A lot has been made over the last several years about Playboy’s poor sales in a world where nudity is readily available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. In fact, they were so desperate to change their fortunes that they tried to revamp their image and get rid of the nudes, which was the one thing that set them apart from their competition. Unsurprisingly that experiment didn’t do as well as they may have hoped and there seems to be a big movement to return the magazine to its roots. No matter if they come back or not, it is clear that things aren’t as rosy for the entity as they once were.
In fact, from 2005 to 2009, Playboy was not only huge on the newsstand but they managed to extend their brand to television as part of the “reality” TV craze of the time. The Girls Next Door was a show that focused on the day to day life of Playboy magnate, Hugh Hefner’s main girlfriends at the time. Lasting for six seasons, the series opened the doors of the Playboy mansion to the public in a way that was unheard of at the time, introducing the world to the personalities of Hugh’s girlfriend gaggle. Initially featuring Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson, the world was fascinated by this trio of blondes, since in the past we all saw Hefner’s entourage as beautiful but silent. Having the opportunity to understand the type of people who were not only willing to date a man of his age but share him with one another was too fascinating to miss. Of course, it also didn’t hurt that there were always lots of hot women coming and going. These two elements led the show to be a ratings juggernaut for E! but since the series has been off the air for many years now, the stars have mostly become question marks once again. That realization is what inspired us to put together this list of fifteen things you didn’t know about Hugh Hefner’s ‘girls next door’.
In order for us to consider including something on this list, it had to pertain to one of the female stars of the show, whether it stemmed from the time the show was on the air, before, or after. That means that despite a bevy of other Playboy models and beauties appearing on the show, we took zero interest in any of them unless they became a part of its main cast. However, some people may not remember them now but the lives of Crystal Harris, Kristina and Karissa Shannon were of interest to us as they were the stars of the sixth season. The only other thing to keep in mind is that we didn’t consider any facts about the actual filming of the show as this list is focused on the girls instead of the show.
15. Bar Peril
If you are anything like us, at one time or another you’ve discussed with friends or thought to yourself how awesome it would be to run a bar or club. Whether you were sitting at a pub with pals and reflecting on how great of an environment it is or out for a night on the town and thought it would be great to do this every night, it seems bound to happen. Fortunately, most of us realize after the fact that it is probably a horrible idea after remembering all of the bars we’ve frequented that have opened and closed or we are too lazy to do anything about it. Holly Madison never hit either of those walls, however, and as such, she was involved in opening a “speakeasy-themed club in Las Vegas”. Unsurprisingly, she ended up parting way with the club but the part that shocked us was her relationship with it began in May and ended in December of the same year. Clearly, she wasn’t made out for the bar business.
14. Holly Contemplated Suicide
For those of you who don’t know about it, Hugh Hefner’s former “main girlfriend”, Holly Madison, put out a book that is supposed to detail her time in the Playboy mansion. While there have been some who’ve attempted to refute her version of events, we were never there so we can only take her at her word. In her book Down the Rabbit Hole, Holly said that her time with Hef was a “nightmare” which led to her feeling quite depressed. In fact, her publisher HarperCollins in a release to promote her book drew a horrible image of her life at the time. “After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth and her hope for the future, Holly found herself sitting alone in a bathtub contemplating suicide”. Thankfully, it appears that she no longer seems to have thoughts like that now that she lives a much more independent life but more on that later.
13. Strict Curfew
Speaking of Holly feeling freer since leaving the Playboy mansion, there appears to be a lot of reasons why Hef’s women would have felt stifled while living with him. Parties at the Playboy mansion are a thing of legend and the girls and Hugh often made public appearances but there were still some nights where there wasn’t anything specific for them to do. On those occasions, they were allowed to go out on their own but when they did there were still rules to be followed. Evidently, there was a curfew in place that demanded that they arrive back to the mansion by Nine O’Clock at night. Keep in mind, these are grown women.
