Crystal Hefner Details "Traumatic" and "Emotionally Abusive" Marriage to Hugh Hefner

Crystal Hefner Describes Her "Traumatic" Marriage to Hugh Hefner

It's not that Crystal Hefner didn't love Hugh Hefner at all when she married the 86-year-old in 2012. But after saying "I do" when she was only 26, she became increasingly convinced that the Playboy founder didn't really love her.

"I loved Hef, I cared for him," Crystal told E! News' Francesca Amiker in an exclusive interview. "But in some ways that he treated me, I just felt, OK, this guy can't really be in love with me."

In her new book, Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and Finding Myself, the 37-year-old details how Hefner was controlling and, at times, downright cruel, making harsh cracks about her weight, telling her what to wear and, in a ritual that would make her stomach "flip," popping his little blue pill during movie nights at the Playboy Mansion—a sign that she'd be expected to "perform" for him when he was in the mood.

"It was very traumatic," Crystal told E! of their nearly five-year marriage, which ended when Hefner died in 2017 at the age of 91. "It was emotionally abusive. It was very restrictive. I didn't realize how bad it was until I was away from it for a while."

But while she was in it, she admittedly felt trapped.

photosCrystal Hefner Through the Years

"I never felt like I had a way out," she said. While she envisioned a world in which she could "finally feel free and happy," she knew that wasn't going to happen while she was living at the mansionคำพูดจาก สล็อต888 PG. Instead, the onetime San Diego State psychology major found herself banishing her instincts to the back of her mind.

"I remember being 21 and walking up the stairs to Hef's bedroom after a party and something inside me is telling me, 'This is weird," Crystal said. "But I'm like, 'OK, let's just push that down, let's not listen—and let's just go!'"

Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy

As she strived to meet the unrealistic aesthetic demands placed on her, "I completely changed everything about myself," she said. "Beauty is subjective and there's all types of beauty, but I just stuck to what Hugh Hefner saw as beautiful."

Replacing her wariness at the time, Crystal wrote, was the feeling of being "chosen" by Hefner, who for decades enjoyed a relatively unchallenged existence as the pajama-clad lord of a fantastical playground frequented by the rich and famous.

"My dad passed away at a young age and my mom and I were completely broke. We had nothing, we just made ourselves small," Crystal told E! of the vulnerable circumstances that preceded her decision to enter into a relationship with a man 60 years her senior. "At one point, we were just in a bedroom in another family's house. So I spent my whole life feeling that everyone was better than me. And finally, I thought, 'Wow, maybe I am special in some way—because I have been chosen.' It's really interesting what that feeling does to you."

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Looking back, Crystal knows now that not leaving, even when she so desperately wanted to, "all comes down to self-worth and self-love," she said. "And I didn't have much of it at that time."

Since Hefner's death in September 2017—weeks before the #MeToo movement poured proverbial luminol all over Hollywood's stained history of sexual misconduct—a number of women, including Girls Next Door star Holly Madison, have shared unsparing accounts of their own experiences of life in the Playboy universe. (While she's participated in multiple projects unpacking the brand's complicated legacy over the years, when Holly released her 2015 memoir Down the Rabbit Hole, Hefner alleged she'd "chosen to rewrite history in an attempt to stay in the spotlight.")

photosThe Girls Next Door: Then and Now

While she's now in "a happy and healthy relationship," after Hefner died Crystal still found herself dating men who were "manipulative and controlling," she said, "and I'm like, 'Wow, I'm falling into the same stupid traps.'"

Crystal Hefner Details "Traumatic" and "Emotionally Abusive" Marriage to Hugh Hefner

Years of therapy, during which she took a lot of notes, helped her unpack the trauma she didn't even realize she had sustained during her marriage, which was Hefner's third. (And, she said that in the near future she plans to finally rid herself of her married name and return to being Crystal Harris, "that last step to just be myself.")

MediaPunch/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

She found that reliving even the lowest points of her life behind the walls of the Playboy Mansion while writing her memoir was a very liberating experience. 

"I'm in a much better place," said Crystal, who when not on a book tour is living her best life managing real estate projects and enjoying her lychee farm in Hawaii. "I feel that I will always be a work in progress, but I feel that I finally have true freedom."คำพูดจาก สล็อต888

Though interestingly, she noted, it wasn't until the reactions to her book started rolling in that she thought of her story as tragic.

"I didn't realize how sad a lot of this was," she admitted. "A lot of the feedback has been sadness."

But she ultimately wrote the book because "it was time to tell the truth for my own healing," Crystal said, "and to hopefully help people caught in the same trap."

Living at the mansion, "I didn't know who I was," she explained. "And when you don't know who you are, that could be dictated to you by somebody else. And if that's given to you by someone else, it could also be taken away. So it's very important for you to have your own power, your own voice. If you're following your own inner compass, I think that will be very helpful in life."

Read on for more of the biggest revelations from Crystal Hefner's memoir, Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and Finding Myself:

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Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and Finding Myself by Crystal Hefner

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