Holly Madison knows the dark side of the Playboy world better than anyone, so the first Girls next door star’s new appearance isn’t too surprising. Madison hosts The Playboy Murdersa six-part true crime series exploring several tragedies that intersected with the brand and lifestyle made famous by her ex-boyfriend, Hugh Hefner.
“I just felt like I could identify with some of these victims because they came from the same kind of careers or the same kind of places as me,” Madison tells Yahoo ahead of Monday night’s premiere, saying she was “immediately forced” used to be. by the starting point.
“I hadn’t heard of so many of these stories before and I thought I knew all about them Playboy history and about what happened to all the Playmates and stuff,” she adds. “So I really wanted to dive deeper into it.”
The premiere episode on Investigative Discovery (ID) looks at the murder of a model and in 2009 Playboy hostess Jasmine Fiore, who was found dead and dismembered in a dumpster. Her husband, Ryan Alexander Jenkins, beat Fiore in a jealous rage before mutilating her. (Jenkins, who appeared on the reality series VH1 Megan wants to be a millionairelater died of suicide.) Although Madison had moved out of the Playboy Mansion a year earlier, she knew about Fiore’s murder when it made national news. The reality star feels protective of Fiore in a way, because she knows what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship.
“I feel like what I went through with Hef was definitely emotional and verbal abuse. And I ended up leaving after so many years because the verbal abuse got so bad I couldn’t take it anymore,” Madison recalled. “When I tell my story, so many people want to say, ‘Well, why didn’t you leave? Why did you stay so long?’ And I like talking about things like that because I think there’s such a misunderstanding about it and I can understand it.
Madison continues, “When I was young I heard stories of celebrities in abusive relationships and the public reaction was like, ‘Well, if you don’t leave after the first thing that went wrong, you know, it’s your fault for staying. ‘ That was kind of an attitude. And I remember thinking that too before I actually had that experience myself.”
Madison moved into the mansion and began dating Hefner in 2001 when she was just 21 years old. The model says dating the Playboy founder made her realize “how complex” and “multi-layered the nature of these kinds of relationships can be.”
“At first everything seems so great and you’re bombarded with love and you think this person is a great person. So when something goes a bit off track, you make excuses and you think it’s the exception. You’re wondering what’s going on with you and you’re struggling to fix it,” she shares. “So I like speaking on behalf of the victims and explaining to other people that abusive relationships aren’t that simple and that it’s not that easy. easy to get out. And it’s not that person’s fault if they didn’t. see the first sign and run away because no one really works like that. People are complex. You see something bad about someone [and] you are not psychic. You don’t know they’re going to stay that way forever.”
Madison lifted the curtain first Playboy world in the 2015 memoir Down the rabbit hole. She spoke more deeply about the trauma she suffered in her relationship last year Secrets of Playboy. Hefner was accused of physical and emotional abuse by ex-girlfriends in the docuseries, which essentially served as his #MeToo moment. Madison says it was somewhat liberating to spread some of the darkness that continued to the public.
“I had very mixed feelings about it,” she admits, noting that she didn’t watch the episode she took part in. “I watched everyone’s episode and every time… I would have a nightmare. It’s a lot “It’s really heavy. But I’m proud of other people telling their stories and I have to admit it feels a little bit vindicating.”
Madison feels like “so many people” didn’t believe her when she came forward with her story years ago.
“Every time I told my story I got reactions. But when I heard that so many other women came forward [in Secrets of Playboy], I absolutely wanted to be there for them on their side. I know what it feels like to come out and say something without anyone backing you up, so I wanted to support that,” Madison adds. “So I’m very proud of all those women.”
Although Madison says she endured emotional and verbal abuse, she felt physically safe living at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California.
“I didn’t fear for my safety. When you’re up there, you’re on this gated estate and you’re surrounded by security, so you feel really safe. And that was one of the things that appealed to me when I decided to move in ‘ said the Girls on a higher level podcast host shares. However, Madison was given a luxury that other women did not have.
“For so many women who decide to be a centerfold, you know, they get taken to the mansion when they do their shoot and stuff, so you feel a sense of security. But after that, you just go back to the real world,” she explains from. “And that’s after you’ve been in this magazine where everyone sees you naked. People feel like they know you and feel like they [should] have some kind of access? And if someone has the wrong idea, it can just go horribly wrong.”
ID’s new show, which Madison also executive produces, explores several tragedies that have affected the Playboy Empire.
“There are so many women who have worked for Playboy over the years and everyone’s story is different,” says Madison. “From the outside, especially when my TV show was in the 2000s, people would only see the really glamorous, fun side. And it seemed like you couldn’t care less if you were part of Playboy. And, of course you know that isn’t true… these are real people and I wanted to share these stories.”
The Playboy Murders airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery and Discovery+.