Paris Hilton is known for a lot of things.
Being timid when it comes to matters of the heart is not one of them.
No matter where you fall on the Paris fan scale, from admiring her business acumen and early mastery of personal branding to wondering what, exactly, it is that she does, there's something endlessly endearing about her lasting love affair with love—a subject she could easily approach with the cynicism of someone who's been dating in the public eye for 20 years, but instead celebrates with the fresh bloom of a thousand roses.
"When we first met, I had no idea of the amazing journey I was about to embark on. My life was always empty, like I was missing something," she wrote on Instagram in tribute to boyfriend Carter Reum on Aug. 29. "But when I met you, I knew you were the one. You've filled my heart with so much love. I believe that everything happens for a reason because everything in my life, all the good and the bad, has led me right to you."
"You are my fairytale and dream come true," she wrote in June, and days ago she called him "the man who steals my heart, makes my heart flutter, sweeps me off my feet, and puts butterflies in my stomach. I love all our memories and adventures together."
Now that is tackling romance with gusto.
At the same time, as much as she relishes falling hard and fast, she's proven equally adept at not getting carried away when it matters. (As in, at the point where lawyers would have to get involved.)
"I feel like the luckiest girl in the world," she said on The Jenny McCarthy Show last year, about six months after calling off her engagement to Chris Zylka. "Just to feel single and free...I just feel more alive than ever, and I know myself better than ever. I'm just excited."
Agreeing with McCarthy that getting older has its benefits, Hilton added, "I feel so wise."
A common refrain, actually, for the former socialite and Simple Life star when she's in between relationships, the hotel heiress always choosing to look on the bright side of a breakup.
But her eternal optimism when it comes to being in love, or not being in love, is just one side of the story. And the 39-year-old DJ, painter and purveyor of fragrances and skincare line ProD.N.A. by Paris Hilton was recently busy rattling people's expectations in the upcoming YouTube Originals documentary This Is Paris, premiering Sept. 14, which she has heralded as an unprecedented look at the real her.
"Obviously, I'm used to being on camera from being on camera for so long," she explained to Jimmy Kimmel Live guest host Nikki Glaser in July. "But I've always been a very naturally shy person. So, I loved just inventing this character and playing that character. And to actually be myself was a completely different experience, but also almost therapeutic in some way where I learned so much about myself that I had no idea of why I am the way I am, and now I understand myself so much more."
One of the things she talks about in This Is Paris is having trust issues in relationships, as she's seen setting up a spy-cam in her house and revealing a stockpile of laptops she has acquired because, seemingly every time she has a new boyfriend, he demands access to her computer, or helps himself to it anyway. There was also the time an ex lost his temper and smashed her laptop against the wall. Subsequently, she gets herself a new computer when she starts dating someone.
She's "been betrayed so many times, so she has a tough time trusting people and letting people in," younger sister Nicky Hilton Rothschild says in the film.
So while Paris has been first to admit that she dives into love head first when she does find it, she hasn't exactly had the wild, devil-may-care existence that her erstwhile party girl image tended to suggest.
Yes, she went out a lot, and there is a museum's worth of photographs to prove it. But just being seen in the company of (and sometimes making out with) the who's who of young male Hollywood didn't necessarily mean something else was going on—or that she wasn't simply having fun, just like the guys she was sharing the kisses with, none of whom ever ended up quite so judged.
"People think I sleep with everyone, but I'm not like that," Hilton told British GQ in 2006. "Kissing is all I do. I'm not having sex for a year. I've decided...I'll kiss, but nothing else."
She explained, "The reason so many of my relationships don't work is guys are like, 'Hey, what's going on? It's been like four months and I'm only getting a kiss here. I feel good about [putting sex on pause]. I like the way guys get so crazy when they can't have sex with you. If he can't have you, he stays interested. The moment he has you, he's gone. Unless he is really in love with you."
Nevertheless, spotting Hilton out in the wild back in those glitter-dusted days was a full-time job—and she was well aware that people couldn't get enough of her exploits.
And if she does decide to get married one of these days (a source told Us Weekly in January that a "proposal and wedding could happen very quickly"), she never has to worry that she didn't make the most of her single life:
In August, her Instagram by then littered with photos, videos and collages featuring them kissing, she wrote: "One day you will kiss someone and know those are the lips you want to kiss forever."
Hilton's also been posting a lot of throwbacks of their snowy trip to Montana's Yellowstone Club during the winter, and they've done a bunch of traveling since—wine country in Napa, the Hamptons, Traverse City, Mich. (known for its National Cherry Festival!)—as well as enjoying the beaches of Malibu closer to home.
And she sounds really, really happy. "You are my reason for me being so happy and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world!" Hilton wrote to Reum a week ago. "I love making you happy and promise to make you smile forever. Love so much handsome! Happy anniversary!"