Holly Madison doesn’t hold back in her memoir, "Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny." In the tell-all, the reality television star kisses and tells, dishing on everything that occurred on and off camera while living at Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s mansion. According to Hefner’s former No. 1 girlfriend, their relationship was not as fantastic as it appeared to be on five seasons of E!’s “The Girls Next Door.” As for their breakup, Madison claims it was even worse.
After spending several years with Hefner, Madison broke off their relationship in October 2008. She writes in her memoir that her decision to dump the now 89-year-old Hefner came about after she realized he had someone spy on her during a work-related trip to Las Vegas. After Hefner contacted her during her trip, informing her she had given him “the worst night of my life” due to her decision to bring a boy – her later boyfriend, illusionist Criss Angel -- into her hotel room, she decided to pull the plug.
“I’ve decided I can’t stay any longer. My feelings aren’t there anymore and I don’t want to fake it,” Madison, now 35, recounts telling Hefner in a phone call. “I need to make a life for myself and have a family.”
Hefner reportedly responded by asking Madison if she “was sure” she wanted to break up and tempting her with a sixth season of “The Girls Next Door.” She claims he also tried to guilt her into staying by asking if she wanted him to “have another stroke” and saying “that if he died it would be my fault.”
"He wasn't above using his age and health as a tactic to get his way," writes Madison.
When she reconfirmed her choice, she said that she told him she wanted her “freedom” and to hang out with her girlfriends as she saw fit. (Earlier in the memoir, Madison reveals Hefner enforced a strict 9 p.m. curfew, among other rules for his gaggle of revolving girlfriends.) Hefner allegedly responded, saying, “Ha! What makes you think any of those girls will want to hang out with you if you aren’t my girlfriend?"
Hefner told a different story to People following their split. He said their breakup was caused by his disinterest in getting married and having children. Hefner would later go on to wed his third wife, Crystal Hefner, in 2012.
After their breakup, Madison claims she received word that Hefner was talking badly about her behind her back. She called to confront him about it and their conversation did not go well. She says he accused her of having “an agenda all along” and slammed her for being a “different person.” After that conversation, Madison says she quit her job as a photo editor at Playboy’s Studio West.
Almost seven years later Madison and Hefner remain on bad terms. Following the release of excerpts from her memoir earlier this month, Hefner told People he believed Madison had “chosen to rewrite history" in an attempt to "stay in the spotlight." She responded to his comments on Thursday, saying, "I'm definitely not rewriting history. Everything in the book is 100 percent true. I just think it's not the version of the story he would like to tell."