12. Shannon Twins, Addiction Issues?
We’ve never met the Shannon Twins, so we have no idea if their typical night involves them sitting around a fire and reading a book but their behavior in public tells a different story. The fact that Kristina was charged with DUI in January of 2016 is reason enough to think she has made some horrible decisions when under the influence. There was also the time in February of 2015 when Kristina once again was embarrassed publicly due to being inebriated after footage of her falling multiple times on the Sunset Strip was uploaded by TMZ. Finally, while the pair were taking part in a “reality” show called Botched, where people who’d suffered bad plastic surgery received more work to fix their problem areas, things got ugly. In an episode of the show, the two doctors who were helping them got quite upset with the pair when it came out that they were drinking and taking Percocet on top of the heavy post-op painkillers. Seems like some pretty problematic behavior to us.
11. Substances on Tap
Speaking of drugs, another tidbit from Holly Madison’s book claimed that they were made available to the girls. According to her, as soon as she was introduced to the celebrity magazine founder, he offered her a Quaalude. Writing about the incident, Holly claims it went down like this, “’Would you like a Quaalude?’ Hef asked, leaning toward me with a bunch of large horse pills in his hands, held together by a crumpled tissue”. She claimed that she didn’t take him up on his offer but it is the details of this story that makes it come across as believable to us. After all, isn’t there something that just seems right about an older man like Hef carrying his drugs inside of a Kleenex?
10. Spin-Off Hell
When you have a successful “reality” show, it is a no-brainer to try to keep the momentum going when its run is over. That is why there is a long history of spin-offs in the genre, like the many Kardashian-related series or international versions of competition style shows. The Girls Next Door was no exception but we’re sad to report that the majority of them weren’t on the air for very long. There was Kendra, the show that unsurprisingly focused on Kendra Wilkinson that debuted in 2009 and finished airing by the end of 2011. Holly’s World only aired two seasons, which also meant that it began in 2009 and ended in 2011. However, the worst attempt at a spin-off was the one starring Bridget Marquardt, Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches, which only aired seventeen episodes and lasted from March to June of 2009. Thankfully for its star, there is one “reality” show starring one of the girls that has shown staying power but we’ll tell you more about that later.
9. Forgotten Star Marries The Boss
When people think about The Girls Next Door, it is really Holly, Kendra and Bridget that come to mind. Beyond them, the Shannon Twins are pretty memorable, first, because of their occasionally outlandish behavior, and secondly because they are identical twin sisters who dated the same geriatric. That said, the sixth season of the show starred another woman that is easily the least memorable member of the group and she was known as Crystal Harris at the time. Oddly enough, the girl next door most of us think of the least is the one that was able to nail Hef down as she married him in 2012, becoming Crystal Hefner in the process.
8. Dating A Playmate Of The Year?
Kristina Shannon became famous for dating Hugh Hefner but that isn’t the only time she received headlines due to her love life. In July of 2012, she was said to be dating the 50th woman to be named Playmate of the Year, Ida Ljungqvist. A gorgeous and busty woman who was discovered by Sara Jean Underwood, Ida is the first African-born woman to take home the title as she did in 2009. Evidently, the pair met while Kristina was living in the Playboy Mansion and while Ida was previously married to a man for five years, things seemed to get steamy between the pair. At least, that is what several media outlets reported at the time, anyway.
7. Women’s Rights Fight
There has been a debate in society for a long time whether women who appear in magazines like Playboy are being taken advantage of or are fearless people who feel strength in their sexuality. One thing that appears to be more clear though is that two of The Girls Next Door have been doing things in order to fight for women’s rights. Holly Madison has walked in Las Vegas’ Women’s March in the past according to The Daily Times. Kendra Wilkinson went to greater lengths, however, as she took part in 2016’s SlutWalk organized by Amber Rose. On top of that, she is said to have given an impassioned speech at the event as well.
Here is a snippet of what she said at the event: “they blame us, they shame us. They don’t want us to have the power.” She continued, “The real fight starts tomorrow. The real fight when you face the double standards we’re faced with everyday — the media, everywhere. You’ve got to stand up to the media, your friends, your family. Whoever victim shames, stand up to them.” The crowd cheered when she asserted, “it’s time to stop it. This is for our f***ing kids.”
