The Hilton Family: Behind the Glitz, GlamBy John P.
The Hiltons are best known as the family behind the hotels and resorts bearing their name, but they’re also known for their high-profile scandals. Currently, Kathy Hilton is drawing attention to her family on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which has revived a lot of talk about this celebrity family.
If money, drama, and scandal come to mind when you think of the Hiltons, that is because these issues have been very much a part of the family’s history. With their recent legal troubles and Kathy Hilton’s media appearances, people are paying greater attention to the family’s darker side. If you’re ready to learn what lies beneath the glitz, glam, and money, read on to discover the Hilton family’s darkest secrets.
Kathy had limited success as a child actor
Kathy Hilton is the younger sister of hotel heiress and reality television show host Kim Richards. Like her older sister, Kathy entered the entertainment business at a young age. Her first roles were as a child in 1970s sitcoms such as Nanny and the Professor and Family Affair. However, she left acting to go into a different line of work for much of her adult life.
While her half-sister Kim scored notable roles in things like the fantasy sci-fi film Escape to Witch Mountain, Kathy Hilton never secured a standout part during her acting career. Of course, that didn’t bother her a bit since she had bigger ambitions outside of acting.
Endless scandals on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
When she was an actress, Kathy only appeared in a few television shows. She has, however, jumped at the chance to appear in reality shows. Most recently, she slipped back into the spotlight after appearing as a “friend” on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Keep WatchingKathy Hilton has made appearances on the show since its first season, thanks to her half-sisters Kim and Kyle joining the cast. Some viewers have enjoyed her presence; others have not been as keen on Kathy. She has often been shown sharing blunt comments about her family members’ clothing choices and appearance.
The Hiltons don’t always get along
In spite of the occasional spark of tension between Kathy and Kyle, it was rare to see drama between the sisters on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. But there was one point when Kathy felt that Kyle’s behavior threatened their relationship. That happened a few years ago, and the argument related to the comedy series American Woman, which was inspired by childhood memories of Kyle’s.
Kathy was said to have been upset because of the things her sister included in the show. She reportedly stopped talking to Kyle, which prompted a discussion on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills about their sisterly relationship. Kyle stated she was not trying to tell Kathy’s or Kim’s stories, only her own.
The Hiltons favored Kim over Kyle
Kathy Hilton and Kyle Richards developed a tense relationship that became a running plotline on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. On the show, Kim Richards admitted to being closer with Kathy, while Kyle had a more distant relationship with her sister.
Revealing her friendship with Kathy, Kim said that they spoke every day, frequently ate together, and so on, whereas neither of them shared such a strong relationship with Kyle. Just because one person isn’t close to another doesn’t mean there’s hatred coursing between them. However, this pre-existing divide between Kathy and Kyle meant that it would never take much for them to become enemies.
The Never-ending grudge
While Kyle Richards – one of the stars of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – is not known to be a bad person, it’s not surprising that she’s had fights with people. During her time on the show, she has been known to clash with various other women, particularly her sister, Kim.
While Kim’s issues with drinking and Kyle’s alleged theft of her mother’s home may have made for good television, the two have had to deal with the emotional turmoil of their turbulent relationship. At the end of season five, Kim left the show. While the two have since made up, it’s clear that this family tends to hold grudges.
Conflicts over their husbands
Apparently, the issues between Kathy and Kim may date back to their husbands’ work in real estate. Rick Hilton founded a real estate brokerage firm named Hilton and Hyland along with Mauricio Umansky, Kyle’s husband.
Mauricio Umansky had been working for the Hilton Agency for years when he finally left to set up his own firm, The Agency, in 2007. Mauricio took some of Hilton’s clients with him when he left and reportedly sent an email announcing this decision. This led to a rift between the two men, and their wives took sides with their husbands.
Kathy and Lisa’s friendship
As a former star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa Vanderpump had a friendship with Kyle that also went through a roller-coaster ride. The friendship ultimately fell apart during season nine, after Lisa felt betrayed by Kyle and decided it was time for them to part ways.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Lisa is going to give up her friendship with Kathy. Shortly after Vanderpump left, Hilton told US Weekly, “No one can replace her.” Likewise, Lisa believes Kathy’s casting on the show was a good choice because “she won’t take any nonsense.”
