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Long before Selling Sunset, there was another show about pretty women hanging out in a multimillion-dollar mansion: Girls Next Door. For those who don’t remember, the E! Series followed the antics of a group of Playboy bunnies who lived full-time at the Playboy mansion. The three leading women, Kendra Wilkinson, Bridget Marquardt and Holly Madison, were all dating disgraced Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
Marquardt and Wilkinson’s relationships with Hefner were transactional rather than long-term partnerships. “I had to get very drunk or smoke a lot of weed to survive [my nights with Hefner],” Wilkinson wrote in “Being Kendra: Cribs, Cocktails, and Getting My Sexy Back,” per Us Weekly. “It was like a job. Clock in, clock out. It’s not like I’d like to have sex with him.” During the podcast episode of her podcast with Madison, Marquardt revealed that she maintained her physical relationship with Hefner in part so she could stay at the mansion, per Newsweek.
Madison’s experience with Hefner was different; She was more of a serious friend. So seriously that they wanted a child together. Years later, Madison admitted that despite being on a show about her relationship with Hefner, she left out certain aspects of her parenting journey.
Madison is glad it didn’t work out
When Holly Madison and her longtime boyfriend Hugh Hefner decided to have a child in the early 2000s, the reality star learned she had to undergo IVF treatments to make it happen. Those treatments coincided with the run of Girls Next Door, but Madison chose not to give viewers a glimpse into that part of her life. “I didn’t really think about taking it on just because, even when I’ve had kids, I’m always the one who doesn’t want to tell anyone I’m pregnant until after three months,” Madison told Entertainment Tonight. Ultimately, IVF treatments failed and Hefner and Madison never had a child.
Now, years later, with two kids, Madison is grateful it didn’t work out. “I mean, of course, looking back, I’m so glad it didn’t work out because I had the kids of my dreams,” she said. In hindsight, Madison also has a different, more complicated view of her relationship with Hefner. “Looking back, it was a kind of Stockholm Syndrome that I felt like I identified with. He complimented me so much. Madison explained during an appearance on Call Her Daddy.
A explosive A&E docuseries has further challenged Hefner’s legacy. Women were reportedly abused on a regular basis, and Hefner secretly recorded sex tapes to use as blackmail on The Cut.