Former Playboy bunny, Holly Madison, revealed that life inside the Playboy Mansion was nowhere near as glamorous as people picture it from the outside.
The 41-year-old star shared her years of experience inside the mansion on the Call Her Daddy podcast. In an interview with podcast host Alex Cooper, Holly explained that she had to follow strict rules in the "cult-like" environment. This included having to partake in seedy group sex sessions while living in the mansion between 2001 and 2009.
Although Holly was one of Hugh Hefner's "main girlfriends" and appeared to have a glamorous and glorious life, she faced a much darker reality.
Starting from the beginning, Holly lived on a friend's couch in Los Angeles while working as a Hooters waitress and promo model before being invited to her first Playboy party.
"My roommates had all given up on LA and had moved back home. My credit was shot to hell because I wasn't careful with my credit cards. I was kind of in this desperate place of sleeping on somebody's couch, and I'd been going to these parties at the Playboy Mansion.
"I saw the community there, and it all seems very nice on the outside – all his friends love him and talk him up, and he seemed like such a nice person," explained Holly.
Some of Hefner's girlfriends invited Holly on a night out, mingling with celebrities, bunnies and cover stars. She soon became part of the regulars of the Playboy entourage.
She then eventually asked if it would be possible to move into the mansion and was offered a room after the 20-year-old socialite slept with Hefner. Holly added that, before being led into the old magazine mogul's bedroom, she was offered drugs referred to as "thigh openers". She declined hard drugs but admitted that she was "always wasted" on booze and cannabis. Especially when it came to the part of having group sex with Hefner.
However, the pressure to have sex only intensified once she moved in. "His room used to be like a hell-hole, with stacks and stacks of video tapes". All girlfriends were urged to participate in bi-weekly orgies, with two screens playing porn films in the background, as the Playboy businessman was pleasured.
Seeing that she only had "boring, basic sex" until she moved in, the experiences made her feel "out of control". Holly admitted that she did feel a lot of "shame" about partaking. She "internalised" her feelings to survive.
After a while, Holly learned to cope in the disturbing environment and the "cultish" rules.
One of the rules was that all the "girlfriends" had to stick to a strict 9pm curfew. Every week they would receive $1,000 to spend on clothes, but the weekly income would be reduced if the managers found out that a bunny was saving too much cash.
With all the drama, Holly nearly reached her breaking point two years after moving into the mansion. Some of this included being offered free plastic surgery to fit Hefner's taste, as well as being backstabbed by other bunnies who are trying to get in the spotlight –
"After being there for a couple of years, I realised I'd developed a stammer when I tried to speak. My brain felt slower, and I struggled to think of certain things. I think it was part of being nervous, doubting myself and being in an environment where I was always drunk. My mind wasn't being stimulated…
"You're only valued for your looks and expected to party all the time."
Although the former bunny had thought of leaving the mansion back then, she said that it just the thought of it felt "very scary" to Holly. At that time, Holly was seeing a psychiatrist and was put on anti-depressants.
Holly continued her journey as a Playboy bunny and even signed up for the Playboy TV show The Girls Next Door. However, behind the gorgeous smile and fun-loving attitude she showed on screen, she battled suicidal thoughts.
When some of the other "girlfriends" left the mansion, Hefner started "lashing out". That is when the Girls Next Door star decided it was time to do the same and cut ties, as she dreams of having a family of her own. Even though Holly didn't make money from the show initially, she eventually saved some cash. This helped her to have greater financial security. "(I decided) over the course of a few months because I had a lot of guilt. I felt like I had made a commitment to be with him, and we'd talked about being together for the rest of his life. When I realised I wasn't going to be able to have kids with him, that was a big thing. I was sad about it, and then the depression came back."
Since she broke free from Hefner, Holly only reached more success in her own right. Since then, she appeared on the popular reality TV show Dancing with the Stars before landing a role in a burlesque Peepshow in Las Vegas. She is also now a New York Times best selling author.