6. Highly Scheduled Life
We informed you earlier about the curfew that was reportedly in place for Hef’s live-in girlfriends but according to Holly Madison, that is far from the only schedule as almost every day was planned out. There was fun in the sun Sundays where there was a pool party and a screening of a newly released movie. On Monday night Hef’s male buddies came over for a game of cards and dinner, while Tuesday was when his sons and ex-wife visited. Wednesday was said to be the night they hit the clubs and had some decidedly un-PG bedroom time afterward, followed by a reprieve, as Thursdays were unplanned. Right back at it on Fridays, however, as they repeated their Wednesday club and after hour activities. Finally, Saturday featured a buffet dinner and a classic film of Hef’s choosing. Living such a regimented life would have made us feel claustrophobic.
5. Weddings Galore
At one time in their lives Holly, Bridget and Kendra were all okay with sharing a man with one another and others but judging by their activities after leaving the mansion they’ve all had a change of heart. Bridget Marquardt is currently engaged to film director Nicholas Carpenter who made the 2009 horror anthology The Telling. Kendra Wilkinson married former NFL wide receiver Hank Baskett in 2009, and they are still a couple today. Finally, Holly Madison married Pasquale Rotella at Disneyland in 2013. It certainly seems like they figured out what they no longer wanted after living their lives as one of a single person’s many partners in the past to us.
4. Karissa Shannon “Tape” Past
The Shannon twins seem to have instituted a divide and conquer strategy when it comes to receiving headlines. Kristina Shannon seems to be the one that is principally in charge of getting attention for her abuse of drugs and alcohol while Karissa is in charge of sex tape headlines. We say that because she and her former boyfriend, Sam Jones III, who played Clark Kent’s best friend in the early seasons of Smallville starred in one. Released in 2010, the recording left nothing to the imagination. Not content with that alone, however, also in 2010 she was at the center of a controversy involving Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. People paid attention when it was said that Karissa and Heidi recorded a sex tape together that Spencer had in his possession and was willing to sell to the highest bidder. However, at the time of this writing, more than six years later, there hasn’t been a single frame of it that was released to the public so who knows how much of it was true.
3. Internal Feuds
Three women who shared a unique experience with one another, it would be nice if Kendra, Holly and Bridget got along but it seems like only the latter two have stayed tight. We say that first and foremost because the first two we mentioned had a huge falling out after Holly’s first memoir was released and her former housemate felt it was a misrepresentation of life at the mansion. Taking to Twitter to rebuke the book’s claims, Kendra wrote some explicit things about Holly, which were too outrageous to include here, as a result of her anger. Also, Kendra and Bridget haven’t always been on the same page, although things never got that nasty between them. Evidently, Kendra is hard to please as she has even spoken out against one of season six’s stars, Crystal Hefner, going so far as to say she “wanted to kill her”.
2. Last Series Standing
In an earlier entry, we wrote about the spate of spin-offs that came out when Bridget, Holly and Kendra, all left the show that made them stars and how short their runs were. We mentioned that there was one that stuck around a while and that is Kendra On Top, which had a season air as recently as 2016. Debuting a few years ago in 2012, the show hasn’t had its fate going forward announced yet, it could be canceled or keep going, but either way it reigns supreme as the most successful spin-off starring any of the former girls next door.
1. Horrible Time In The Bedroom
This entry is not for the faint of heart so although we are going to try and be delicate, we must advise you that reader’s discretion is advised. Considering Hugh was in his eighties during part of the run of this series you may think that being romantically linked to him is a sexless job, but you’d be wrong. According to reports, he is liberal with the use of little blue pills and the bevy of beauties he “dates” are expected to help him get his release more than once a week. According to Holly Madison’s book, the girls would pair off at times, Hef by himself, and then some of them would join him. While Kendra disputes some elements of Holly’s take on things, she has made it abundantly clear that she too had sex with Hef, even saying she “made the choice to sleep with an 80-year-old man for some money”.