean.” Not at all. That’s the last thing I want.
KING: You had letters from every continent? Asia?
HILTON: Even like India and from — a letter from soldiers from Iraq. And…
KING: When we come back, her biggest fear behind bars, her most emotional visit during those 23 days, when LARRY KING LIVE returns with Paris Hilton, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paris’ request, surrender quietly, and start doing her time.
HILTON: I’m really scared, but I’m ready to do this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was determined that Paris Hilton would be reassigned. He was remanding Miss Hilton to the sheriff’s custody to serve the remainder of her sentence at the Century Regional Detention Center.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No! No! No!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK, during this time, Paris, what was your — what were you afraid of?
HILTON: Just the whole idea of being in jail is really scary. I wasn’t — I would hate to be alone, so that was really, you know, hard for me in the beginning, to be so alone. And I’ve had nightmares that my — someone would break into my cell and hurt me. And just scary times like that.
KING: Did you have emotional visits?
HILTON: Every visit when my family came was really emotional, especially on Father’s Day, because we’re a really close family and (inaudible) to have to talk behind glass, you know, no matter what you’re there for.
KING: I’ve been to prisons. I’ve interviewed people in prison. That’s tough. Do you touch hands? The hands touch the glass?
HILTON: Yes. I did that every time. I just — it was the first Father’s Day I couldn’t give my dad a hug. And that was really hard on me.
KING: Why do you think they have that rule?
HILTON: I can understand the dangers in that with some of the inmates, you know, because…
KING: Passing things.
HILTON: Yes, do that, and maybe be interrupting things like that. So I wouldn’t expect to be treated any different than anyone else, you know.
KING: Do you — before we take a look at some of the weird things that happened with you there, — and we’ll hear from some of your notes that you kept, which we hear some of them are extraordinary — what — when you look back on the whole thing, what do you think? Do you think you did wrong?
HILTON: Well, first, starting off with the DUI, which was a .08, and I will never drink and drive again. It was, you know, one drink, but no one should do it.
KING: That’s all it was?
KING: But with your weight. Right?
HILTON: Yes. I was on my way, actually, a couple blocks to the In and Out. I should never have even driven.
KING: Call a limo.
HILTON: Yes. Definitely.
KING: A cab.
HILTON: Or my roommate (ph), and stick together (ph). I take full responsibility. And I hope by me serving this sentence, I know it has helped, because I’ve received a lot of letters from different people that they’ve made the mistake of drinking and driving, and because I went through this, like, “Wow, it could happen to me, too.”
KING: Why did you drive with a suspended license?
HILTON: I was told that I had my license. My lawyer told me the license is suspended for 30 days, no driving. Then 90 days then after that you could drive to and from work. So for 30 days, I never drove once. Then after that it was for work related purposes.
KING: Think you got a raw deal? Do you?
HILTON: Yes, I do. But I don’t know. Even though I hate it, I’m glad it happened, in a way, because this really changed my life forever. And I feel stronger than ever. And I don’t know. So like…
KING: So bad turned to good.
HILTON: Yes. Yes. I feel like this is a blessing in disguise.
KING: What’s the terms of probation? What can you do and can’t do?
KING: Yes. You’re on probation, right?
HILTON: I’m just going to follow all the laws.
KING: I mean, for how long? Do you have to report to a probation officer?
HILTON: No. It’s not like that.
KING: You don’t? You just have to, for want of a better term, be good?
KING: All right.
KING: Now what — the other day, Sheriff Baca, in fact yesterday, testified before the L.A. City Council when he released you from — he released you, because you had an illness that he was very concerned about. And everyone was wondering what that was. What was it?
HILTON: Well, I suffer from claustrophobia my entire life. And when I first got in that cell, I was having severe panic attacks, anxiety attacks. My claustrophobia was kicking in. I wasn’t sleeping; I wasn’t eating. It was — the doctors talked to the sheriff and he could see that it would be better if I just get out in house arrest.
Plus, I’d already served more than– most people on my kind of infraction will only serve 10 percent of their sentence. And I’d already done more than that. So he just thought it would be better for everyone for me just to be at home.
KING: Now, once it was announced that you were released on home confinement, it got a little nuts outside your house. Media and fans. I think we can see a clip of this. Let’s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Surely, more bizarre by the minute. I would say more bizarre by the hour, but in this case, more bizarre by the minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, she was cuffed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off! Get — back up!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That’s her in the back of the cop car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What was this like for you?
HILTON: It was crazy. It was just sheer amount of (inaudible) for my neighbors.
