Crystal Hefner was just 21 years old when she met Hugh Hefner, aged 81, at one of the Playboy Mansion’s infamous parties.
After mere days of love bombing that made her feel like the be-all and end-all, Hugh asked her to move in with him (along with 18-year-old twin girlfriends, Karissa and Kristina Shannon), which led to marriage in 2012, when Crystal was 26.
Crystal is looking back on the 10-year relationship, revealing how she buried who she really was, lived with a 6PM curfew, couldn’t travel, and gave herself over to a “needy” man who she felt too guilty to leave, per The New York Post.
Despite being with Hef right until his death in 2017 (he was 91), Crystal, now 37, is only just coming to terms with the darker side of her life in the Playboy mansion.
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She says it’s taken hours of therapy to “deprogram” from the “toxic” way she learned how to relate to men, sex, and her fellow girlfriends. To move on, she’s thrown away all but one of her “bunny girl” outfits, removed her 34D breast implants and spent the past year-and-a-half writing a memoir called Only Say Good Things.
“It’s called ‘Only Say Good Things’ because I [had] a conversation with Hef and he let me know: ‘Once I go, when I’m gone, please only say good things about me,’” Crystal told The Post.
“I kept that promise for the last five years. After going through a lot of therapy and healing, I realized that I needed to be honest about my time there. The book is about healing from a toxic environment.”
When Crystal first arrived on the scene, she thought, “Wow, I finally belong somewhere and I’m important — by association, but I’m still important. Yeah, it feels good.”
It didn’t take long, though, before “the facade [and] everything kind of unraveled … Everyone was kissing an 80-year-old.”
In the bombshell docuseries Secrets of Playboy, Karissa compared sex with Hefner to rape and said she had an abortion after becoming pregnant by him at age 19.
His other long-time girlfriends, Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt also reflected on their time at the mansion during a joint appearance on the Juicy Scoop podcast, saying that sex with Hef was largely unprotected, turn by turn, and pretty siff, actually.
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Crystal says she realises now that she was in a coercive relationship:
“Hef loved the old movies where the women were just fainting and helpless, and they could do nothing without a man, and they asked a man for everything,” she said, adding that she was “rewarded for being the helpless damsel.”
“I’m learning what female friendship even means — learning what it’s like to have female friends that truly want the best for you that you could actually trust. It was a hard cutthroat environment for so long. I’m learning to let love in,” Crystal said.
“In the relationship with Hef, I was rewarded for being codependent and so many other strange competitive things,” Crystal said. “I’m just learning what it’s like to be a normal human dating and being in relationships. It’s been very hard.”
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