Perez Hilton once thought nothing of outing closeted gay celebrities and drawing tasteless doodles on paparazzi shots of various stars. Such antics gained him millions of followers and led to books and television appearances.
But Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, now says he has left those toxic ways behind him and has embraced a more positive way to conduct himself both professionally and personally.
'I am someone who has made many mistake in my past,' he admits to Gay Star News. 'I'm approaching everything, even in my private life and not just publicly, I'm trying to be more compassionate and understanding and focusing on the positive.'
He has shed 80 pounds and arrived at last week's 45th anniversary party for The Advocate magazine in Beverly Hills radiating good health.
'I feel great, better than ever really,' he said. 'I am happier than ever. I feel there is a real link between physical happiness and spiritual happiness.'
Even though he is no longer doing things on his PerezHilton.com website like linking to a sex tape featuring Colin Farrell or to sex photos of Dustin Lance Black or outing Lance Bass, Hilton says business is still booming.
'Just as physical health and emotional health are tied together, everything else is tied together. I think I'm doing better and my business is doing better. I'm so excited and happy. … I realized recently that I have not yet reached my full potential and I'm focused in that.'
Hilton recently turned 34 and says he has not plans to ferret out the work on his websites to anyone else.
'I don' think Oprah [Winfrey] ever works any less hard. I'm ambitious, I think I can do it all. I want to do it all.'
Speaking of Winfrey, Hilton appeared on Oprah's Lifeclass on Tour Monday (2 April) and was asked by Winfrey if he was sorry for the things he had done and the people he had hurt.
'I want to apologize to everyone,' he said. 'In the past, I put out tons of negative energy out there. … I want to put exponential amounts of positive energy out there going forward.'
When an audience member expressed doubt about the new Perez, he said: 'Do I regret things? Absolutely. I'd rather be less wise and not have hurt people. However, I can't erase the past. … I'm just trying to do better in the future, from the bottom of my heart.'
Winfrey encouraged the audience to give Hilton the benefit of the doubt pointing out that she herself 'could be very pissed off at him for some of the things he said about me. But if he can't be redeemed, neither can I.'
Hilton said he believes his purpose is now to help other people and likened his transformation to 'having multiple aha orgasms.'
Winfrey, who coined the phrase having an 'aha moment,' wondered if that might be an idea for a new column for her magazine.
Fellow guest Deepal Chopra understood what Hilton was trying to say and clarified for the audience: 'It's another word for transcendence.'