Childhood & Early Life
Perez Hilton was born as Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr. was born on March 23, 1978, in Miami, Florida, to Cuban parents Mario Sr. and Teresita Lavandeira. When he was only 15, his father, who owned a wallpaper company, died of brain aneurysm, one week after his grandfather passed away.
He attended the all-boys Catholic school Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami, from which he graduated in 1996. He received a scholarship to New York University and later did his B.F.A. in Drama from The Tisch School of the Arts in May 2000.
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In the early 2000s, while struggling as an actor, Perez Hilton served as a publishing manager for the LGBT rights organization GLAAD and was the managing editor of the gay men's magazine ‘Instinct’. He also worked as a freelance writer for gay publications and was a receptionist at the NYC gay events club Urban Outings.
He made his first appearance on television on the episode ‘Fortunate Son’ in the third season of ‘The Sopranos’ in 2001. The same year, he also acted in the short film, ‘Help Wanted’, and the horror movie, ‘Campfire Stories’.
He was a contestant on the VH1 reality weight loss show, ‘Flab To Fab’, in the episode ‘Madonna Style’ in 2004. Originally weighing 206 lbs, with 30% body fat and a 41" waist, he lost a total of 45 lbs within three months.
He started the blog, PageSixSixSix.com, in September 2004, not as a personal diary, but to write about celebrities “because they're far more entertaining”. Within six months, his blog earned notoriety as ‘Hollywood's Most-Hated Website’ after ‘The Insider’ reported on it on March 11, 2005.
Already famous by his stage name Perez Hilton, he bagged his own reality television show on VH1, ‘What Perez Sez’, in July 2007. The first of the six episodes of the show aired on September 11, 2007.
He announced the death of Cuban President Fidel Castro on August 17, 2007. However, no major media outlet backed his claim, and on September 21, 2007, Castro mocked his death rumors on Cuban television.
In August 2007, he appeared as a contestant on the MTV reality show ‘Celebrity Rap Superstar’, but was eliminated on week 6. The next month, he hosted one episode of ‘Best of MADtv’.
In 2008, he made a guest appearance in the comedy film, ‘Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!’ The same year, he also appeared in the reality TV shows ‘Queen Bees’ and ‘Paris Hilton's My New BFF: Casting Special’.
He released the single, ‘The Clap’, composed and produced by Lucian Piane, in 2008. He has been featured in a number of music videos including Simple Plan's ‘When I'm Gone’, The Pussycat Dolls's ‘Hush Hush’, and Rihanna's ‘S&M’.
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He co-hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2008 and was a presenter at the MuchMusic Video Awards in 2009. On September 9, 2009, he confessed on ‘The Tyra Banks Show’ that he regrets his wrong reporting of Castro’s death.
In 2009, he featured on five episodes of the series ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’. Starting that year, he has been the reunion host of the reality TV show ‘Bad Girls Club’ for many seasons.
He produced and hosted the ITV2 television series, ‘Perez Hilton Superfan’ in December 2011. He acted in the 2011 drama film ‘Going Down in LA-LA Land’.
He became a housemate on the fifteenth season of the British reality series, ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ in January 2015, but was evicted on February 4th. His recent film credits include ‘Most Likely to Die’ and ‘Meet the Blacks’.
Controversy & Lawsuits
Irish actor, Colin Farrell, filed a lawsuit against him on July 18, 2005 for posting links to his sex tape. On November 30, 2006, the photo agency X17Online sought over US$7.5 million in damages from him for copyright infringement.
Universal Studios filed a lawsuit against him on February 20, 2007 for posting illegally copied footage of ‘The Break-Up’ featuring Jennifer Aniston. He was served another lawsuit by the photo agency PhotoNews on April 26, 2007 for using copyrighted material.
On October 11, 2007, he faced a lawsuit from Zomba Label Group for illegally posting Britney Spears songs on his blog. In another lawsuit by DJ Samantha Ronson, he was awarded $85,000 on January 23, 2008.
As a judge at the Miss USA 2009 pageant, he made derogatory comments about Carrie Prejean, a contestant who did not support gay-marriage, for which he was criticized by politicians and gay rights activists alike. He also provoked rapper will.i.am at 2009 MuchMusic Video Awards after party, an incident which caused GLAAD to ask him to apologize.
He was at the receiving end of severe online criticism after he claimed that Michael Jackson’s cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009, which eventually killed the pop legend, was a publicity stunt. His long friendship with Lady Gaga ended in late 2011 for unknown reasons, following which he started making negative posts about her.
Personal Life & Legacy
Perez Hilton has a younger sister named Barbara Lavandeira, who made an appearance on ‘Big Brother's Bit on the Side’. His mother and sister started living with him in his Los Angeles apartment in 2007.
His first child, Mario Armando Lavandeira III, conceived with a donor egg and carried by a surrogate mother, was born on February 16, 2013. He had a daughter, Mia Alma Lavandeira, on May 9, 2015, via surrogacy.