HILTON: You know. It was also, you know, really scary just to have so many people, you know, people on the news telling people what street I live on. So it’s kind of dangerous.
KING: What kind of a jolt was it when they hauled you back into court and sent you back to jail?
HILTON: It was a shock. Everything, you know, going from being so happy to be at home with my family, and then I’m pulled — I’m not supposed to be going to court the next day. The sheriff said, stay at home. Then all of a sudden, that’s when the police arrived and (inaudible) out of bed. They’re telling me that they’re going to handcuff me and then bring me back to the courthouse. I had no idea what was going on. I was in complete shock. It was unbelievable. I was terrified.
KING: How did you cure the claustrophobia?
HILTON: I just had to deal with it. I didn’t know, you know, if I was going to be there, I had to make the best of it. So I meditated. I read letters. I wrote in my journal. And I would just close my eyes and literally pretend that I was somewhere else, just imagining like I was in some, like, special place sometimes. It was really difficult, but I’ve made it through.
KING: Are you now cured?
HILTON: Of claustrophobia?
KING: You must be.
HILTON: Well, now that I’m out of there, yes.
KING: Well, I mean, if you handled it, you went back and were able to handle it. You were crying in the back of the police car, right? I mean, that was a…
HILTON: I was so scared.
KING: … tough day for you.
HILTON: It was one of the most terrifying days of my life.
KING: OK. So when you go back in — now you’re back in. You walk into that cell again. How did you deal with the first night?
HILTON: I was obviously very upset. And I just — just would talk — you know, just talking to myself, just saying, Paris, be strong, you can do this.
KING: Do you think the judge was unkind?
HILTON: You know, my lawyers even said that with this kind — it wasn’t for a DUI, it was for a suspended license — that people only — I was walking in there assuming I was just going to get community service. That’s what my lawyer said at the time. So when he sentenced me to that much time in jail, it was shocking, because that doesn’t happen, ever.
KING: Paris Hilton kept notes in jail. We’re going to hear some of them when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Socialite Paris Hilton is led screaming from (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paris Hilton is going back to jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We’ll get to hear some of the notes that Paris Hilton kept while in confinement in the jail in Los Angeles. How about those — you get a little shocked when you know you’re going to jail, and then they see you at the MTV Awards walking the red carpet. Doesn’t that look like a contradiction?
HILTON: Actually, I was playing a trick on everyone. Because outside my house, outside the Lynwood facility, there were paparazzi, I heard, from all around the world. So I thought, if I went to the MTV Awards, snuck out during the show, I could get there unnoticed. And that’s what we did. No one even saw me going in.
KING: Get where unnoticed?
HILTON: Getting into Lynwood. I don’t want to cause a whole media circus going in.
KING: So you used MTV as king of a camouflage?
HILTON: Yes, because everyone was asking me at the show, they were like, oh, so you’re going to the after party? And I was like, yeah, I’ll be there. I knew the whole time I was there that I was going to be checking myself right into jail.
So it was very surreal and very…
KING: Were you faking it when you looked like you were having a happy time there?
HILTON: Of course I was very nervous. You know, nobody knew I was going in that night. But I was trying to be strong.
KING: What do you think of your problems, Paris? That you bring on in your life yourself? I mean, you don’t blame your parents, do you? When things didn’t go right for you. When you self-examine.
HILTON: I think in life, everyone makes mistakes and you have to learn and grow from them. And I’ve been a little immature in the past and made some wrong choices. But I learned from them, and I think that makes me the person I am today.
KING: How about friends that weren’t right friends for you? Have you gotten rid of them?
HILTON: I’ve gotten rid of a lot of people. I think — especially being in Los Angeles, there is a lot of people out here that like people for certain reasons, and I don’t want people who are not going to be beneficial to my life, who don’t want positive things in my life, and I had to cut a lot of people out, which I’m happy…
KING: Want to name a name?
HILTON: I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but they know who they are.
KING: Was New York better for you?
HILTON: Yeah, I don’t — I love New York. I love Los Angeles. Most of my work is here. I travel all the time for work, so this is just my home base.
KING: You have businesses, right?
HILTON: Yes. Quite a few.
KING: You’re in your own business, right?
KING: Let’s hear some of the things you — what did you write in prison, in jail?
HILTON: Well, I had a lot of time alone, so I would write a lot. I actually have a journal with all the — I left it at home…
KING: You kept a daily journal?
