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Paris Hilton led 'Simple Life' with Arkansas student Trae Lindley during filming


By Wade Paulsen, 12/09/2003 

Now we know why the local teenage girls were jealous of Paris Hilton during her stay in Altus, Arkansas to film Fox's The Simple Life.

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The New York Post reports that, during filming, 22-year-old Paris had a "fling" with 18-year-old Trae Lindley, at the time a high-school senior. Only problem: Trae, who ranked third in his high-school class and had been named homecoming king, had a long-time steady girlfriend: Carolyn Cains, the homecoming queen. However, to Trae, the choice between the two was easy; he wanted to see Paris in the springtime.

Paris met Trae during one of her early "day jobs" for the show (which was largely filmed in May 2003): working in the Lakeside Food Mart. She picked him out of a crowd of kids in the store and asked him to "'stay here and talk awhile,'" he said. "I was too nervous at the time to remember what I was talking about. I couldn't even remember what was said after I was done talking to her." But Paris had enough wits about her to ask for his phone number before he left.

Almost immediately thereafter, Trae and Paris were having two-hour phone conversations, and, in his words, "people knew she had the hots for me and I had the hots for her." Exit Carolyn, enter Paris.

During filming, Trae took Paris to the movies, the mall and the bowling alley ... ending up with plenty of camera time while locking lips with the hotel heiress. Paris came to his high school graduation, sparking a near-brawl with Carolyn and her friends, and went out with him to local restaurants.

A manager of Fat Tuesday's decribed Trae and Paris as "really cute," calling their relationship "more of an innocent, teenage-type relationship." In other words, except for the fight with the "other woman," it had little in common with Paris' much more public relationship with Rick Salomon, the married owner of "Beverly Hills Pimps & Hos" and Paris' sexual partner on the infamous sex tape on the Internet.

While this characterization may be hard to believe, even Trae's parents have nice things to say about Paris and her co-star Nicole Richie, whom they entertained for dinner. Trae's father George, who owns a real-estate company in nearby Ozark, said that "they were very well-mannered. Paris was very nice, very sweet and not like she is portrayed in magazines." Trae's mother Tammy added that "they were very normal when they came to dinner. They thanked us." Nice to know that Paris and Nicole still retain a semblance of good manners when not on videotape or drugs.

Ultimately, Trae had to make a choice. When Paris returned to L.A., she offered to take Trae with her and to find him work as a model. But Trae, who would have been giving up a full scholarship to the University of Arkansas and doesn't have a multi-million dollar trust fund to fall back on, showed that his parents raised him with good sense by turning her down and heading for college instead.

Trae has remained in contact with Paris, although contact has become harder since the sex-tape scandal broke. Says Trae, "When I did speak to her, she was really stressed out and said she can't leave the house anymore, she can't have fun. I feel embarrassed for her. I feel like she got a lot of crap from it and I feel sorry for a lot of what she's going through."

Can't have fun? Can't leave the house? Sounds like the PR campaign dreamed up by crisis-publicist Dan Klores may have gone a wee bit overboard. However, we can't help but think that Paris might not have been in such trouble had she followed Trae's path to college during her post-high-school years instead of the high-profile celebrity-dilletante "sex,lies and videotape" path.

This story also gives additional credence to our original report that The Simple Life wrapped up shooting early after a dispute between Paris and Nicole and the crew over a four-hour phone call. Since Trae has already admitted to two-hour phone calls with Paris, we now think a four-hour phone call between them seems highly probable -- especially if Paris wanted Trae to go back to L.A. with her.

While Trae is apparently already receiving some campus notoriety over his real-life role as Paris' ex-boyfriend, it is likely to intensify as a result of his TV exposure during the remainder of The Simple Life. We hope it doesn't lead him down the same randy path taken by a prior young man from small-town Arkansas, who became famous in part for his sexual relationship with another reality TV star.

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