The Playboy Mansion Held a Slew of Dark and Seedy Secrets — Does It Still Exist?

Holly Madison, a former "playmate," said that the culture there was cult-like.

Bianca Piazza - Author

Mar. 1 2024, Updated 7:07 p.m. ET

Playboy Mansion
Source: Getty Images

With its intimidating metal gate, fuzzy white carpets, screening room, and a literal zoo, the Playboy Mansion was once notorious for its opulent parties and exclusive nature.

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However, after playmates came forward with allegations of predatory and degrading behavior from Hugh Hefner himself, the mansion's barely-there veil of sexual liberation, luxury, and air of mystery has been torn down.

 Bridget Marquardt, Hugh Hefner and Holly Madison pose with a snake as they arrive at the 10th Annual Safari Brunch on October 16, 2004 at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Source: Getty Images
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Does the Playboy Mansion still exist?

At the end of the day, secrets have a way of coming out. Former Playboy bunny and the late Hugh Hefner's ex-girlfriend Holly Madison left the infamous Playboy Mansion back in 2008. She kept dark secrets bottled up until the release of her 2016 autobiographical book, Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny.

She described the events that took place in the mansion as "cult-like." According to Page Six, she said that the women were isolated, gaslit, and pressured to believe that Hugh was a great guy. The women had a curfew and were rarely allowed to leave the residence. She was coerced into leaving her waitressing job, with Hugh complaining that her going there one day a week made him "jealous".

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Mirroring the Girls Next Door star's literary telling of the Playboy Mansion's inner-workings, A&E's 10-part 2022 docuseries Secrets of Playboy showcased the vile, manipulative, and degrading personal experiences of several former playmates, bunnies, and insiders. Holly — who dated Hefner from 2001 to 2008, even landing the coveted spot of his "No. 1 girlfriend" — appears in the docuseries, as well as former bunny Bridget Marquardt.

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But, when it comes down to it, the Playboy Mansion is just a giant, wealthy Los Angeles residence. The misogynistic, hedonistic evil lived inside Hefner, not the mansion.

Hugh Hefner with Kendra Wilkinson, Bridget Marquardt, and Holly Madison in 2004
Source: Getty Images
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Per CBS News, Hefner — the late founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine — purchased the Holmby Hills mansion for $1.1 million back in 1971. Built in 1927, the controversial, bunny-laced palace later sold for a whopping $100 million in 2016. While it obviously still exists, it no longer acts as the Playboy Mansion.

According to Unilad, looters scoured the estate after Hefner's passing, taking statues, used sheets and lingerie, sex toys, and paintings from the many rooms of the mansion.

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Who owns the Playboy Mansion now?

It was purchased by Hef's next door neighbor, Daren Metropoulos — aka former co-owner/co-CEO of Pabst Brewing Company and a co-owner of Hostess Brands.

With its 29 rooms — as well as a game house, wine cellar, gym, tennis court, and swimming pool — Daren described the Gothic Tudor mansion as a "masterpiece in design," according to Architectural Digest. The said masterpiece rests on 5.3 acres and was originally designed by American architect Arthur R. Kelly for British department store tycoon Arthur Letts Jr.

The Playboy Mansion
Source: Getty Images
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According to one of Daren's reps, the terms of the sale allowed Hefner to live out the rest of his days in the home formerly known as the Playboy Mansion. Hefner passed away on Sept. 27, 2017, at 91 years old.

Another term of the sale was that Daren can renovate the mansion, but he can never change the main structure of the estate. No matter what Daren does to the place (or how vigorously it's scrubbed and bleached), the Playboy Mansion will forever be stained with a history of aggressive male chauvinism parading around as sexual liberation.

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