New York - Holly Madison insists that she doesn't like talking about living at the Playboy mansion and dating Hugh Hefner, but believes "it's important to tell the truth of my story."
The 35-year-old former Playboy Bunny writes about life before, during and after the mansion in her new book, Down the Rabbit Hole (Dey Street Books).
Been there, done that! Get the full story in #DownTheRabbitHole Link to preorder in bio!A photo posted by Holly Jean Madison (@hollymadison) on Jun 18, 2015 at 10:58am PDT
Been there, done that! Get the full story in #DownTheRabbitHole Link to preorder in bio!
A photo posted by Holly Jean Madison (@hollymadison) on Jun 18, 2015 at 10:58am PDT
She paints a completely different picture from the carefree life depicted in the now defunct E! series Girls Next Door, which featured the legendary men's magazine publisher living with his three girlfriends — Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson.
She moved into the mansion in 2001, becoming Hefner's No. 1 girlfriend and remained there until she, Bridget and Kendra moved out in 2008 for different reasons.
"I wasn't really happy with the way Hef treated us," says Madison, now the married mother of one child. "I wanted to be in the relationship where I was the only girl and I wanted more out of the situation than what we were really allowed to do."
The book depicts a calculating, manipulative, and verbally abusive Hefner. For his part, he has released a statement accusing his former lover of rewriting history.
In a Q&A with The Associated Press Madison talks about her new book:
Associated Press: Hugh Hefner has already released a statement rebutting your book. Did you expect that was coming?
Madison: Oh, yeah. I was sure he would put out some kind of response but I didn't really care what it was because for me, he doesn't have any mental or emotional power over me anymore.
I wanted to share my story so people could finally know where I was coming from and ... inspire people if they're in bad relationships to break free or to reinvent themselves if they feel bad about a decision they made a long time ago.
I don't care what his reaction is. This wasn't done out of revenge.
AP: So is it freeing to share your story?
Madison: I take accountability for all the decisions I made. I get into why, and I've learned a lot since those days, so it's definitely liberating to have it all out.
AP: Watching Girls Next Door, you all seemed to be having fun and happy. Was that not the case?
Madison: Everything in the TV show was Hef approved. Everything was very positive when it came to his life and his lifestyle. The three of us girls had a great time filming it.
The show definitely improved life for us a lot.
AP: Your story is unique but do you think it's relatable?
Madison: Everybody has that friend they know who is in a really miserable relationship and they are really unhappy, but they stay and they think they love that person, and I think my story is relatable.
There were a lot of reasons I stayed as long as I did but it didn't mean I was happy or treated well.
AP: Looking back, did you love Hef?
Madison: I absolutely cared about Hef a lot. I tried to love him. I think part of that was to try and justify the decision I made to even be there in the first place. I was a really good girlfriend the whole time he was there. I always had his back but one day I just woke up. I couldn't take it anymore. It was like the spell was broken. I was done.
AP: What part was the hardest to write?
Madison: The first night I spent at the mansion (when she says she had her first sexual encounter with him). I had a lot to drink. That was the only part of the book I had really any trouble remembering much of. I kept skipping that and saying, "I'm gonna go back to that, I'm gonna back to that" because it was something I blocked out.
AP: You're married now to Pasquale Rotella with a young daughter. Did you worry about finding love with someone who is OK with your past?
Madison: I definitely didn't think I would find anybody who would be OK with my past. ... I definitely felt branded by that.
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