Seven years after Hugh Hefner's death, his widow, Crystal Hefner, is opening up. Crystal, 37, has branded the late Playboy tycoon a "power-hungry narcissist" who kept her as a prisoner at his mansion. The model was married to the Playboy founder from 2012 until his death at the age of 91 in 2017.
The former Playmate makes bombshell revelations about her relationship with the magazine magnate in his upcoming memoir "Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and Finding Myself," which will release on January 23. Days ahead of the release, Crystal pulled back the curtain on her life as a Playmate at her husband's mansion and how she was treated.
Her Life with Hugh Hefner
In a candid interview with People ahead of the publication of her tell-all memoir, Crystal admitted that she was never truly "in love" with her late husband. The then-21-year-old was invited to stay at the Playboy Mansion in October 2008, and she entered into a relationship with Hefner a few months later.
She even made an appearance on the E! reality series centered around the Playmates, titled "The Girls Next Door."
"At the time I thought I was on top," she said. "I thought, 'Wow, if I just like everything that he likes and do all the things that he wants me to do, then I'm the favorite.' And I was, but I just lost myself in the process."
Hefner proposed to her on Christmas Eve in 2010, and she felt conflicting emotions about the prospect of marriage. Crystal initially accepted the proposal but later called off the engagement just five days before their first planned wedding in June 2011.
She shared that during this period, she briefly returned to her relationship with Jordan McGraw, the son of Dr. Phil.
Despite the temporary separation, Crystal and Hugh Hefner eventually reconciled, and they exchanged vows on December 31, 2012. She became his third wife.
"I realized I was dealing with a really big power imbalance," Crystal said. "It seemed like a world of success and fantasy, but everyone's having to sleep with an 80-year-old. There's a price. Everything has a price."
A Different Life Altogether
The former Playboy Playmate of the Month also shared the restrictive nature of the lifestyle at the mansion for her and the other Bunnies while living under Hefner's roof. She said that Hefner would provide each of his "girlfriends" with an allowance, neatly handed to them in bills.
"Our nail polish couldn't be anything but some neutral color, no French manicure," Crystal said.
Crystal even recalled an instance when Hefner would take note of her natural brown hair showing at the roots.
"So I'd have to go bleach it and it would burn my scalp and I'd have blisters," she recounted. "But for some reason, I thought this was all normal and that's what it meant to be seen as beautiful in Hef's eyes."
In another shocking revelation about their time together, she alleges that Hefner instructed staff to "detain her" when she tried to leave after they became engaged on Christmas Eve in 2010.
According to Crystal, Hefner informed her that they were getting married rather than asking her.
While expressing mixed feelings about him in the book, Crystal's candid revelations are yet another blow to Hefner's reputation since his death from a superbug infection in September 2017 at the age of 91.
The 2022 A&E documentary series "Secrets of Playboy" included allegations of sex and drug abuse at the mansion made by former employees and girlfriends.