Behind the curtain. Holly Madison has always been outspoken about her time in the Playboy Mansion, and she’s sharing even more details in the new A&E docuseries Secrets of Playboy.
In Us Weekly‘s exclusive sneak peek of the Monday, January 24, premiere, the Vegas Diaries author, 42, describes life in the mansion as “cult-like.” The Oregon native lived there from 2001 to 2008 while she was dating Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
“The reason I think the mansion was very cult-like, looking back on it, is because we were all kind of gaslit and expected to think of Hef as, like, this really good guy,” the Holly’s World alum says in the video. “You started to feel like, ‘Oh, he’s not what they say in the media — he’s just a nice man.'”
The model also recalls the way the late media mogul, who died in 2017 at age 91, kept his girlfriends hidden away in the mansion.
“Another thing that reminds me of a cult is how it was so easy to get isolated from the outside world there,” Madison explains. “You had a 9 o’clock curfew, you were encouraged to not have friends over. You weren’t really allowed to leave unless it was, like, a family holiday.”
When she moved into the mansion, the former reality star initially kept her job as a waitress, working one day a week, but she claims Hefner quickly put a stop to it.
“He said it made him jealous, and he would appreciate it if I quit my job,” Madison says. “So, instead, we were given $1,000 a week as an allowance.”
The Girls Next Door alum first detailed her life with Hefner in her 2015 memoir, Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny. “I thought I was an adult and thought I was making my free choice. And I was,” she wrote about her choice to move into the mansion when she was just 21. “But I wasn’t sophisticated or really prepared. And kind of got in over my head.”
Shortly after Madison and Hefner split in 2008, her Girls Next Door costars Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt left the mansion too. “I was actually thinking about it for a while,” Marquardt, 48, told Us in February 2009 after her departure. “It’s just a good time for me to become my own person.”
The former Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches host also participated in Secrets of Playboy, along with ex-Playmates and staff members who worked for Hefner before his death.
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Secrets of Playboy premieres on A&E Monday, January 24, at 9 p.m. ET.
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