For many decades, Playboy Magazine exposed the most private body parts of various women to the world.
Four and a half years after the publication’s founder, Hugh Hefner, died at age 91?
A new A&E docuseries, titled Secrets of Playboy, is aiming to expose Hefner for the sexual predator many claim him to have been.
Holly Madison is at the center of this show.
The mother of two left the Playboy Mansion in 2008 and initially spoke out about her past relationship in her 2015 book, Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny.
She famously dated Hefner from 2001 to 2008, during which time she appeared on the hit reality program, Girls Next Door.
As it turns out, however, the good times depicted on this E! series were deceptive; they didn’t tell anywhere close to the whole story of what life was like as a member of Hefner’s harem.
At one point on Monday night’s episode, Madison detailed her first time with Hefner in bed.
At a club that evening, Madison said Hefner offered her a quaalude and said they used to be called “thigh openers in the 70s.”
She and many other women then returned to the Mansion, where Madison delved into “casual, mechanical sex” with Hefner, adding:
“It was really gross to me how Hef didn’t want to use protection. The impact it had on me was so heavy. I never expected to be the first person to have sex that night or pushed into it.”
Madison also described the environment Hefner had built as “very cult-like,” explaining of the late founder:
“He comes across as caring and generous, especially when you see him in that atmosphere because he’s providing this good time for all his friends and you know, there’s a glow about him.
“And you just start to build this picture in your head of somebody who can really do no wrong.
“And now, looking back on my time at Playboy, it reminds me of a cult.”
Madison went on to say she and the other Bunnies had a strict curfew every night and weren’t allowed to have any friends over.
“Sex always happened kind of like the same time the same night,” she added.
“We would go out to a club every Wednesday and Friday and that would be expected when we got home.
“I kept my waitressing job just like one day a week because I wanted just to have something easy to go back to should things not work out and he said it made him jealous and he would appreciate it if I quit my job.
“So instead, we were given $1,000 a week as an allowance.”
Did Holly love Hefner in some way, though?
“I think I definitely thought I was in love with Hef but it was very Stockholm syndrome, very Stockholm syndrome.
“So Stockholm syndrome is when somebody starts to identify with somebody who’s their captor in some way and I feel like I did that with Hef 100 percent.”
Madison said Hefner pitted his girlfriends against each other, which also explains why so many underwent plastic surgery.
“I think it probably gave him a feeling of being more in control if we all looked identical,” Madison said on air, telling producers what happened after she got her hair on one occasion:
“I kind of broke under that pressure and was being made to feel like I needed to look exactly like everybody else.
“My hair was really long naturally. And I was just like, I’m gonna go chop my hair off so I can at least look a little different. I came back with short hair. And he flipped out on me.
“And he was screaming at me and said it made me look old, hard and cheap.”
Why didn’t Madison just walk away?
“When I lived at the mansion, I was afraid to leave.
“Something that was always lingering in the back of my mind, I think since the very beginning, was that if I left there was just this mountain of revenge porn just waiting to come out.
“When you would go out with Hef, he’s taking all kinds of naked pictures of these women when we’re wasted out of our minds. And he would print out like eight copies for him and all the women, you pass them around.
“It was just gross.”
(UPDATE: Hefner’s widow, Crystal, has since confirmed these disposable camera photos existed; that she found them at home; and that the threw them all out.)
Madison said she was considered the “main” girlfriend and was therefore hated on by the other women… and wanted to kill herself as a result.
“I didn’t feel like I had any options. I remember there was a point in time, a couple of years in after we had gone out and after we’d all been in the bedroom.
“Everybody was leaving and walking out and I was in the bathtub. I just wanted to drown myself. I just felt like I was in this cycle of misery.
“And you know those feelings would never last long. But you have those moments like what did I gain from this experience?
“I knew there would be something I always had that faith that there will be something that would make it worth it.”
On the documentary, as she looked back on the photo albums she’s kept from her years with Playboy, Madison remarked on trauma she said she endured back in the day.
“The time at Playboy really caused some damage. I’ve had different types of therapy and stuff since I left. Other than some of the animals in the zoo, I can’t really think of anything I miss.
“When I decided to leave, it was pretty sudden so I wouldn’t say it was so much that I had a plan. I just had more to fall back on.
“I’d been really careful with my money and making investments and I knew that there was at least a fan base for Girls Next Door.
“So maybe I could turn that into something? And it worked out really well.”