Blood is thicker than water
Although Kathy and Kyle have had their share of disagreements, it appears that they are on good terms again. It seems that the main reason Kathy joined The Real Housewives was to spend more time with her sister. She told friends that she “really missed” her sister and appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with her.
Kathy has said that she doesn’t intend to join the show as a full-time cast member. She is also unsure if she’ll return for season 12. However, she does admit that the show has helped her strengthen the sisterly bond she shares with Kyle Richards.
Accusations flew between the Hilton’s and their housekeeper
Although Kathy Hilton and her sister Kyle have patched up their relationship, it seems that the family isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Someone who definitely isn’t a fan is Isabel Gonzalez Hernandez. In 2019, Hernandez sued the Hiltons for wrongful termination, saying that the family had not treated her well while she worked as their housekeeper.
When Isabel Hernandez filed a lawsuit claiming that the Hiltons did not pay her overtime, give her rest breaks, or allow her to keep the money she earned, Kathy Hilton, who had responded to the lawsuit in an earlier press conference, said that Hernandez stole $100,000 worth of jewelry from their home. The Hilton’s even said that any reward Isabel would receive should be used to pay them back.
Allegedly gatecrashing a party
The younger members of the Hilton family are known for their wild partying, but it seems that Kathy and Rick are just as likely to run amok in a nightclub. The pair apparently crashed a Cosmopolitan party to celebrate the magazine’s 50th anniversary in 2015.
Although the couple reportedly hadn’t been invited to the event, they still made an appearance on the red carpet. Their rep claims that this isn’t true and that they were actually invited to the party by Kris Jenner. It doesn’t matter what the truth is because it’s obvious these two love a good party.
Taking advantage of their power
Despite their reputation for being spoiled, the Hilton family is said to be unfazed by special treatment. The Hiltons are known for throwing lavish parties, but you’ll be surprised to hear that they don’t always get the royal treatment in their own hotels.
Conrad Hilton insisted that his relatives not take advantage of the staff or its amenities. Supposedly, that rule was often broken by his daughter Kathy and her husband Rick. Staff members are generally afraid to deny the couple’s demands since it’s likely that they will one day take control of the hotel empire.
Never forgetting to give back
When Conrad’s son Barron died, he made sure his family wouldn’t mismanage his wealth by leaving most of it to charity. Around 97% of his fortune went into the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which the Hiltons say they use to help millions of people around the world today.
This was the same move his father made shortly before he passed away. Barron had actually contested his father’s will, which makes you wonder why he then continued his father’s legacy of funding humanitarian work while ensuring that the rest of the Hilton clan had to find their own sources of income.
Not all of the Hiltons led a glamorous life
The Hilton children have had no difficulty establishing themselves, despite being apparently left out of the will. The oldest of the family’s four siblings, Barron, was born to a different mother along with his two brothers who were also born to Mary Adelaide Barron. The youngest daughter, on the other hand, was born to Zsa Zsa Gabor.
When Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton hotel chain, died in 1979, he left his final child, Francesca, with just $100,000 to be paid out over 15 years and a trust fund invested in stocks and bonds. Francesca was left to fend for herself after this money ran out, so she took odd jobs until eventually living out of her car.
The Hiltons have lost a lot of money
Conrad Hilton lost several properties in the Great Depression, at one point coming close to having to file for bankruptcy. He worked hard to reverse his fortune, and all his efforts eventually paid off. Hilton managed to keep most of his hotels and become the magnate he’s remembered as being today.
When Conrad Hilton was on the verge of bankruptcy, he asked one of his bellhops for a loan. The bellhop agreed to the deal, and Hilton bought some property with the money. If it weren’t for this risky investment, Hilton would never have managed to get his company in order and become a huge success.
The importance of money
Kathy’s mother only supported her daughter’s marriage to Rick because of all the money in the Hilton bank account. It seems that Kathy’s mother taught her daughters from an early age to marry men who have money. According to Thought Catalog, Big Kathy told her kids they should have plenty of children of their own.
It’s unclear whether Kathy Hilton took her mother’s advice to heart or not, but it doesn’t really matter. Kathy lived her life exactly as her mother had wanted her to – married with four kids by the time she was in her 20s.
Kathy’s late mother apparently took a close interest in her daughters’ lives. According to the biography House of Hilton, however, she may have gone overboard with some unsettling claims about Kathy. Big Kathy allegedly arranged a “physical intimacy lesson” for Kathy in the back of a van.
