Hugh Hefner: Holly Madison’s trying to stay in the spotlight by ‘rewriting history’


Two weeks ago, we covered some excerpts from Holly Madison’s tell-all memoir, Down the Rabbit Hole. Holly made it sound like her life at the Playboy Mansion was pretty unappealing – the group sex with Hugh Hefner, the emotional abuse, the petty rivalries between “girlfriends” that Hefner stoked and encouraged, all of it led to Holly being depressed and suicidal. For what it’s worth, I tend to believe Holly. I know she’s trying to sell a book and maybe some of the stories are exaggerated, but the big stuff feels true. But Hefner still thinks he can save his reputation (?), so he offered this statement to media outlets:

“Over the course of my life I’ve had more than my fair share of romantic relationships with wonderful women. Many moved on to live happy, healthy, and productive lives, and I’m pleased to say remain dear friends today. Sadly, there are a few who have chosen to rewrite history in an attempt to stay in the spotlight. I guess, as the old saying goes: You can’t win ‘em all!”

[From Us Weekly]

Eh. He sounds like his soup is cold. Besides, it’s not like Holly is trying to be super-famous or anything. Holly is active on social media and she still makes the occasional public appearance, but she mostly lives a pretty quiet life in Las Vegas with her family. It’s not like she’s out in LA, shilling for a reality show, which is what she did when she was with Hef. So Holly responded to Hef’s “ignore her, she’s a dumb famewhore” argument. Via ET:

“It wasn’t about having an ax to grind or wanting to get a reaction from him [Hefner], or, you know, inviting him back into my life in any way. I don’t really care about his response. I wanted to share my story to inspire other women who might be in a bad relationship to get out, or not be branded by bad decisions they’ve made, and take charge of their lives and move on. … I’m definitely not rewriting history. I’m finally telling the truth of my experience. For so many years I tried so hard to be a good girlfriend, and I cared about him and always had his back.”

“I think it’s important for people to understand he wasn’t running a charity for wayward girls or anything — there was definitely a price for living there, and you know, we did a lot to push the brand, and cheerlead for the brand, and I think there’s a whole generation of young women who wouldn’t know what Playboy was if it wasn’t for [the E! reality show] Girls Next Door. I’m definitely grateful for the good things, but I don’t think I owe anyone anything. If you read the book and you see how we were treated over the years — I definitely gave him my best for seven years. And I think I was the best girlfriend anybody could have been. But there just reaches a breaking point.”

[From Entertainment Tonight]

Maybe I’m a Holly Madison apologist – I do still like her, quite honestly – but she comes across as pretty matter-of-fact here. Perhaps she does have an axe to grind, but mostly I think she just wanted to tell her story, her version of events, her truth. And yes, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Hefner was and is a manipulative bastard in private.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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48 Responses to “Hugh Hefner: Holly Madison’s trying to stay in the spotlight by ‘rewriting history’”

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  1. Dawn says:

    Ya know I have to go with Hef on this…he has been around for a very long time and has never been known as a liar.

    • Nicole says:

      He shades her but he doesn’t really deny the specifics, does he?

    • kimbers says:

      Just bc he isnt known as a liar doesnt mean he isnt. I think he’s just butthurt and reacting to truths he never saw before.

    • mytbean says:

      I think it’s a shade true from both of them at least subjectively. He’s always felt that the arrangement he’s set up is mutually beneficial for he and the bunnies. Most pimps think that way.

    • Tristan says:

      The entire lot of them are about as repulsive as it gets. Him & all his dirty old cronies for preying on all the young women & all the women young enough to be his great grand daughter willing to be used by the creepy old men for fame, fortune & notoriety. The entire equation is just gross

    • *North*Star* says:

      Women (and men) will put up with a lot to climb to the top of the hill. I believe her because the environment she describes is very male friendly and often that means it’s not very female friendly.

      His “refutes” don’t discount her story. For example, Madonna is still friends with Sean Penn and he was emotionally and physically abusive with her (Google the police reports). So his comments sound nothing more than words to mollify his own conscience.

  2. Abbicci says:

    Hugh Hefner a gaslighter? I mean why would a woman be able to tell her story without a man editing it for her?

    Ugh with this gross old man.

  3. BooBooLaRue says:

    Maybe. But he’s still a pig. Opps sorry to insult pigs.

  4. TheOtherViv says:

    I have yet to hear her say something incredibly stupid or petty in an interview. I am afraid I can’t say the same about the old guy in the PJs.

  5. Amide says:

    Oh Holly you were not some doe eyed innocent off the turnip truck – you targeted Hef like a missile and got what you wanted. If ‘Puffin’ had propsed you would have been there like a rat up a drain pipe.
    But Hef’s name is handy for shifting book copies, as your husband is facing jail time and you probably need the cash.

  6. Nicole says:

    She’s on the level.

