The Paris Hilton post-penitentiary bonanza continued on Wednesday night, as the party girl-turned-ex-con gave her first TV interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”
As usual, Paris arrived to the CNN studios accompanied by a swarm of paparazzi. As she exited her car in a white lace dress, she waved to fans and made her way into the building before getting into the elevator and going to talk with King.
Once upstairs, King shared a hug with her before the two spoke about her experience behind bars and what life has been like since she got out.
Among the things Paris revealed during the interview were her feelings during her first night back in jail.
“So when you go back in and you walk back into that cell again, how did you feel that first night?” King asked her.
“I was obviously very upset. I was just talking to myself saying, ‘Paris be strong. You can do this,’” she explained.
King also asked what she expected when she was ordered to return to court the second time and the celebutante admitted she was not prepared to be sent back to jail.
“Do you think the judge was unkind?” he asked.
“It wasn’t for a DUI. It was for a suspended license. I was walking in there assuming I was just going to get community service. That’s what my lawyer said at the time,” she revealed.
King asked Paris about the night she turned herself in and how she chose to spend her last few hours of freedom.
“They see you at the MTV Awards walking the red carpet. Doesn’t that look like a contradiction?” he asked.
“Actually, I was playing a trick on everyone,” she contends. “I thought if I went to the MTV Awards and snuck out during the show, I could get [to the jail] unnoticed.”
And while some questioned her public appearance the night before her incarceration, eyebrows are also being raised by her rush to get back in front of the cameras.
“Why do any interview?” King asked.
“I just want to let people know what I went through,” she said. “Ive been through a lot and it was a pretty traumatic experience, something I really? Ive grown from and when I heard you asked me to be on the show I was excited.”
“What have the last two days been like?” King followed.
“It’s been pretty overwhelming. I’ve been confined for three-and-a-half weeks in a little cell, so it’s just overwhelming just to be out and be free again,” Paris added.
As she was released just minutes after midnight, hordes of news crews and paparazzi were there to capture every step of her walk to freedom, which was capped off by a happy hop as she greeted her mother Kathy in an awaiting car.
So what was going through her mind during those first few moments of being out of jail?
“It was one of the happiest days of my life. Like, its hard to even describe. It was so exciting even being in the fresh air and looking up at the sky and the stars and being outside and then it was just pandemonium and as soon as I saw my mom I just ran to her to give her a hug,” Paris said. “That was really exciting for me.”
But perhaps her time served wasn’t all bad, as she told King it was a relief not to have to worry about being hounded by the paparazzi.
“It was nice to be away from the flashes for awhile,” she smiled, adding she was treated professionally by the guards.
“I was treated like every other inmate no better, no worse,” she said.
However one thing she can’t speak well of was the food.
“The food was horrible. It was jail food, it’s not supposed to be good,” she said. “Lunch was basically a baloney sandwich. They call it mystery meat. It’s pretty scary. Two pieces of bread and some mayonnaise.”
And although her fellow inmates were nice to her, Hilton said, she sometimes had nightmares in which she feared someone would break into her cell and hurt her.
Paris dismissed reports of drastic weight loss while serving her sentence.
“I only lost a couple pounds,” she noted.
King also asked Paris about her initial release when authorities allowed her to go due to a mystery illness. So what was it?
“I’ve suffered from claustrophobia my entire life and when I first got into that cell I was having severe panic attacks and anxiety attacks. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating. The doctors talked to the Sheriff and he could see it would just be better if I did it on house arrest,” she explained. “She thought it would be better for everyone for me just to be at home.”
And of course, the question on everyone’s mind did time behind bars actually change her?
“Yeah, definitely. I have a new outlook on life,” she claimed. “After being there awhile, I had to accept 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.’”
Following his interview with Paris, King spoke with fellow CNN anchor Paula Zahn to share his thoughts on the interview and Paris’ outlook on everything that’s happened.
“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” King said. “There’s kind of a denial over having done anything wrong. She thinks she got a raw deal. On the other hand, she said she used jail for her benefit. All we can do is interview her and then let the audience make a judgment.”
King also shared some of the ways Paris said she plans to change her life.
“She said she’s going to get involved in charity work, she’s going to go forward with her businesses, doing two movies this summer, be less involved in parties and change the scope of the way she looks at life,” King told Zahn. “I think we shall see what we shall see.”