HILTON: Yes, I did. OK. This is one of the notes that I wrote. “They say when you reach a crossroad or a turning point in life, it really doesn’t matter how we got there, but it’s what we do next after we got there. Usually you arrive there by adversity, and then it is then and only then that we find out who we truly are and what we’re truly made of. It’s a process, a gift and a journey, and if we can travel it alone, although the road may be rough at the beginning, you find an ability to walk it. A way to start fresh again. It’s neither a downfall nor a failure, but a new beginning.”
And I felt like this is a new beginning for me, to see jail — and I just used it as a journey to figure out myself and who I am and what I want to do. And there’s just so much more to me than what people think.
KING: Writing helped?
HILTON: Yes. I have always loved to write. In school, I loved being in creative writing classes. I write scripts. I love to read.
KING: If you had to do it all over, you’d change a lot, wouldn’t you?
HILTON: Yes. I definitely, you know, wish I knew now what, you know, back then. And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her.
KING: You want a family?
HILTON: Definitely yes.
KING: Want to get married?
HILTON: Not right now. But within the next couple of years, I definitely — I love kids, and I can’t wait, you know, to find someone and fall in love and have a big family.
KING: Do you think you’d be a load (ph) for someone now?
HILTON: It’s hard — I think someone…
KING: When the guy is going to have to come on (ph)?
HILTON: It’s hard, you know, the media, every time you are in a relationship, they all make up stories. And if I (inaudible) someone who doesn’t care about that, and someone who is just going to love me for me and not pay attention to all the other gossip.
KING: Would have to be a pretty strong guy?
HILTON: He’s out there somewhere.
KING: Do you think you’ve found yourself?
HILTON: I feel like I’ve started my journey and I’m going to continue every day to find out more and more about myself.
KING: What don’t you like about Paris Hilton? What’s a personality trait Paris Hilton would change?
HILTON: Something — when I get nervous or shy, my voice gets really high. I’ve been doing that ever since I was a little girl. And that’s something I don’t like that I do. I like when I talk in my normal voice, but sometimes I go down, and that’s something I’m trying to change about myself.
KING: Are you jealous?
KING: Quick to anger?
HILTON: No. I don’t really get angry.
KING: Easy to get along with?
HILTON: I’m very easy to get along with.
KING: Good friend?
HILTON: A very loyal friend.
KING: We’re going to hear more notes and lots more too. Coming up, the real story of those severe medical problems the sheriff said she had in jail. Were they also mental and physical? LARRY KING LIVE returns with Paris Hilton right after this.
KING: We’re back with Paris Hilton. Let’s cover some bases we may have skipped over. It was only claustrophobia but there were many reports that you were on medications of a serious type. Were you?
HILTON: There’s a lot of reports that are false that are out there.
KING: You were not on medication?
HILTON: I have been on medication since I was a child. I have ADD. So I take medication for that.
KING: That’s the only thing you deal with, attention deficit disorder.
KING: Have you ever been addicted to drugs?
KING: Taken drugs.
KING: Never taken drugs?
KING: Do you know that the organization MADD has had a tough time with you, Mothers Against Drunk Driving?
KING: Feeling that you’ve set a kind of bad example. What are your feelings toward them? Do you plan to work with them?
HILTON: Yeah, I’d love to work with them and I think me, by doing my sentence and doing my time, I have served as a bit of an example and I want to continue to do so.
KING: Do you have a drinking problem?
HILTON: No. Not at all.
KING: You must have had — just this one drink this one time?
HILTON: I’m just — I’m not a big drinker. I’m not really into it. I think socially people do sometimes when they go out but it’s not something that I really care about.
KING: So how have all these stories gotten out about you? Medications — well, the ADD, that’s a strong medication, isn’t it?
HILTON: Um. It’s Adderall, I think. Anyone who has ADD takes it.
KING: You’ve had it all your life.
KING: But the stories about you being — use of a drugs, and the like, parties. Wild scenes, all wrong.
HILTON: People make up so many crazy stories. The things I read about and things I see is not the person who I am. It really baffles me sometimes when I read things. The places I’ve never been. People I’ve never met. It’s really shocking to me.
KING: Did you hang around with people who did those things?
HILTON: Yes. I know people who have.
KING: Were — did people photograph you with people who did those things?
HILTON: I’m not sure, but I think a lot of people have that problem.
KING: Why didn’t you put a stop to this earlier? In other words, if you would read stuff, why didn’t you take an outlet to go on and say I don’t, never use drugs? I don’t drink?