  7. Lemon says:

    “there’s a whole generation of young women who wouldn’t know what Playboy was if it wasn’t for [the E! reality show] Girls Next Door.”

    Yes, damn you Holly! You should have let Playboy die a bushy, natural breasted death!

    The gossip back then was that Holly was pretty awful to the other girls and guarded Hef, Bridget was also mean, and Kendra liked to sneak off and do athletes. And they all, as a adult women, had a curfew! Ew!

  8. Murphy says:

    I think most of it is true as well–he definitley bought them and pitted them against each other…but she played the game and was one of the best at it.

    • joy says:

      Pretty much every woman who has talked about him has said the same things. Maybe not as bluntly, but I think everyone knew he was like this.

  9. Kiddo says:

    I’m not a fan of hers. But I believe some of what she has to say. I think most people assumed as much. Although I think the relationship with Hefner likely had a strong background motivation of ‘being discovered’, it doesn’t negate that the situation was degrading and that the women were treated as objects: A bargain that cost more emotionally than it ever yielded on the upside.

  10. Loopy says:

    ‘he wasn’t running a charity for wayward girls or anything’ ….right. His parties/orgies were attended by the likes of Bill Cosby and Hollywood’s Creepy ‘Elites.’

  11. Lama Bean says:

    Not to mention it doesn’t surprise me that he was not the most exciting and stimulating person in bed.

  12. Jayna says:

    I like Holly a lot. Having said that, I call bull on this. She chose to be a little golddigger, willing to do (sick group sex with an old man) what it took to be in his inner circle. She started out as one of these group girls way back before Kendra and the other one even came on the scene, and she clawed her way up to main girl and it didn’t happen over night. But she had her sights set on that. No one made her stay. She prostituted herself to get where she got. She tried for his baby to solidify her financial standing. She reaped a lot of the benefits. She left when she hooked up with someone else, Chris Angel. She’s been on reality shows. I think there’s being truthful and then there’s being beyond truthful to now paint it all one way, poor victim, to make a buck.

    • Angie T says:

      I don’t think Holly is distorting the facts in her book. BUT she’s giving herself a victim spin now and I suspect it’s because her long term plans didn’t work out. If he’d proposed to her I think she might be singing a totally different tune.

  13. blue marie says:

    He gives me the heebie-jeebies, big ole pile of sperm dust

  14. Christin says:

    There really aren’t any big surprises here. I always assumed there was a price to pay (as she puts it) for being housed at the mansion.

    I’ve heard of several women who ended up marrying someone well known, as a result of meeting at the mansion. I think Holly just turned her attention to the ringmaster.

  15. Naddie says:

    “and I think there’s a whole generation of young women who wouldn’t know what Playboy was if it wasn’t for [the E! reality show] Girls Next Door”. Oh damn. Is there any girl who thinks living in Playboy mansion is all good? Really? Don’t the image of overly bleached haired women by an old man’s side speaks for everything?
    Anyway, I beleive her, and think she’s much of a better person than him. I just don’t see any victim in this whole story.

  16. Jaygee says:

    I feel like yes, Holly is writing a tell all to cash in. That’s her motivation. She isn’t saying anything new–a prior ex of Hef’s wrote a similar story maybe five years ago–so I believe she’s being truthful. But this just smacks of her and Hef mutually using each other, and then out of nowhere, her calling him an abuser to make a buck. It’s distasteful.

  17. Sayrah says:

    Pretty sure Kendra wilkinson also talked about the group sex with hef. I believe holly too.

  18. Andrea says:

    It is a bit of both I believe. She IS trying to get some buzz around her new book and hence stay relevant, but she may also want to get her story out there. He is very old, doesn’t like the negative buzz etc. I read another book years ago from a former bunny that spouted a similar tale so most is probably true..

  19. Penelope says:

    I like her but without Hefner, she’d be just another surgically enhanced, cookie-cutter blonde with dreams of making it big. HH is the only reason anyone knows who she is!

    And yes life at the mansion sounds disgusting and icky, but she could have left anytime during those seven years and gotten a “real” job if she found it so hellish and objectionable.

    • Kiddo says:

      I think it’s also okay to look back with regret on decisions. It can direct the course for someone else at that fork in the road.

      • tracking says:

        I agree, and her comparative youth makes me sympathetic (vs. HH, who is completely disgusting), but at the same time I think this is tinged with the bitterness of not having married him/hit the financial jackpot she was clearly looking for at the time.

  20. Jaded says:

    All of these women went willingly into Hef’s web. Sure the job entailed some restrictions and icky stuff but gave them the fame and notoriety they craved and continue to crave after they spring-boarded out of Hef’s life. To capitalize on some of the more lurid aspects of her Playboy life like she was some kind of innocent victim is dissembling at best and only shows that you can take the girl out of the Playboy mansion but you can’t take the Playboy mansion out of the girl.

  21. Donna says:

    Team Holly on this one, and already pre-ordered the book.

