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Ex Playboy model refers to relationship with Hugh Hefner as 'very Stockholm syndrome'

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

A former Playboy model has opened up about the realities of living at Hugh Hefner's infamous Playboy Mansion. Holly Madison, who moved into the notorious property back in 2001 when she was 21-years-old, claimed it was home to a "gross cycle" of goings-on as well as a constant "pressure" to look a certain way.

Just a few months after moving into the Playboy Mansion, Madison started dating Hefner (who, at 75-years-old, was 54 years her senior at the time). The magazine tycoon was known to have multiple girlfriends throughout the years, often alternating his 'main girlfriend' who would appear on his arm at glamorous events.

While they were an item, Madison, who is now 41, claims Hefner repeatedly criticised her appearance. On one occasion, she recalled, the Playboy founder "screamed" at her for cutting her hair.

"I got to a point not too far into my time there… where I kind of broke under that pressure and being made to feel like I needed to look exactly like everybody else," she said. "My hair was really long naturally, and I was just like, 'I’m gonna go chop my hair off so I can at least look a little different'."

But, the move wasn't welcomed by Hefner, who Madison claims later "flipped out" on her. "He was screaming at me and said it made me look old, hard and cheap," she said.

Her comments were made during an interview with A&E's upcoming docuseries, Secrets of Playboy, which will explore the dark truths and hidden secrets of life at one of the world's most famous residences.

The former model's claims were backed up by fellow Playmate Bridget Marquardt who also appeared on the docuseries, alleging that Hefner was "pretty abrasive" with her. "[Madison] came down with red lipstick one time and he flipped out and said he hated red lipstick on girls [and to] take it off right away, even though other people could wear red lipstick and it didn’t seem to bother him," Marquardt said.

"I could definitely see that [Madison] was getting depressed and sad and her demeanor was starting to change," she added.

Speaking about how her mental health was impacted by her time at the mansion, Madison said: "I remember there were times probably within the first couple years I lived there when I felt like I was just in this cycle of gross things and I didn’t know what to do."

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

The 41-year-old also alleged that she and other models were encouraged to take Quaaludes (a now-banned drug that has a sedative-hypnotic effect) and participate in orgies with Hefner. In her 2015 memoir, Down the Rabbit Hole, she alleged that Hefner had offered her the drug on her very first night at the mansion, writing that he told her: "Usually I don't approve of drugs, but you know, in the ’70s they used to call these pills 'thigh openers'."

Reflecting on her relationship with Hefner, Madison described it as "very Stockholm syndrome." The pair dated up until 2008 when she decided to leave the Playboy Mansion. Hefner continued to live at the notorious home until his death at the age of 91-years-old in 2017. The property has since been sold off.

Secrets of Playboy is due to air early next year.

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