Crystal Hefner’s new memoir sparks a lot of righteous anger, Say only good things: Surviving Playboy and finding myself as she reminisces about the Playboy world that left many of the women who were part of Hugh Hefner’s former harem picking up the pieces.
“A lot of women who have been in Hef’s orbit have lost their luster,” Crystal tells PEOPLE. “It has traumatized people.”
Crystal is the latest of Hef’s girlfriends to write or speak out about the damage done by the man who claimed to have liberated women by sparking the sexual revolution.
It’s been nearly seven years since Hugh Hefner’s death, and his third and final wife Crystal, now 37, is exploring her own traumas and supporting the claims of Hefner’s former friends in her memoir, out now. She spoke to PEOPLE for a story in this week’s issue about the world she entered when she was just 21 and Hefner was 60 years older.
Three months after moving into the Playboy mansion in 2008, Crystal found herself not only stepping into the No. 1 girlfriend role left vacant when Holly Madison left, but also starring opposite teenage twins Karissa and Kristina Shannon in its final season The girls next door.
The twins later came forward with their own allegations against Hefner, according to PEOPLE. Crystal agrees that it was “creepy” that Hefner had them as friends, and she thought about how girls as young as 11 would write to Hefner asking if they could come live with him in the mansion after watching episodes of the show.
“He would tell them to wait until they were 18,” says Crystal. “It’s scary how The girls next door glorified it. It’s sad and it’s awful.”
Holly, Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt had been on and off since Crystal arrived on the scene in 2009 and was expected to take up Holly’s mantle. Crystal says the film crew immediately wanted to create a controversial relationship between her and Holly, Hef’s previous main girlfriend.
“I had never met Holly in my life,” Crystal writes in her book. But when told to recite the line, “I’m not the new Holly. She’s my old one,” she did.
When the episode aired, Holly thought Krystal was about to break her up and the tabloids wrote that they were in an infighting. And while it’s true that they weren’t always the best of friends, Crystal had her back when the rubber hit the road. After Holly claimed that Hefner was blackmailing her with compromising photos, Crystal confirmed the existence of not only those photos, but also thousands of photos of other women who had been to the mansion.
Hefner always had a disposable camera with him, Crystal writes, and took pictures of women everywhere. “We were disposable too. I watched as those cameras filled with the most incriminating images,” he writes. “Rolls and rolls of potential blackmail if he ever wanted to use it that way.”
He later spoke of finding a hiding place from these photos while he was taking out the mansion.
“I just opened the top drawer of the desk and found all these nude pictures of the ex Girls next door and friends carelessly thrown there to be looked at,” says Crystal. “Hef didn’t show these women much respect.”
Crystal says she tore up all the photos she found and threw them away. “I look through the scrapbooks and it makes me angry,” she adds. “It’s just a people trophy [Hef] I slept littered with really relevant, culturally significant documents.’
For more on Crystal Hefner, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.
Although she is not close with any of her former teammates, she still has some contact with Kendra. “Maybe he’ll come to one of my book signings,” Crystal says.
And she’s ready for a reunion with her predecessors with Hef’s girlfriend.
“We must come together and make an anti-Girls next door,” she says. “Maybe one day we’ll get along. We shared a unique experience together.”