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11 Former Playmates Who Spoke Out About Hugh Hefner & Awful Details We Didn't See On The Reality Show

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Holly Madison Hugh Hefner Kendra Wilkinson Bridget Marquardt

Until the latter half of the last decade, "Playboy" and it's founder, Hugh Hefner, could easily have been praised for revolutionizing America's attitude towards sex.

But now, as those who worked closely with Hefner are speaking out Hefner's legacy is difficult to praise.

Former Hefner's former girlfriends and stars of "Girls Next Door" Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt, who have been publicly critical of the late businessman, recently appeared on the “Juicy Scoop With Heather McDonald” podcast to divulge some of the disturbing details of life at the Playboy Mansion.

RELATED: Former Playboy Bunny Claims Hugh Hefner Had ‘Cleanup Crew’ Cover Up Rape & Abduction Of Two 'Junior' Bunnies

Their comments, which they shared ahead of their own upcoming podcast series "Girls Next Level," come after A&E's documentary "Secrets of Playboy," examined the controversy surrounding the publication.

"I had nightmares after I watched them,” Marquardt said of the docuseries while speaking on the podcast. “I had a nightmare I was back at the mansion every single night after Secrets of Playboy.”

But this is not the first time the women bravely spoke out against Hefner, nor are they the first women to do so.

"I didn’t realize that getting into the Playboy world was a dangerous choice,” Holly Madison, star of "The Girls Next Door" and former girlfriend to the now-deceased Hugh Hefner, once said. 

"Around the turn of the millennium, it became fashionable for women to appear stupid,” Madison wrote, “to get by solely on their looks and to be concerned only with fame and materialism. Some of the effects of that moment in the zeitgeist still linger today."

There is a difference, however, between looking stupid as a fashion statement and playing dumb as a survival skill.

RELATED: Weird Rumors And Details About Hugh Hefner's Death And Why His Wife Wasn't At His Deathbed

In the world of reality television, women are often depicted as vapid, carefree, and emotionally unaware. We, as audience members, eat it up so much that we start to crave it. 

But off-camera and behind closed Playboy Mansion doors, being dumb seemed the only viable option to cope with being stuck under the thumb of Hugh Hefner’s emotional control.

Here are 11 former Playmates who have spoken out about Hugh Hefner and Playboy.

As the years have gone on, the girls have made allegations about Hefner's disturbing sex rituals, degrading comments and other upsetting aspects of life at the Playboy mansion.

1. Holly Madison 

"Imagine having sex with somebody in a room full of women who all hate you and you know they’re all talking s—t about you," Madison said in while appearing on the "Call Her Daddy" podcast in 2021, "Like, how horrible? It was gross.”

Of all of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends on "The Girls Next Door," Madison was known as Hefner's main main squeeze. 

"When I look back at Girls Next Door, especially the first few seasons, I see myself just coping," Madison said. "I was really stiff and not open and just like a robot and just saying the type of things that I felt like Hef would want me to say and things that made him look good, and I almost can’t really regret that because I don’t know how else I would've coped."

When she was 20 years old, Madison transferred to a school in Los Angeles in hopes to pursue her acting career.

Desperate to make ends meet and to continue living in Los Angeles, she decided she’d try to become one of Hefner’s many girlfriends.

Sex with Hefner was reportedly a requirement to living in the Playboy Mansion — a key piece of information that Madison learned her first night out with Hefner and the other girlfriends.

Madison claims Hefner even offered Madison a Quaalude, telling her that it was a “thigh opener.”

She denied the Quaalude, but says some of the other women accepted the “offer.”

"They weren't commonly available then — I don't even know exactly how he was getting them," Madison said. "I know most girls my age were not doing them, and didn't know what they made you feel like. And I'm sure a lot of those girls didn't know what they were at all."

RELATED: Hugh Hefner's Ex-Girlfriend Claims She Once Walked In On Him Engaging In Sex Acts With Their Dog

As the night went on, Madison got drunk and was allegedly lured back to Hefner’s bedroom along with the others.