HILTON: I don’t — I just feel like when you do that you put more attention to something and when something is not true I just don’t pay attention to it because I know my friends and family know the true me and that’s all that really matters to me and I feel like by defending yourself for things that aren’t true, all you are doing is making people talk about it more.
KING: But in today’s world, Paris, no comment is yes. Don’t you think so? I mean, the media is the message.
HILTON: Yeah. I just — I don’t know. From — People just make up stories and there’s nothing I can really do about it. I just don’t like to dignify it with a response.
KING: But then you realize, of course, that one of the problems is then you let it continue.
HILTON: Yeah. I know how I am so that’s fine.
KING: But the way to put a stop to it is to proclaim it. I mean, if you know …
HILTON: I’m telling you right now so I’ve put a stop to it.
KING: But are we thinking maybe we should have done this long ago? Not here, somewhere?
HILTON: You know, everything happened to a (ph) reason (ph) I went and found out a lot about myself and I’m going to continue going down that path.
KING: Have you ever had psychiatric care?
HILTON: Like a therapist?
HILTON: Yeah. I talk with someone about my problems.
KING: Is that helpful?
HILTON: Yeah. I think it’s good to talk with someone if you’re feeling sad or something’s wrong. But usually I talk to my family about everything.
KING: How did ADD affect you while in jail?
HILTON: Well, it’s — attention deficit disorder so it’s hard to pay attention to things and I don’t know, I just …
KING: When you have ADD …
HILTON: … it’s the way I’ve dealt with it my whole life.
KING: When you have ADD you can’t — you lose concentration?
KING: And you’ve had it since you were a kid?
HILTON: Since I was like 12.
KING: So it had to be tougher when you were in a situation where you were kind of entrapped.
HILTON: Yes, it was but I learned to deal with it.
KING: How does — does it affect you in business?
HILTON: No. I’m doing fine everywhere.
KING: Go back full time with your career?
HILTON: Yeah. Everything is back to business.
KING: Television show, too?
HILTON: Yeah. We’ve just finished the fifth season and I’m doing another season in the next couple months.
I’m doing a couple movies this summer.
KING: Movies, too.
KING: Signed and sealed.
We’ll be right back with Paris Hilton and more notes from jail. When we return, we’ll talk to Paris about Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and her “Simple Life” costar Nicole Richie, who could be facing some jail time herself. That’s all next.
KING: We’re back with Paris Hilton, on the way to rejuvenation, I guess. You might call it that. If perception is reality, the perception of you was party girl, right? You’re saying that’s not true? What part of it was true?
HILTON: I’m a social person. I love to dance. I love to go out. I love music. But a lot of people don’t know that I’m a businesswoman, and I run several businesses. And I like to go out, as well, and socialize.
KING: Which leads to the e-mail question from Celia in Miramar (ph), Florida: “What’s the biggest misconception about you?”
HILTON: Well, a misconception that I always hear is Paris doesn’t work for a living. She just, you know, gets money from her family. And I completely disagree with that. I’ve been earning (ph) on my own, by myself. I’ve not taken any money from my family. I work very hard. I run a business. I had a book on the “New York Times” best seller list. I’m on my — TV show. Did an album. Do movies.
KING: How do you like…
HILTON: Everyone (ph)…
KING: Is it all their fault? Or how did you let that happen?
HILTON: I think it’s people just focused on the party part. And my business and what I do is at my office, and in my meetings. And that’s not really made public, because then, you know, I’m in a board room talking with everyone who works with me. So people just don’t know about it.
KING: So — so the party girl aspect is you like to party, but it’s not drugs?
HILTON: No. I just like to go out and have fun with my friends. I’m an Aquarius. We’re social people.
KING: You going to stop doing that? Will you change that?
HILTON: No. I realized that there’s a lot more important things in my life. And there’s a lot more things to do. And I’m frankly sick of it. You know, I’ve been going out for a long time now. And yes, it’s fun, but it’s not going to be the mainstay of my life anymore.
KING: All right. Let’s discuss a few of your — Nicole Richie, how’s she doing?
HILTON: She’s doing great.
KING: She’s going to go to jail?
HILTON: I hope not. But she’s not…
KING: What did she tell you about what happened to her?
HILTON: You know, she just — everyone makes mistakes. And she just — I wish her the best. She’s like my sister. I love her so much. So I don’t want anything bad to happen to her.
KING: Does she admit she made mistakes?
HILTON: Yes. Of course she has.
KING: Britney Spears. What about her?
HILTON: She’s a sweet girl. She’s a good mom. She loves her children and again, I think the media just likes to …
KING: But they see her do things like driving a car recklessly and not handling a child well, right, they are going to be concerned.
