Paris Hilton Says David Letterman Was "Cruel and Mean" During 2007 Interview
The star recently opened up about a tense, resurfaced interview after her prison stay.
To some, Paris Hilton represents a very specific kind of celebrity who rose to fame during the mid-'00s. Known first for being a socialite and a "party girl," the now 40-year-old star has embarked on many business ventures over the years, written a couple books, made her name as a DJ, appeared in dozens of films and TV shows, and delved into her own past in the 2020 documentary This Is Paris. But Hilton's fame, even in those early days, made her the subject of plenty of mockery. In a new podcast, Paris Hilton opened up about a 2007 interview with David Letterman on his late night show that's pretty painful to watch. Find out what she had to say about the host's behavior, and for another star who's calling out the press, check out Jonah Hill Gets Real About Body Shaming After Tabloid Prints Beach Photos.
Paris Hilton infamously served a prison sentence 2007, something that was the butt of many late night jokes.
Following a series of incidents involving driving while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license, Hilton was sentenced to 45 days in prison in June 2007. She ended up serving 21 days at a women's correctional facility in Lynwood, California. In late September of that year, Hilton appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman to promote her various business ventures, including her new perfume, Can Can, and her 2008 movie The Hottie and the Nottie.
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Letterman's interview with Hilton was tense and one-sided.
After making small talk about which city she prefers, New York or Los Angeles, Letterman pivoted to a much different topic, not a minute into the interview. "Uh, how'd you like being in jail?" he asked, to laughs and applause from the audience.
Hilton kept smiling, but she seemed uncomfortable with the topic, giving short answers as Letterman continued to question her. After she called being in prison a "traumatic" experience, the host went on to have her take him through exactly what foods she was given for every meal, how she exercised, whether she made any friends during her sentence, and whether her old friends treated her any differently after being in "the slammer."
At one point, Hilton tried to be firm, saying, "But I've moved on with my life, so I don't really want to talk about it anymore."
"This is where you and I are different," Letterman said, "because this is all I want to talk about."
"I'm not answering any more questions about it," Hilton deflected again. "I'm here for my clothing line and my movie and my perfume, I'm not here to talk about that." Letterman persisted with the bit, to the delight of the audience, ignoring Hilton's request to ask her about something else.
To find out which Bravo-lebrity is Hilton's aunt and other surprising star connections, check out 13 Celebrities You Had No Idea Were Related.
Hilton said she was deeply affected by the Britney Spears documentary.
Several old interviews with young, female stars have come under the microscope recently in the wake of the Britney Spears documentary Framing Britney Spears. The doc examines how Spears was talked down to and sexualized by adults in the media early in her career. Among the interviews being looked back on with fresh eyes are a chat with Jennifer Aniston where Letterman puts the actor's hair in his mouth and an Oprah appearance in which Oprah Winfrey asks Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen what clothing size they wear.
During the latest episode of her podcast, This Is Paris (per ET Online), Hilton reflected on Framing Britney Spears and how similar she felt parts of it were to her own experience. "I was heartbroken. It made me just very emotional. I was crying a lot watching it…" Hilton said on the Mar. 1 episode. "Also just relating to her in so many ways with that. It was very hard to watch. It made me really sad."
"There was a certain type of girl they targeted, that they'd never do that to a man," Hilton went on. Along with herself and Spears, she also mentioned Jessica Simpson, who was subjected to body shaming and having her intelligence mocked.
Hilton has also spoken out recently about the alleged abuse she experienced when she attended boarding school as a teenager. Find out more with Paris Hilton Just Shared "Painful" Photos Post-Alleged School Abuse.
She believes that Letterman was trying to "humiliate" her.
Hilton addressed the Letterman interview specifically during the podcast, and it seems as though she remembers it vividly still. She claimed that her team had told Letterman that her legal troubles were "off-limits" in advance of the taping, and that the host agreed to the terms. Regardless, he bombarded her with questions about jail, something that made her increasingly "uncomfortable" and "upset."
"It was like he was just purposely trying to humiliate me. During commercial breaks, I would look at him and be like, 'Please stop doing this, you promised me you wouldn't talk about this,'" she continued. "It was just very cruel and very mean. After it ended, I just looked at him and I said, 'I am never coming on this show again, you crossed a line.'"
Update: When Best Life reached out to Letterman's representatives for a comment regarding Hilton's podcast, his team pointed to the apology Letterman made in person on the show to Hilton when she did return four months after the initial interview in early 2008.
"I found out afterwards that I had offended you," Letterman said to Hilton at the time. "I felt horrible about it because I'm not here to make enemies, honestly. So I called you, and you took the call, which I thought was very nice of you, and now you're back and thank God, and I'm terribly sorry."
In response, Hilton said, "And you better not try doing it again. I hope you got the whole 'jail' thing out of your system." Afterwards, Letterman said, "I just thought we were having fun, you know? But myself never having been in prison, I understand that it's probably not fun. So we won't talk about that."
And for another interviewer being taken to task for earlier questioning, check out This Diane Sawyer Interview With Britney Spears Has People Outraged.