Sylvia Richards, the widow of Ken Richards (Kim and Kyle Richards’ father), claims Kathy’s mother was eager for Kathy to learn everything about intimacy because she believed it would help her bag a rich husband. Most people feel a parent should not involve herself in such a personal matter. However, the rich and famous lead very different lives to most of us.
Wild claims about “Big Kathy” and her behavior
Kathy’s mother had an influence on her life in many ways, not the least of which being her ability to create controversy. This includes the rumor that “Big Kathy” got her hands on another man when he was still married to his first wife.
The story goes that when Kathy wanted Ken, she didn’t care who she had to go through to get him. The House of Hilton author claims that Kathy once put something in Ken’s wife’s drink at a bar then shut her ankle in a car door. Kathy even reportedly cooked a screw into his daughter’s cheeseburger.
More than just a walk down the aisle
Paris Hilton’s great-uncle, Rick Hilton, knows that marriage is about more than just a walk down the aisle. Sure, celebrity marriages often end in divorce, but judging by Rick and wife Kathleen Hilton’s 41-year marriage, he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is.
Rick and Kathy have been married since 1979. They met as classmates in college, got married soon after, and are still husband and wife decades later. In their family, the words “gold digger” have been used to describe some women who marry for money. But Kathy wasn’t like that. She wanted love, not riches.
Conrad’s interesting love life
Kathy’s romantic history differs greatly from that of her in-laws, including Rick’s uncle Conrad Hilton Junior. Rick’s uncle made a name for himself by dating celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, with whom he was briefly married in the 1950s.
Conrad Hilton married his first wife, Elizabeth Taylor, in 1950. Their marriage was short-lived, however, as the two reportedly grew to dislike one another after a few months of marriage. Conrad was also reportedly involved with actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was his stepmother at the time.
A new generation of scandals
Paris Hilton’s personal life has been the subject of much tabloid fodder. The socialite and celebutante has been linked to a number of men, but only a few have made it as far as engagement. She was reportedly engaged to Jason Shaw in 2002, Paris Latsis in 2004, and most recently, Chris Zylka in 2018.
Paris Hilton has always been unlucky in love, but she’s hopeful that her relationship with Carter Reum will be the one to change all that. The blonde beauty is currently engaged to Reum after meeting him at the end of 2019. Before this, Hilton was in relationships with other men, including Benji Madden, Stavros Niarchos, Doug Reinhardt, and Nick Carter.
Paris’ childhood was not the best
With a name like Hilton, you might expect Paris’ life to have been a breeze. From a young age, she was protected from many of the challenges most people must face in their lives, but she’s also been through many adversities.
The documentary This Is Paris alleges that when Hilton was a teenager, she was sent to a residential behavioral school where she claims the staff enjoyed torturing children. Hilton has made several allegations against the facility. She says she was beaten, forced into solitary confinement, and given prescription drugs.
A way to improve her image
Given the allegations about what went on at the school, Paris Hilton’s parents must feel pretty bad about it. But Kathy and Rick may not have been entirely innocent in all this. Paris was reportedly abducted from her home in the middle of the night to be taken to the reform school.
Paris Hilton recently spoke about how terrifying it was to be sent to a behavioral school in such a way. She called for her parents to help, but they did not come. The next day, everything was explained, and the family brushed it off as if nothing had happened. This revelation turned some fans against Kathy Hilton. Many people believe that she joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills just to improve her image. However, Kathy denies this accusation.
Haunted by the past
Today, most people understand why Paris Hilton behaved the way she did in the early 2000s. We now know that her behavior stemmed from her troubled childhood. Regrettably, we can’t change the past. This is something Paris knows all too well, given that she’s still haunted by some of the stuff that went on in the early 2000s.
The intimate tape of Paris Hilton and Rick Salomon that came out in 2003 was a double-edged sword. It gave her fame, but it also made her a target for mockery. She didn’t want the world to see such an intimate part of her life, so it definitely was an invasion of her privacy.
The Dark side of fame
In the early 2000s, many famous young people ended up in trouble with the law. Paris Hilton was one of those people, along with Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. All this fame and attention opened up many doors for Paris, giving her opportunities to be an actress, businesswoman, and model. However, it also brought her a lot of negative attention.