HILTON: Yes. I know.
KING: Did she talk to you about that?
HILTON: I’ve seen her with her kids. She loves her kids. And I think its hard for anyone when you’re in the spotlight so much. Its very overwhelming at such, like, a young age.
I feel like a lot of these girls, you know, they move out here at a young age. They are given, you know, too much, too soon. And it is hard. And I’m hard that I have my parents who love and support me so much and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
KING: Did you have too much, too soon?
HILTON: I now appreciate and have gratitude for everything, like, I really have a new appreciation for life.
KING: When you were 20, 21, did you have too much, too soon?
HILTON: It just all happened, you know, so fast. And everything — it is overwhelming, I think, for any young girl — but I’ve handled it well.
KING: Do you think you can ever be normal?
HILTON: I …
KING: Whatever that is.
HILTON: I consider myself normal.
KING: You consider yourself normal?
HILTON: Yes. When people say that I don’t understand, I just feel like I’m any other girl. I just, I don’t know, I have a good heart …
KING: You …
HILTON: … I’m a good person. I don’t think of myself any normal — any different than anyone else.
KING: You don’t treat — you don’t think you are treated any of this, the jail, the whole thing, frivolously?
HILTON: What do you mean by that?
KING: That you danced through it, in a sense. When the public saw you.
HILTON: I was locked in a cell for three and a half weeks. It was a horrible experience so …
KING: With the …
HILTON: … I did my time.
When the public saw me?
KING: Yes, you know, you always looked. You like the camera.
HILTON: You know, its going to be there and I see some celebrities they throw water at the paparazzi or give the middle finger or do things like that, and I don’t — I think it makes you look bad. I just live my life and I don’t pay attention. These people are doing their jobs.
KING: You like the paparazzi?
HILTON: It’s not that I like them, but I don’t, you know, I’m not going to do anything to hurt them. That’s — they’re just trying to make a living.
KING: What do you make of Lindsay Lohan?
HILTON: I wish the best for her.
KING: Do you know her well?
HILTON: I know her.
KING: Genuine talent?
KING: Obviously, she’s got problems.
HILTON: I think, yes, a lot of girls have problems.
KING: Did anyone ever think that you had to go to rehab?
HILTON: No, not at all.
KING: Do you visit people in rehab or any of your friends?
HILTON: I don’t have any friends in rehab.
KING: Up next, she said her dumb act is no longer cute. What was cute about it in the first place? More with Paris Hilton. More notes, too, when we come back.
KING: We’re back with Paris Hilton. A couple more segments to go, and we want to get caught up on some things about jail that we didn’t cover earlier. How did you prepare for it?
HILTON: I think it’s really hard for anyone to prepare for jail. I just was trying to spend as much time with my family as possible.
KING: You were spotted, I think, holding a Bible or something? Did you take…
KING: … a Bible with you?
HILTON: Yes, I did. Well, actually, you weren’t allowed to bring one in, but…
KING: Not allowed?
HILTON: … I ordered one off the commissary list.
KING: You aren’t allowed to bring books in?
HILTON: You can’t bring anything in. Nothing.
KING: Are you a religious person?
HILTON: I’ve always been religious. I went to Catholic school as a child. And I’ve always had a sense of spirituality, but even more so now, after being in jail.
KING: Did you read the Bible in jail?
KING: Were you — oh, we have your mug shot. Want to find out what you were thinking, what it was like to go through this. We will show that.
I’ve seen worse.
HILTON: Thank you.
KING: What were you thinking?
HILTON: I don’t know what I was thinking. I was just like, oh my God, I cannot believe I’m here. It was just — it didn’t hit me that I was really in jail until I’ve actually gotten in a cell. So I don’t know, taking that picture was just very surreal. I felt like I was in like a bad movie.
KING: Did you think, Paris, that you didn’t deserve to be there?
HILTON: You know, I think the crime did not fit the, you know, fit the punishment. I did my time. And you know, it was really hard, but I don’t feel like I deserved to go to jail for it.
KING: You never felt you were a criminal.
KING: Not now, not then?
KING: An embarrassing — were you strip-searched? Do they do that in jail?
KING: I know they do it in prison.
HILTON: They do. They do it in any jail. It was…
KING: What was that like?
HILTON: The most humiliating experience of my life. I never had to do that, you know, doing that in front of someone you don’t even know. It’s pretty embarrassing.
KING: So it’s a woman police officer and you in a room?
