Paris Hilton believes she ''could have been like'' the late Princess Diana if it wasn't for the release of her sex tape.

The late royal - who tragically lost her life in a car crash in Paris, France, in 1997 at the age of 36 - was nicknamed the People's Princess prior to her passing because of her popularity with the general public.

And socialite Paris believes she could have been viewed in a similar light if the infamous tape - which involved Paris and her ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon, who, at the time, were aged 18 and 33 respectively - had not been released by Rick without her consent.

She said: ''It's really hurtful, because my whole life I really looked up to Princess Diana, all these elegant, amazing women, and I feel like [Rick] just took that all away from me. I could have been like that, but because of that tape, I will always be judged and thought of as whatever they say about me because of a private moment between my boyfriend and me.''

The blonde beauty now wishes she'd ''never met'' the poker player, now 48, and says starting up a relationship with him has been the ''one regret'' in her life.

She added: ''I wish I had never met him. That is actually the one regret in my life. I wish that I had never met that guy. I could not leave my house for months. I was so depressed, humiliated. I didn't want to be seen in public.''

And despite still being judged for the contents of the tape, 36-year-old Paris - who is now in a relationship with actor Chris Zylka - says she enjoys being able to change people's perspective of her once they meet her.

Speaking to Marie Claire magazine, she said: ''People love to talk s**t. I'm used to it, over the years. I love how, anyone I meet, I always change their mind right away. I'm not what people think. It's fun to kind of laugh with it and say I'm in on the joke.''