Hugh Hefner's Widow: 'I Must've Been Brainwashed'

Crystal Hefner talks to 'NYT' ahead of new memoir, in which she notes she wasn't 'in love' with Hef
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2024 11:30 AM CST
Crystal Hefner Talks Memoir, Wasn't 'In Love' with Hugh
In this April 26, 2010, file photo, Hugh Hefner, left, and then-Crystal Harris arrive at the premiere of "Iron Man 2" at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

Crystal Hefner, widow of the late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, has a memoir coming out Tuesday on life in the Playboy Mansion—but don't expect it to be any kind of rose-tinted hagiography. The title of the 37-year-old former Playmate's book, Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and Finding Myself, arose from something she says her husband once said to her before he died—"I want you to continue my legacy going forward ... and I want to remind you to only say good things about me," per People—but the memoir doesn't mince words in how Crystal Hefner really felt. Some advance revelations:

  • The entrepreneur—who met Hugh Hefner at a 2008 Halloween party, when she was 21 and he was 81—says that although she loved Hef, whom she took care of in his final years, she was never "in love" with him. "I was dealing with a really big power imbalance," she writes. "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."
  • Hefner was a control freak of sorts, his widow says, doling out an "allowance" to his girlfriends every week—as long as they agreed to spend it on dolling themselves up, with conditions. "Our nail polish couldn't be anything but some neutral color, no French manicure," Crystal Hefner notes.
  • The infamous Playboy Mansion was falling into disrepair, complete with dirty surroundings, mold, and birds that weren't given enough water. "Too many parties. It was worn out," she writes. "I feel like I was constantly crying for everything and everybody there."

The New York Times also recently sat down with Crystal Hefner, who tells the paper she feels "regret and disgust" now over her relationship with the Playboy founder. "I must've been brainwashed or something," she laments. More from Crystal Hefner here and here. (More Hugh Hefner stories.)

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