Rob Mills has thrown two punches in his life. They were both over Paris Hilton.

Rob Mills has never been quite sure how to deal with the 'Paris Hilton' story.

Other than his stint on the first season of Australian Idol in 2003, it’s the chapter of Mills' life that tends to most interest people. Two short weeks spent in a "brief flirtation" with the entrepreneur and The Simple Life star while she was in Australia later that year.

At first, Mills leant into it. He spoke openly when asked about their time together, even made jokes at his own expense. He had hoped that satisfying the media’s and public’s curiosity would help everyone move on. Yet the questions kept coming, the topic kept being raised — for years. He was that bloke, the Aussie singer who hooked up with one of the world’s most famous women.

Watch: Rob Mills sings You Don't Treat Me No Good on Australian Idol. Post continues after video.

Video via Australian Idol.

Speaking to Mamamia’s No Filter podcast, Mills said he never understood the fascination with his fling with Hilton, and still doesn’t.

"I was like, who cares? And I still don't really care about the world of celebrity. They're just people. People are just people," he said.


"It seems a weird — and I hate this phrase, but dare I say — 'locker room chat' kind of thing. I don't want to talk about it. It's not a trophy. I have a fiancée [journalist and television presenter Georgie Tunny]. It seems odd to me."

In fact, the subject has been such a source of frustration to Mills that it’s triggered rare and regretful incidents of physical violence.

"I’ve thrown two punches in my life," he said, "and both of them were for that."

The first was in 2006. Mills was in Germany supporting the Socceroos in the Football World Cup. One day at a beer hall, drinking and eating pork knuckle with a group of fellow Australians, he was accosted by two men. One placed him in a headlock, while the other leant in and said, "How did Paris Hilton taste?"

In that moment, Mills' frustration over three years of headlines, jokes, and invasive and offensive questions spilled over. In a fit of fury, he swung. He slammed his fist into the jaw of the man in front of him.

"Just the disrespect," he said. "I felt so riled up by it."

The second was years later. A film premiere. Again, someone made "crude remarks" about Paris Hilton, this time in front of Mills' then-partner. And again, Mills took a swing.


Listen to Rob Mills' full interview on No Filter. Post continues below. 

He acknowledges that alcohol was a factor in each incident. And he feels shame that he resorted to violence instead of talking it out or walking away. 

"To this day, I still feel cringey about doing it," he said. "There was adrenaline flowing through me. The shock of it, that it happened – I cried, I think, for doing it [the first time]. I cried. I was like, 'I can’t believe I did that. I'm sorry I hurt someone.'"

Mills details those two incidents in his recent book, Putting on a Show: Manhood, Mates and Mental Health, as examples of toxic masculinity writ large.

"I’d say I was a victim and participant at the same time," the musical theatre star writes.

"Those two different men were both out of line. But that’s no excuse. I was an idiot for throwing those punches. Violence has no place in our society (unless for self-defence). It’s toxic. It’s masculinity gone rogue."

Now, that, Mills argues, is a subject worth talking about.

Feature Image: Getty.

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