  22. snarky mcsnark says:

    Sure what she is saying is true, that’s not in question, we’ve heard it all from several other girlfriends. BUT she knew what she was getting into and knew what was going on while she was there. She could have left whenever she wanted. She played the game for 7 years and she lost and she’s bitter. How is that Hef’s fault? If she doesn’t car what his response is why is she responding in the media about it? She’s trying to rebrand herself as a “celeb mommy” and trying to distance herself from the fact that she was a gold digging sl*t who slept with an old guy for seven years for money!

  23. Tig says:

    I actually watched the show when it’s was on, and my fav was always Bridget. Anyone who has read about the Dorothy Stratten story/watched Star80(90??)- this is no news. Reportedly the bad pub from Dorothy Stratten’s murder contributed to him having a stroke. And if Hef had married her, would she still be doing all those things she wrote about?

  24. LouLou says:

    I’m willing to believe her, but I always assumed things were more or less this way. What I don’t believe is that she thought she was in a relationship that was not about prostitution. Maybe she and the trick had some nice moments that seemed legitimately romantic, but he was not some charismatic boyfriend who misled her. The roomful of other “supported” women means one thing. I’d have more respect if she didn’t pretend otherwise.

    • Bella says:

      100% agree. I don’t like the fact that she is trying to pretend she was some innocent victim when she literally exchanged sex and companionship for material goods. Also–I used to watch the show and she was always pestering him to get married and telling him she wanted to have kids with him, so her newfound claim of being taken advantage of seems ridiculous.

  25. maria says:

    She was trying to run most of the Playboy photo shoots on the show as well. She seemed to really want her claws in the Playboy empire. There is a clip of her on the Wendy Williams show (57 seconds)from 2011 where she says if Crystal Harris does not take good care of him then she will kick her butt. What? This was years after she left the mansion so why two different stories? Are you protective of Hef or was he this abuser that needs to be exposed?

  26. iseepinkelefants says:

    Sorry but I’ve read other Playboy books and maybe she’s grown up but Golly was always known to be a huge b!tch. Like she was the mean girl out of the bunnies and wanted to make sure she kept her place as HBIC. I can’t stand girls like that so maybe it was rough for her but she’s not the poor damsel in stress. By all accounts she was ruthless and vicious.

  27. Velvet Elvis says:

    I’m sure it was no picnic living with Chef, but she’s trying to play the victim when she isn’t. She WANTED to be there. She fought tooth and nail to be there and become the number 1 girl. That she was disgusted with the sex sessions yet participated in them for years tells me everything. Any decent woman would have left. She stayed because she wanted the money and lifestyle and she continues to use him by writing this book.

  28. Deb says:

    Her description of the Playboy mansion (in a state of disrepair, dogs peeing everywhere, outdated furniture) and the sex parties (all girls take turns with Hef while porn plays in background) are pretty much what other former Playmates have described. However, it irked me in the excerpt of the book I read how she constantly painted herself as some unwitting or unwilling victim. If she didn’t like living in the mansion or sleeping with Hef, all she had to do was move out and find something else to do with her life. I personally think Hugh Hefner is kind of a gross, sad, old man trying to maintain the image of being some sort of stud, but I don’t believe he forces anyone to be involved with him.

  29. Jeanette says:

    I remember reading years ago while the show was still on the air a similar story of the bedroom. A continuous porn loop, viagra, multiple girls..yeah I buy it.

  30. Magpie says:

    Um it’s HUGH HEFNER! Of course it is what it was. Duh. She wanted to be top wife it was so obs. Not gonna feel sorry for her now. Reap what you sow lady. You did the gross stuff and did not get what you wanted.

  31. lisa says:

    werent holly’s parents on the show once? im sure it was edited and maybe some people will either always be polite or will do anything for a little cash, but my family would not have provided them with a usable clip at all. any clip of my parents would have been non stop screaming and crying. with a possibility of seeing my mother’s head in the oven.

    holly was an adult, but if your own family doesnt appear to mind that youve joined a harem, then it doesnt really surprise me that you would be in one given the opportunity.

  32. The New Classic says:

    I used to watch The Girls Next Door religiously and I always HATED Holly and that annoying laugh of hers. She was so far up Hef’s a$$ all the time that she could have given him a colonoscopy. She was intent on not only being girlfriend #1, but in getting the ring and having a kid by Hef, cause that’s where the real $$$ would lie. I don’t have one iota of sympathy for this woman. If things were that disgusting and depraved she could have left at any time. The only thing she is accomplishing is making herself look like a desperate gold digger.

  33. GByeGirl says:

    Isn’t she the woman who bought Hef 2 peacocks, hoping that they would mate and have babies?

  34. Allie May says:

    I am thrilled for Holly that she has made such a success out of her life. And I’m glad she told the truth about his emotional and psychological abuse. It sucks, no one should have to put up with it and when it is brought to our attention, it helps those that are in rotten situations to recognize it.