Paris Hilton's Ex: Our Split Was a Long Time Coming
07/06/2011 AT 10:05 AM EDT
"I don't want to speak for Paris, but this breakup is something I knew for a number of months needed to happen – and we finally saw eye to eye," Waits told PEOPLE the Electric Daisy Festival, an electronic music festival that drew nearly 225,000 people to Las Vegas. "I need to get back to focusing on my career."
"In my next relationship I expect honesty, strong values, true communication, commitment, mutual trust and respect, something I didn't necessarily have recently," he said. "At the end of the day, I want my partner and I to have the same ethics."
The split capped off a roller-coaster relationship that even saw the couple get arrested together. Hilton has resolved her case, while Waits is still appealing.
"When I'm involved with someone, my focus is keeping them safe, trying to keep them out of trouble and always being supportive," he said. "Partying is not my thing. I live a healthy lifestyle. I avoid drugs. ... I have a social cocktail every now and then."
Hilton did not respond to requests for comment.
Rumors have abounded that Waits felt unfairly portrayed on Hilton's new reality show, The World According to Paris, something he wouldn't directly address, though a friend says he felt "betrayed" by Hilton and the show's producers for portraying him as a jealous boyfriend.
"That's not him at all," the friend said. "They really made him look bad through editing and cutting."
Waits said he won't miss the cameras in his face, or the constant media attention that came with dating the heiress, who has recently stepped out romantically with director Todd Phillips. He will, however, miss her parents, Rick and Kathy.
"The unfortunate things about this is how much I really ended up loving them," he said. "They were really like a mother and father to me."