She claims Hefner masturbated while the girls were instructed to play-act lesbian scenes. Meanwhile, two TVs played hardcore porn in the background.

In the recent documentary, Madison further alleged that Hefner refused to use protection.

"It was really gross to me how Hef didn’t want to use protection," she claimed. "The impact it had on me was so heavy. I never expected to be the first person to have sex that night or to be, like, pushed into it."

Madison says the group sex occurred every Wednesday and Friday, after an outing to the club. “It had kind of a chore vibe, I felt,” Madison said. The control the women felt in the mansion went beyond sex.

Madison says she was also forced to quit her waitressing job at Hooters, which she felt was her only contact with the outside world.

To make matters worse, none of the women were paid for season 1 of "The Girls Next Door."

RELATED: 5 Odd Details About Hugh Hefner's Death

Hefner was verbally abusive to Madison, according to her claims. She also came out to the public addressing her struggle with body dysmorphia when living in the Playboy Mansion.

“[I] thought I had gained weight, and thought I hadn’t stuck to my diet, and I thought my thighs were huge and I thought, ‘I need to lose five pounds at least,’” she said. “And that’s ridiculous. I look like a stick.”

2. Kendra Wilkinson

Kendra Wilkinson had just graduated high school when she moved into the Playboy Mansion.

"I moved in, and weeks went by, and I didn't know 'sex' was involved ... because I knew nothing about Playboy,” Wilkinson said. “I had just graduated high school.”

Although she’s mostly spoken highly of her times in the Playboy Mansion, she did reveal that she had to get high or drunk to survive the nights when she was invited back to his bedroom.

"I had to be very drunk or smoke lots of weed to survive those nights — there was no way around it," she said. "At about the minute mark, I pulled away and it was done. It was like a job. Clock in, clock out. It's not like I enjoyed having sex with him."

RELATED: 10 Strict Rules Hugh Hefner Allegedly Forced His Girlfriends To Follow

 “At 19 years old, Kendra was stuck with a 9 p.m. curfew, a 78-year-old boyfriend, and a stricter set of rules than she had ever had at home," Madison said, on the topic of Wilkinson. "And now, adding insult to injury, she was finally realizing that she wasn’t as special as Hef made her believe. She was just another blond girlfriend — and life at the mansion wasn’t all she imagined it to be.”

Wilkinson also said that Hefner commented on her weight, telling her she looked “bigger.”

"I had this whole mansion and a great life to enjoy, and all I was doing was lying around and eating," she said. "I felt so lazy and miserable. This was supposed to be paradise, but for me, it wasn't."

3. Bridget Marquardt

Bridget Marquardt was not Hefner’s main girlfriend, but was one of the unpaid stars of "The Girls Next Door."

While speaking on "Juicy Scoop With Heather McDonald," Marquardt claims that she was pressured by another woman to have sex with Hefner on her first night out with the group.

“I was still just gonna watch and then and then she was like, ‘Aren't you gonna go?’ It's like, ‘You need to go.’ And I was like, ‘I would rather not.’ And she's like, ’Well, then probably won't be invited back.’ So then I was like, ‘OK,’” she recalled. “And I'd seen what everybody else was doing, so I knew that this was, like, a 10-second thing. I mean, definitely no more than a minute.”

She said that from that point onwards she would often go first just to get it over with.

Knowing full well that Hefner had no intention of raising a family with her, Marquardt froze her eggs during her stay at the mansion, she revealed in a 2017 interview.

In 2006, Marquardt left the mansion. Due to her fertility struggle, she and her boyfriend Nick Carpenter decided to use some of her frozen eggs.

None of her eggs from the mansion survived the thaw.

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“That was pretty devastating for me because all this time I thought I had an amazing insurance policy,” Marquardt said, “and it didn’t work out.”

4. Izabella St. James

“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” said the model Izabella St. James, who dated Hefner from 2002 to 2004.

One of St. James’ least favorite parts about living in the mansion was her weekly $1,000 beauty allowance.

“We had to go to Hef's room, wait while he picked up all the dog poo off the carpet — and then ask for our allowance," St.James wrote.

