‘The Girls Next Door’, also known as ‘The Girls of the Playboy Mansion’ is based in the home of the enigmatic founder of Playboy Magazine, Hugh Hefner, and the subsequent empire it spawned. The show, which ran for 6 seasons between 2005 to 2010, follows the lives of Hefner’s girlfriends at the Playboy Mansion and various Playboy events featuring Hugh Hefner. The show was an instant success as it gave viewers a chance to see what went on behind the scenes of the highly exclusive Playboy Mansion.
The already famous women featured on the show saw a meteoric rise in fame as their lives as girlfriends of the Playboy founder became public. Many of them even got their own shows or spin-offs as a result. Therefore, we decided to check in with the cast of ‘The Girls Next Door’ and see what they have been up to since then.
Hugh Hefner, the man at the center of it all and possibly one of the most iconic celebrities of the 20th century, passed away at the age of 91 on September 27, 2017. He died at the Playboy Mansion by sepsis due to an E.coli infection. Hefner is buried in Westwood Memorial park next to Marilyn Monroe in a plot that he specifically purchased in 2009. Talking about it, he told LA Times, “Spending eternity next to Marilyn is an opportunity too sweet to pass up.” He is survived by his third wife, Crystal Harris, and four children from previous marriages.
Harris had earlier joined the cast of ‘The Girls Next Door’ in 2009 and had ended up marrying the media mogul in 2012. The couple had an age gap of 60 years. After the conclusion of ‘The Girls Next Door,’ Hefner made a voice appearance twice, once as himself on the 2011 movie ‘Hop,’ and then again as the narrator for the pilot episode of ‘The Playboy Club.’
In 2016, the year before his death, the Playboy Mansion was sold to billionaire Daren Metropoulos on the condition that Hefner would continue to live and work in the mansion. The same year, Hefner’s youngest son Cooper was designated as Hefner’s successor as Chief Creative Officer of Playboy but he stepped down after three years in 2019.
At the time ‘The Girls Next Door’ started filming, Holly Madison was Hugh’s longest-standing and “number 1” girlfriend. Shortly after the airing of season 5 in 2008, she announced that she and Hugh were no longer together. Differences between them regarding marriage and children were cited as the reason for breaking up, though Holly has later described her feelings for Hefner being caused by Stockholm syndrome. After appearing briefly on season 6 of the show, Holly moved to Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas, Holly featured on her reality show, ‘Holly’s World’ as well as the live burlesque show ‘Peepshow,’ both of which were based at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. ‘Holly’s World’ ran for two seasons on entertainment channel E! until April 2011, and Holly continued working on ‘Peepshow’ until her pregnancy in 2012. She also featured briefly on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and in May 2009, along with Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, she organized the Guinness World Record-breaking “Largest Bikini Parade Ever.”
Holly and her partner Pasquale Rotella welcomed their daughter in March 2013. Shortly after, the two, who had been together since 2011, got married in Disney World. In August 2016, Holly gave birth to the couple’s second child, a boy. Holly and Pasquale have since announced their separation and their divorce was finalized in February 2019. She continues to live in Las Vegas.
In 2015, Holly released her first memoir – ‘Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny,’ which took the number 1 spot on the New York Times bestsellers list. The book describes her time at the mansion and her life after she left Hefner. Her second memoir, released in 2016, also debuted on the bestseller list. It details her later life and personal reinvention in Las Vegas. It was recently announced that ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ is being turned into a limited series by Sony Pictures Television with Samara Weaving cast in the role of Holly.
Bridget Marquardt was invited to the Playboy Mansion to be one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends in October 2002. Between then and 2009, during the time ‘The Girls Next Door’ was being filmed, Bridget made guest appearances in multiple television shows like ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ ‘Entourage,’ and ‘The Man Show.’ She also featured in radio shows, music videos as well as in the horror/comedy movie ‘Kottentail.’ After leaving the Playboy Mansion in 2009, she hosted ‘Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches’, which ended after one season. The next year, she was working on the pilot of her own reality show.