Paris Hilton has had to deal with stalkers and burglars over the years due to her fame. She was a victim of the Bling Ring – a group of thieves who broke into homes of celebrities between 2008 and 2009 for money, jewelry, and other items. They took hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items from Ms. Hilton, but it probably didn’t help that she left a key under her doormat.
Taken out of context
Paris Hilton has had her ups and downs in the eye of the public. The LGBTQ community, however, seems to always be there for her. While some people have always looked down on Paris, others have done what they can to build her up. Some of these fans were dismayed when they heard about Hilton’s controversial 2012 comments criticizing the community.
Paris apologized for upsetting fans after a recording of her in a taxi cab was released. The recording appears to show Hilton criticizing members of the LGBT community and making inappropriate comments about them. Paris defended herself, saying that she was only speaking to a close friend and did not intend to upset anyone with her remarks.
A woman who has done it all
Paris Hilton has been called a socialite, a businesswoman, a DJ, a singer, and a model in her time. You may wish to throw “actress” into that mix as well. Though some may question the validity of giving Hilton this title, she’s had some successful roles in her time.
While Paris Hilton has occasionally been involved in successful projects, their success did not rely on her presence. In fact, The Hottie and the Nottie – a film on which Paris was an executive producer – is widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever made. It seems her success wasn’t to be found in Hollywood.
Paris Hilton’s Problematic Past
The hotel heiress has hinted that she’s ready to settle down and start a family now that she’s in her 40s. This is a departure from the Paris of the early 2000s, who never seemed able to stay out of trouble.
Paris Hilton has had quite a bit of trouble with the law in the past. In 2006, she was arrested for driving while drunk. Her license was suspended, and she was placed on probation for 36 months. However, it wasn’t much later that she was caught driving under the influence again – twice! She served three weeks in jail as punishment.
The trouble continues…
After her first run-in with the law, Paris’s legal troubles continued. In 2010, she was arrested for possession of illegal substances and tried to get out of the charges by claiming that the bag the drugs were found in wasn’t hers.
She protested that the bag couldn’t possibly belong to her because it came from a high street store rather than a high fashion brand. However, the discovery of personal items in the purse prompted her to retract that statement. She didn’t go to jail, but she was denied entry into Japan for a press conference due to the country’s strict no-drug policy.
An unfortunate coincidence
It seems that more than one member of the Hilton family has dabbled in illegal substances in the past. Back in 2014, it emerged that traffickers had been using an airstrip on a property owned by members of the family. Police reportedly found nearly 900 pounds of marijuana and $1.5 million at their Rancho Horizonte farm.
The prosecutor said the farm was connected with several shareholders, including the Hiltons. However, investigators discovered no evidence that anyone in the Hilton family had been actively involved in or even knew about what was happening on their property. It was simply an unfortunate coincidence that all this trafficking had been happening on a property that had “Hilton” attached to it.
The young Conrad was also a troublemaker
Paris Hilton’s brushes with the law may have taught her a lesson. In recent years, she’s been much more reserved. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like everyone in the Hilton family was paying attention to her mistakes. Conrad Hilton III has had some legal troubles of his own recently, including an incident on an airplane.
The younger brother of socialite Paris Hilton has caused quite a stir in recent years. Back in 2014, on a flight from London to LA, he allegedly called passengers “peasants” and intimidated airline crew members. He also reportedly threatened people and punched the bulkhead of the airplane. Luckily for him, he avoided going to prison – for now.
Ignoring the problem was no use
Conrad Hilton III wasn’t able to avoid going to prison, although he did manage to evade it for a while. In June 2016, Conrad was sentenced to spend two months in prison after violating his probation by using illegal substances. Naturally, this was disappointing news for the Hiltons, as shown by this statement from Kathy Hilton, Conrad’s mother: “The court has spoken, and we respect their decision.”
The Hiltons were obviously disappointed by Conrad’s behavior, but it’s no surprise that things got this bad. Kathy and Rick have allegedly been concerned about their son for years and have tried to “hide” from the reality of the situation by “deflecting”. However, they couldn’t pretend that these problems didn’t exist forever.
Things got out of hand
Conrad tried to keep his nose clean, but after upsetting people on a plane one time and violating his probation later, he decided to follow in his sister’s footsteps and have a period of troublemaking with cars. This included stealing a car from his ex-girlfriend’s father.