"We all hated this process. Hef would always use the occasion to bring up anything he wasn't happy about in the relationship."

St. James also reported that the majority of Hefner's complaints were about the "lack of harmony among the girlfriends" or their lack of sexual participation during his bedroom "parties."

"If we'd been out of town for any reason and missed one of the official 'going out' nights he wouldn't want to give us the allowance," she said. "He used it as a weapon."

The women were reportedly prohibited from spending their allowances on anything besides clothing, making it financially impossible for them to save up and plan an escape.

5. Jill Ann Spaulding

Jill Ann Spaulding claimed that Hefner refused to use protection when having sex with the girls.

In addition, he did not provide STD testing for any of his girlfriends.

"No protection and no testing," Spaulding wrote. "He doesn’t care.”

Allegedly, women were not even allowed to sit out of sex nights with Hefner if she had a nose job or major operation.

Even if a woman was so sick that her doctors advised her not to participate, she still had to show up, reports claim.

6 & 7. Karissa and Kristina Shannon

In 2019, this dynamic duo and Playboy Mansion’s favorite set of twins joined "The Girls Next Door."

The two were allegedly kicked out of the mansion for dating younger men.

They say there was a "no boys allowed" rule in the Playboy Mansion — save for Hefner, of course.

“We were not allowed to have boys in the house. That was the absolute No. 1 rule — no boys allowed,” Karissa said. “That was one of the main reasons we moved out. But living there and being seen out with other guys, Hugh was tripping."

In ABC's docuseries, Karissa claimed she became pregnant by Hefner at age 19 — he was 84 at the time — and got an abortion.

“To me, it’s like rape,” she said. “He used control mechanisms completely through everything, so I’m happy that I had the abortion.”

“I felt like there was something like an alien inside me. I was grossed out. I just wanted to get it over with.”

8 & 9. Carla and Mellissa Howe

Playboy Mansion's other favorite set of twins, Carla and Mellissa Howe also spoke out about their experiences living in the Playboy Mansion.

Apparently, a strict code of conduct was enforced on the girlfriends.

If one of the girlfriends broke one of Hefner’s rules, they’d receive an email about it. They claim there were rules about how they presented themselves on social media.

“You’ve got to show everything in a good light,” Melissa said. “And if you’re drunk in a picture you’ll be in trouble.”

The women were also required to dye their hair blonde, but Hefner allowed them to receive as much plastic surgery as they'd like. How thoughtful.

10. Crystal Harris

Crystal Hefner was five years into her marriage to Hef at the time of his 2017 death. 

Though she has typically praised her late-husband, she changed her tune in 2021 when she spoke out about her "contradicting" marriage and finding the time to heal after leaving the mansion.

Sharing a 2016 photo to her Instagram, Harris wrote: “I like this photo. It was toward the end when I started saying no to things that weren’t me. Hair got more natural, implants came out. No more fake tan or life.”

I was still sick physically and mentally, but on the road to recovery,” she continued. 

Harris added that the Playboy mansion was both a "sanctuary" and a "prison." 

Reflecting on her marriage to the controversial Hugh Hefner, she wrote, “He was good to me in many ways, but in other ways, he wasn’t."

11. Miki Garcia

Garcia, a former playmate who served as Playboy’s head of promotion from 1973 to 1983, compared Hefner's leadership to a cult in the A&E documentary.

“The women had been groomed and led to believe they were part of this family,” she says. “And he really did believe he owned these women.”

Garcia was keenly aware of the gruelling impact Hefner had on his former girlfriends.

 “We had Playmates that overdosed. There were Playmates that committed suicide.”

Garcia also claims that she was intimidated into not revealing the details of life in the mansion in a tell-all book.

“Hefner even sent someone to buy me off,” she says. “When you get someone that powerful to be that fearful, anything could happen. Anything. I had a bodyguard. I was that afraid.”

RELATED: Hugh Hefner Revealed How He Almost Died Being Intimate With Four Playmates

Izzy Casey is a writer who covers pop culture, news, and entertainment. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her work has been published in The Iowa Review, The Columbia Review, Black Warrior Review, MSN, and more. 

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