However, in 2011 she announced that E! had decided not to pick up the show. She continued to make guest appearances in shows, featuring on ‘Top Gear US’ and ‘Celebrity Ghost Stories.’ Bridget has had a long-standing interest in paranormal activity, which first became evident when in an episode of ‘The Girls Next Door,’ she investigated whether the Playboy Mansion was haunted or not. The interest has continued, and since 2019 she has hosted the podcast ‘Ghost Magnet with Bridget Marquardt’, which features celebrities sharing personal stories of paranormal experiences.
So fond is Bridget of all things spooky that even her engagement ring is a custom-made, diamond-encrusted spider. Bridget is currently engaged to director Nicholas Carpenter, who is the son of astronaut Scott Carpenter. The two got engaged in 2015 and were trying IVF to get pregnant in 2016. Bridget mentioned having her eggs frozen during her time living in the Playboy Mansion as they were not allowed to have external relationships at the time.
Kendra moved into the Playboy Mansion as one of Hugh Heffner’s girlfriends in 2004. From then until 2009, while featuring on ‘The Girls Next Door,’ she also appeared in multiple shows like ‘Entourage’ and ‘Las Vegas,’ and music videos of the songs ‘Smack That’ by Akon and ‘Rockstar’ by Nickelback (also featuring her fellow former-Playmates Holly and Bridget). She was also a regular blogger for the Philadelphia Eagles football team website.
Kendra’s fandom for the Philadelphia Eagles, a team for which her mother was a cheerleader, further extended into her romantic life and she got engaged to the team’s wide receiver Hank Baskett in 2008. The two were married at the Playboy Mansion in 2009, and Kendra had her first child, a boy, in December 2009. Soon after, the newly married couple moved to Indianapolis, where Kendra battled with postpartum depression and isolation because of the move. Kendra had her second child, a daughter, in May 2014 and filed for divorce from her husband in April 2018.
Since her time on ‘The Girls Next Door,’ Kendra has appeared in multiple television shows as well as had two shows based on herself. The first, ‘Kendra,’ premiered in 2009 and garnered the broadcasting channel E! record-breaking viewership. It follows the starlet’s life after leaving the Playboy Mansion and ran for three seasons until 2011. Kendra and her family embarked on a reality show in 2012 on WE tv called ‘Kendra on Top,’ which follows their day-to-day life. The show ran for five years, till 2017.
During this time, Kendra also featured on celebrity reality shows ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ and ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ In 2010, Kendra also published her memoir titled ‘Sliding Into Home.’ She currently lives in California, where she spends time with her kids and also seems to be dabbling in real estate.
Mary O’Connor was Hugh Hefner’s longtime secretary and confidante who joined him as manager of the first Playboy Mansion in Chicago in 1969. She worked with him for more than 40 years until she was hospitalized a week before her death. Mary passed away on January 27, 2013, at the age of 84, at Sherman Oaks Hospital following a brief illness. Hefner was stated as being devastated by her death.
Though a vital part of the Playboy Empire, Mary was said to be happiest when out of the limelight and therefore did not get as much screen time on ‘The Girls Next Door.’ A 2008 episode of the show, titled ‘There’s Something About Mary O’Connor’ was filmed in her house but did not give too many details about her. For the most part, Mary spent her time in her tiny office on the second floor of the Playboy Mansion, from where Hugh is said to have run his Playboy empire from a couch looking up at her desk.
After the conclusion of the show, things stayed much the same for Mary as she continued to work at her office in the mansion from 9 am to 5 pm, sometimes for seven days a week. She spent long hours with Hefner dealing with various business matters. In a 2010 interview, she mentioned that she had no intention of retiring, and was at that time busy planning Hefner’s upcoming birthday bash which was to take place at the mansion and then continue on in Las Vegas.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, friends of Mary described her as kind and someone who rarely raised her voice, although her sharp, sometimes X-rated sense of humor was known to appear from time to time. She played confidante not just to Hugh but also to the Playmates who lived in the mansion, many of who described her as a second mother and a pillar of support. Mary was married 4 times, but grew old with her partner of 30 years, Robert F. Gentert, who was a sailor and was lovingly called “Captain Bob.” Gentert passed away shortly before Mary did.