Paris Hilton had support from boyfriend Carter Reum as she testified against her former Utah boarding school.
Hilton, 39, appeared in a Utah court this week to give testimony against Provo Canyon School — the school whose staff members she has accused of inflicting emotional, physical and psychological abuse on her during her stay as a teenager.
Reum, 40, joined her on the trip to provide support, as seen in PEOPLE's exclusive photos of the couple at the Utah State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City.
"Paris is so grateful that Carter joined her on the trip to Utah. She was so nervous to get up there and say her testimonial, but having him by her side made her feel much more comfortable," a source tells PEOPLE.
On Monday, Hilton gave her testimony to the Utah Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee.
"My name is Paris Hilton, I am an institutional abuse survivor and I speak today on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of children currently in residential care facilities across the United States," she began. "For the past 20 years, I have had a recurring nightmare where I'm kidnapped in the middle of the night by two strangers, strip-searched, and locked in a facility. I wish I could tell you that this haunting nightmare was just a dream, but it is not."
Hilton then recounted her allegations against Provo Canyon School, saying, "I was verbally, mentally and physically abused on a daily basis. I was cut off from the outside world and stripped of all my human rights."
The entrepreneur previously made her allegations against the school in the YouTube Originals documentary This Is Paris that premiered in September. Ahead of its release, the school told PEOPLE: "Originally opened in 1971, Provo Canyon School was sold by its previous ownership in August 2000. We therefore cannot comment on the operations or patient experience prior to this time."
In a second and more lengthy statement issued on Sept. 17, after the release of the documentary, the school said staff does not use "'solitary confinement' as a form of intervention" or prescribe "any drug or medication as a means of discipline" and that it does "not condone or promote any form of abuse."
The source says that as Hilton bravely gave her testimony, Reum was "beaming with pride."
"Carter is so supportive and incredibly proud of her and her advocacy work. He was sitting in the courtroom behind her beaming with pride," says the source. "She has grown so much over the past year and they are excited for their future."
The couple, who have been dating since 2019, recently celebrated Reum's 40th birthday together. For the special occasion, Hilton gifted her boyfriend a life-sized portrait of the two, based on a photo snapped by friend Paris Jackson in December of 2019.
"Happy Birthday my love!😍 So excited to celebrate it again with you this year! 🥳 You light up my world, you are my everything and make me the happiest girl in the world every single day!" Hilton wrote alongside an Instagram video of her surprising Reum with the painting. "I love the way you make me smile and feel and your magical kisses are everything! 🥰."
"You are so incredibly special to me and I will spend the rest of my life making sure you know that every day," she continued. "I love you forever my sweet, kind, handsome, romantic, brilliant #BirthdayBoy! 🎈🎂🤴🏻🎈."
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