Coincidentally, the father was Rick Salomon, who had filmed that intimate tape with Paris back in the early ’00s. Conrad got a restraining order against his ex after the split, yet he still stole their car and clipped another vehicle while drifting from lane to lane.
Conrad made a huge mess
After his arrest, Conrad Hilton’s behavior was appalling. Not only had he stolen Salomon’s car, but he also proceeded to insult the judge when he came to court. Hilton even claimed that the cops that arrested him had touched him inappropriately.
Conrad’s behavior was reminiscent of the 2014 flight incident, after which he was forced to attend a half-year residential treatment program. Although there were hopes that things would get better in time, it’s now obvious that they didn’t. Hopefully, after some more time has passed, he can learn to control his emotions better.
A tough battle to fight
One reason Kathy and Rick weren’t shocked by Conrad’s various troubles is that they knew he had been struggling with substance abuse for years. His alleged drug use started in high school, and by all reports, no one could stop him from using. Conrad’s arrest might have given him the push he needed to beat his problems.
People with addictions are always going to have at least a few demons to face. Conrad’s aunt Kim is a great example of this. She was diagnosed as an alcoholic and got sober at the beginning of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but then she relapsed a few years later. Fortunately, she found the strength to get back on track once again.
Out of the public eye
Paris and Conrad have attracted much of the negative press that the Hilton family has received in recent years. They have kept the Hilton name relevant but not always for the best reasons. Young Barron is a much lower-profile Hilton member.
Barron Hilton has taken a different route from the rest of his family. Most of his relatives have been involved in the public eye since birth, or at least since their father bought out the company that would become the hotel chain Hilton. Barron, on the other hand, is enjoying a quiet life with his wife and a smaller set of responsibilities in his life outside of work.
While Barron hasn’t been as much of a media darling as Paris and Conrad, he has had his fair share of misadventures. The most notable came in 2008 when he got behind the wheel after having indulged in a few drinks. He ended up hitting Fernando Telez, a gas station attendant who was reportedly left paralyzed from the incident.
The Hilton family was found liable, and a judge awarded $4.5 million to Fernando Telez in a civil suit. Although the Hiltons weren’t short of cash, it was still a large sum to have to pay. Adding to the speculation over how much their son needed his parents’ help, Kathy and Rick put their Bel Air mansion up for sale at $10 million.
Nicki Hilton’s hotel empire wasn’t a success
Most of Kathy and Rick Hilton’s children have settled down and put their past dramas behind them. Nicky Hilton Rothschild, the first of the four siblings to marry, has done this by marrying twice. She tied the knot to Todd Meister in 2004 but later married businessman James Rothschild in 2015.
James Rothschild’s second marriage to Nicky Hilton has been smooth sailing so far, and Nicki has given birth to two children. She hasn’t had a scandal to rival her siblings’, but her biggest failure came in the late 2000s when her hotel venture failed after just one year.
Wedding day dramas
In 2015, when Nicky and James tied the knot, they were hoping for a happy and drama-free ceremony. Unfortunately, many important guests from the Hilton side of the event were missing – most notably, Nicki’s brother Conrad, her aunt Kim, and her uncle Mauricio.
Conrad was supposedly attending court, although little is known about his exact whereabouts. As for Kim, she had been taken away to a rehabilitation center for addiction treatment. As for Mauricio, he had been prohibited from attending the event due to his unfriendly attitude towards Rick and his company at the time.
Tarnishing the Hilton name
The Hilton name has been in the public eye for over a century. Unfortunately, its reputation hasn’t always been great. The hotel empire established by Conrad Hilton has helped the family name survive, but the bad publicity from his grandkids has done some damage.
Of course, Paris and Conrad III aren’t solely to blame for the family’s bad reputation. For example, Conrad Hilton Junior’s alleged relationship with his stepmother, Zsa Zsa Gabor, left a stain on the Hilton name as well. However, newer generations get the most attention in the media nowadays, so it feels like they make the biggest impact.
Better days ahead
Although Paris has made some poor decisions over the years, she’s also done a lot of positive things. She works hard and sets up new businesses, which is impressive. She took a difficult situation and turned it into a career opportunity, which demonstrates tenacity and strength.
Although Conrad gets into trouble more frequently than his sister Paris, he can still redeem himself if he gets his act together. If their mother’s recent success on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is any indication, things might be looking up for the Hilton family.