Britney Spears was hounded by the media in the lead-up to her mental health crisis. Isaac Brekken/Jerod Harris/Getty)
Perez Hilton apologised “privately” to Britney Spears for the way he treated her during her mental health crisis more than a decade ago.
The gay gossip blogger made a name for himself in the 00s for his often ruthless take on celebrity life – and he has come under particular scrutiny in recent weeks for his treatment of Spears.
The “Toxic” singer was hounded by some media outlets in the lead-up to her 2008 breakdown, and Hilton’s website was at the fore. Following Heath Ledger’s death in January 2008, Hilton sold t-shirts showing Ledger in Brokeback Mountain alongside the message: “Why couldn’t it be Britney?”
Speaking to Chanel Omari on the Chanel in the City podcast, Hilton said he has apologised to Spears on several occasions throughout the years, but he apologised again in December 2020 after going through a “big emotional break”.
Hilton said he doesn’t “deny” the things he said about Spears in the lead-up to her mental health crisis, but said he prefers not to “verbalise” what he did.
“I know it was awful, and so does everybody else,” he said. “And like I’ve said repeatedly, I’ve apologised to Britney long before this documentary, repeatedly throughout the years, in various different ways, on my website, on my YouTube, on my podcast, on my social media, in interviews, in my memoir. I’ve apologised to her privately as well.”
Hilton went on to praise Spears as “gracious” and said “everything was good” between them in the years after her breakdown.
Perez Hilton apologised to Britney Spears after having a ‘big emotional break’.
He continued: “I don’t want to get into details, but I did apologise to Britney recently. Actually, I’ll say when: in December. I don’t need to go into details about how, but I went through this big emotional break in December… and one of the things I wanted to do… it’s kind of like the things people do in 12 step programmes, they’ll reach out to people that they have wronged and apologise, and even though I had apologised before, there’s nothing wrong with apologising again, or differently, so I did. And she was one of the few people that I reached out to in December.”
Hilton went on to say that his “emotional break” was “needed”.
“Oftentimes a depression can be a good thing for somebody because it can really force you and push you to create really positive and hopefully long lasting change,” he said.
Elsewhere in the interview, Hilton said he agrees that Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, should be removed from her conservatorship, the complex legal arrangement she has been in for more than a decade.
Hilton added: “I understand that so many fans just want answers, but is it our place to know everything? I don’t think so.”
The gossip blogger is one of many journalists, broadcasters and commentators who have faced backlash since the New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears was released.
Hilton has faced scrutiny over comments he made about Britney Spears when her mental health was on a downward trajectory 13 years ago.
He branded her an “unfit parent” and made repeated jokes about her mental state.
Spears, arguably in the ultimate act of revenge, later hired Hilton to play the evil queen in a recorded introduction for her Circus tour in 2009. She later brought him on-stage during a show in 2014, suggesting that there was no bad blood, despite his coverage of her mental health issues.