KING: Is it as gross as we might think it is?
HILTON: It’s pretty gross, you know. (inaudible) having to do that, yes.
KING: Do you understand why they do it?
HILTON: Of course I do.
KING: On January 15, you were pulled over by the California Highway Patrol and told your license had been suspended, and you said you thought it was OK.
HILTON: I told the officer because I called my lawyer at that point and they said you’re allowed to drive for work related purposes and I was at a business meeting before that.
KING: So misconception.
KING: And January 22 you plead “no contest” to a reduced charge of alcohol-related reckless driving, you were ordered to take alcohol education. Did you?
HILTON: Yes, I did. And actually when we went into court, they said that I hadn’t but the lady was sitting right in the courtroom and she said, “I will testify and say that Paris finished the course” and they wouldn’t let her do it.
KING: And the driving with a suspended license. That you thought it was not suspended, right?
HILTON: I never would have driven on a suspended license. I get followed by paparazzi all day. Why would I have the audacity to do that?
KING: What kind of license do you have now?
HILTON: Fully reinstated license.
Even before I went in jail my license was fully reinstated with no restrictions whatsoever.
KING: With your financial wherewithal you could have had a driver all the time, though, right?
KING: You don’t need …
HILTON: I made him …
KING: You like driving?
HILTON: I like to drive, yes.
KING: With all the paparazzi, I don’t think you’re going to drive for a while, right? Is that a safe bet?
HILTON: It gets kind of dangerous sometimes. So I won’t be.
KING: But you have a fully licensed — you are a California driver.
HILTON: Yeah. Even before I went in.
KING: Want to read another note?
HILTON: Yeah. Yeah.
This I wrote — this is about the girls that are in there. “I have compassion for those I left behind at the prison. I am lucky enough that I have a home and a family to go to when I get out of here. Most of the women in here don’t have that option. They have to go back on the streets and some of them end up even back here because they don’t have anywhere else to go.
“I want to help set up a place where these women can get themselves back on their feet. A place with food, shelter and clothing and programs, kind of a transitional home. I know I can make a difference and hopefully stop this vicious circle of these people going in and out of jail.”
Because they told me the average amount for a woman going in there, into Lynwood is 7.83 times. So literally women just go out on the street, they have nowhere to go and then they end up right back in there. It’s a vicious circle. Some of these people are mothers and then their children end up in the system and it’s just — really, it’s sad.
KING: We’ll be back with our remaining moments with Paris Hilton right after this.
KING: We’re back. My man Anderson Cooper, host of “AC 360,” has the exclusive details — exclusive — on how Paris became the phenomenon she is today. He’ll be looking at Paris the businesswoman and self-made image maker. He’s got the family history too. Also, an expert panel to discuss our interview, including “People” magazine’s Jess Cagle, who was with Paris and her family the night she got out of jail.
So without further ado, we’ll be turning the podium over to Anderson in just a couple of moments.
We have a quick vote on our Web site, cnn.com/larryking, asking, did the legal system treat Paris Hilton fairly? And the last check — and they’re still voting — 63 percent said yes. They thought you were treated fairly.
We also have (inaudible) question, submitted by a self-described fan of Paris. Let’s take a look and listen, and then get Paris’ answer. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just wondering what you were planning to do to help others since you’ve been released from jail, and I was also wondering what message you would like to send to other people who might make the decision to drink and drive?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILTON: That’s something I was actually thinking a lot about in jail. I feel like, you know, being in the spotlight, I have a platform where I can raise awareness for so many great causes, and just do so much with this, instead of, you know, superficial things like going out. I want to help raise money for kids and for breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and…
KING: You want to get involved in all of it.
KING: What’s your favorite Bible passage?
HILTON: I don’t have a favorite, but…
KING: You read it every day?
HILTON: In jail, I read a lot.
KING: Going to go to mass?
KING: All right. We’re going to see a new Paris Hilton.
KING: What will we see? Will we see less Paris Hilton? More Paris Hilton in a different way? Give us what the public will see of the new Paris Hilton, starting June 28, 2007?
HILTON: I’ve definitely matured and grown a lot from this experience, so I just — I don’t know, I just want to be — I’m 26 years old. I’m an adult, and I am — I have to just grow up and to be a more responsible — a role model, because I’ve gotten a lot of letters from (ph) mothers and their daughters…
KING: We’ll know it.
HILTON: I want to be a good role model for these girls.
KING: Thank you, Paris.
HILTON: Thank you.
KING: Paris Hilton.