Holly Madison Explains Why She’s Finally Opening Up About Hugh Hefner, Playboy Mansion

Holly Madison
Holly Madison explained to Us Weekly why she's finally opening up about Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Mansion nearly seven years after their split; plus, she shares her husband's reaction to the details in her memoir. JC Olivera/WireImage.com

It’s her time. Former Playmate Holly Madison, who’s made headlines for her new memoir, Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny, opened up to Us Weekly exclusively about why she’s choosing to share now, nearly seven years after her split from Hugh Hefner.

“I’ve gotten offers for book deals before, especially right after I left the mansion,” Madison told Us at her Hollywood home last month in an exclusive sit-down with Us Ingrid Meilan. “But I didn’t want to do it then because I didn’t want to do just a tell-all about someone. I wanted this to be my life story — about what I’ve learned and where I’ve gone — and I’ve finally gotten to a place where I felt that I could tell that story. Over the years I met so many people who had so many misconceptions about what my life was like at the mansion and I really wanted to set the record straight.”

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As damning as the book is against her ex-boyfriend, Madison, 35, said reliving the memories while writing the book were just as difficult. “I approached the project wanting to be as open and honest as possible, but there were parts that were harder to write than others,” she told Us. “There were parts I’d say, ‘Let’s skip over this and I’ll come back to that, do that later’ because quite a few instances were painful memories for me. And sometimes I was worried about how people would judge me for coming out with my story and I couldn’t let it bother me at the end of the day — I had to let it out… Everybody’s going to read it and judge it on their own. And sometimes it can seem like too much information, but there’s a good message at the heart of it.”

Those readers could include Hefner himself. “I haven’t talked to him in four years so there’s no reason I’m going to reach out to him now just to be like, ‘Ha ha sucker!'” she joked, adding that she wasn’t worried about his reaction. “Because it’s all the truth. I mean, I’m sure he’ll have his own way to react to it, but it’s all the truth — it’s all stuff that he was there for and did! So it’s not going to be a surprise.”

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Madison also claimed that she did not sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement during her time at the Mansion, which allowed her to be as explicit as possible. However, it was later revealed that she did sign an NDA, and is facing a potential breach of contract, according to Radar. “I never had to sign anything regarding my personal life,” she told Us. The former reality star also revealed that she initially worried about the repercussions of writing a memoir after leaving the Mansion.

“I felt like that wasn’t something I wanted to do,” she said of a book deal. “But as the years went by and I saw the misconceptions that women had about life at the Mansion and what it was like, I felt like I had to set the record straight. As time goes by you see hindsight really is 20/20, and I saw that I wasn’t treated very well and I wasn’t treated very well after I left either, so I don’t really have any loyalty to him or anyone.”

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Hefner, however, countered her claims in an exclusive statement to Us Weekly this past Sunday. “Over the course of my life I’ve had more than my fair share of romantic relationships with wonderful women,” the Playboy founder told Us. “Many moved on to live happy, healthy, and productive lives, and I’m pleased to say remain dear friends today. Sadly, there are a few who have chosen to rewrite history in an attempt to stay in the spotlight. I guess, as the old saying goes: You can’t win ’em all!”

holly and hugh hefner
Hugh Hefner and Holly Madison in 2006 Laurence Cottrell/FilmMagic

According to Madison, what was pictured on The Girls Next Door was also far from reality. “People really think everything on reality TV is exactly as it happened and of course that’s not the case. You’d be surprised!” she told Us with a laugh.

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And Madison isn’t concerned about accuracy when it comes to her book. “I do have a pretty extensive scrapbook collection so I went back to that any time I had a question about when something happened or where we were or something like that,” Madison told Us. “Mostly, my memory is pretty decent and I had friends I could check back with too who would corroborate things for me and let me know I wasn’t crazy.”

She also had cheerleaders in her life, including her husband Pasquale Rotella, with whom she shares 2-year-old daughter Rainbow. “He was happy I was finally setting the record straight, because he knows how I feel about all the misconceptions about me, so he was very supportive of the project,” Madison told Us. “He hasn’t read it yet! He is welcome to but he hasn’t gotten around to it yet. He’s been so busy. But he pretty much knows everything so I’m not that hesitant for him to read it.”

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