How Much Money Did Paris Hilton Get From Her Famous Sex Tape?

As an heir to the Conrad Hilton hotel fortune, Paris Hilton grew up in the lap of luxury, wanting for nothing. Still, the socialite longed for fame and fortune on her own terms. And, in 2001, Paris got what she wished for after a sex tape she made with then-boyfriend Rick Salomon was leaked. It may not have been the vehicle to fame she was hoping for, but there's no doubt that Paris' sex tape catapulted her to stardom and set her on the road to building her own empire.

Paris was already a Holywood "it" girl when the tape surfaced. She was regularly pictured falling out of limos and staggering out of the hottest clubs in town. She had even scored her own reality TV show, "The Simple Life," with fellow rich kid and BFF Nicole Richie. However, it was Paris' sex tape scandal that really sealed the fame deal — at an incredibly high price.

"It was extremely painful. I did not want to leave my house. I was just so depressed and so humiliated," Paris told The Guardian. Despite being a victim of what was essentially revenge porn, Paris became the subject of ridicule and scorn. "People assume 'she's a s***' just because of one thing that happened to me," she told Piers Morgan. "It's hard; I'll have to live with that for the rest of my life." But let's cut to the chase. How much money did Paris make from the tape?

The cost of one night in Paris

Paris Hilton was reeling after a sex tape she made with Rick Salomon was leaked. Like Pamela Anderson before her and Kim Kardashian after, Hilton was accused of being behind the tape's release, with accusations she'd done it to garner fame and fortune. So, did she actually make a fortune?

Following the tape's release, Hilton filed a $30 million invasion of privacy lawsuit against Red Light District Video, who distributed the tape. The New York Daily News reported in 2004 that her filing was tossed out, and she agreed to settle for a cut of the distribution profits in addition to an upfront payment of around $400,000. Meanwhile, Salomon dropped a defamation lawsuit he'd brought against Hilton.

In 2023, Hilton opened up about the trauma she suffered from the sex tape's release in "Paris: the Memoir." She said she'd never wanted to make the video, but Salomon, much older than her 18 years, had coerced her into it. "I wasn't capable of the level of trust required to make a videotape like that," she wrote. "I had to drink myself silly. Quaaludes helped. But I did it. I have to own that. I knew what he wanted, and I went with it." She said she'd wanted to "throw up" when she learned that the tape had gone public. "All I could do was cry," Hilton shared. "I felt like my life was over, and in many ways, it was."

The next chapter

In "Paris: The Memoir," Hilton said that although it was "impossible to quantify" how the sex tape affected her career, the devastation it wreaked on her family was evident. "My mom just crumpled into bed and stayed there. My dad, red-faced and furious, worked the phones, calling lawyers, calling spin doctors, trying to help me marshal any hope of damage control," she wrote.

"I felt like the whole world saw me as a sex symbol, but inside, I didn't feel that way at all," Hilton told ABC in 2023. She said that she created a fake, oversexualized image to meet public expectations. Hilton said it was "a trauma response" to the sexual abuse she suffered as a teen. Hilton shared that she was motivated to write her memoir to break down "the wall of silence and shame" she had built up.

Meanwhile, these days, Hilton is focused on a whole new chapter of her life: being a mom to her kids, Phoenix and London Reum. Hilton shares the two with her husband, Carter Reum, whom she married in November 2021. She told People that becoming a mom has changed everything and that having kids helped her prioritize what's most important, forcing her to strike a work-life balance. "My heart feels so full. I feel my life is so complete now." Hilton told Drew Barrymore. " I feel like this a whole new phase in my life," she continued.