NEW YORK — Holly Madison 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).
Madison says she wrote the book not only to speak her truth but also to “inspire people who are in bad relationships.”
She moved into the mansion in 2001, becoming Hefner’s No. 1 girlfriend and sharing the founder of Playboy magazine with other women.
In 2005, she and two other Hefner girlfriends, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson, became the subject of “Girls Next Door.” The E! reality show was a hit for the network and the Playboy brand. They remained for five of the show’s six seasons until they moved out in 2008.
Q: Hugh Hefner has already released a statement saying your version of the story is like rewriting history. Did you expect that was coming?
A: 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 ... why I made the decision I did 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.
Q: In your book you say Hefner loves to write letters. Have you gotten any letters about your book?
A: He doesn’t have any of my contact information and I’d like to keep it that way because he’s somebody that I look back on as somebody who treated me really poorly, who I tried to convince myself was a great person but I don’t think is and I don’t want negative, toxic people in my life anymore.
Q: So is it freeing to share your story?
A: 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.
Q: 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?
A: I definitely didn’t think I would find anybody who would be OK with my past. ... I definitely felt branded by that.