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More than five years have passed since the death of the Playboy tycoon Hugh Hefner. The infamous Grotto is no more, and the Playboy Mansion now belongs to the co-owner of Hostess Twinkies.

With the all-night parties nothing but a distant memory, former Playmate Holly Madison and friends are ready to spill the beans once again in a new AMC docuseries titled Secrets of Playboy.

Nothing is off-limits, as former employees and Playmates share a plethora of Hefner’s “dirty little secrets.”

Holly Madison describes a ‘cult-like atmosphere’ at the Playboy Mansion

Holly Madison
Holly Madison | Ethan Miller/Getty Images for MGM Resorts International

Over the years, Madison has been one of the most vocal Playmates to talk about her experience at the Playboy Mansion. Two decades ago, at the age of 21, she moved into the California estate. She began dating Hefner, who was 75 at the time, and became one of his “main girlfriends.”

According to Best Life, Madison lived at the mansion from 2001 to 2010, and for five of those years was the focus of the E! reality show The Girls Next Door

Now, at 41 years of age, Madison recalls the “cult-like atmosphere” and describes her relationship with the Playboy tycoon as a “very Stockholm syndrome type of thing.”

In 2015, the former Playmate wrote her memoir, Down the Rabbit Hole. In the best-selling book, Madison described her life with Hefner and the decline of her mental health during those years.

Hugh Hefner promoted the frequent use of Quaaludes 

Hugh Hefner poses at Playboy's 60th Anniversary special event
Hugh Hefner | Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy

According to BuzzFeed, Madison still has more to reveal. The Secrets of Playboy teaser sees her saying that she felt stuck in a “cycle of gross things” while living at the Playboy Mansion.

Former Playmate Sondra Theodore also has a lot to say about the “realities of life at the mansion,” claiming that there was ‘hard drug use.'” Theodore says that Hefner always pretended not to partake in the drugs but that it was a lie and Quaaludes were “used for sex” on a regular basis.

In the 1970s, the recreational use of the sedative-hypnotic drug was rampant. The BBC reported that in 1985, the popular Schedule I drug was banned due to its addictive qualities and widespread abuse.

In the Secrets of Playboy trailer, Theodore can be seen saying, “It was such a seduction, and the men knew this – that they could get girls to do just about anything they wanted if they gave them a Quaalude.”

‘Secrets of Playboy’


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The new AMC docuseries attempts to throw back the veil of secrecy and examine in great detail the dynamics of Hefner’s relationships with women who were more than half his age.

Madison corroborated the use of Quaaludes in her book, claiming that the drugs were encouraged and frequently used by the girls. She described regular orgies where Hefner and the girls would be under the influence of the hardcore drug.

The former playmate claims that she was given a Quaalude on the first night she slept with the Playboy founder. She recalls him saying, “Usually I don’t approve of drugs, but you know, in the ’70s they used to call these pills ‘thigh openers.'”

The Insider reported that Hefner’s personal assistant, Lisa Loving Barrett, reveals in the new docuseries that Hefner would put prescriptions for the illicit drug in her name. She claims the drug use was a “necessary evil” to the nightly partying that went on at the Playboy Mansion.

The A&E docuseries Secrets of Playboy will premiere on January 24, 2022.