Looking Back at the Craziest, Sexiest and Most Dramatic Moments of The Girls Next Door
WHERE PARTYING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS
Ain't no party like a Playboy Mansion party! The Girls Next Door – starring Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson – gave us a sneak peek at all the glamorous Bunny bashes we'd only heard about before the show first aired – and (surprise!) they were even more extravagant and star-studded than we thought. Notable fêtes included the annual Midsummer Night's Dream affair, Holly's Marie Antoinette-themed birthday party and the scantily costumed Halloween shindig (2006 party pictured left).
KENDRA'S BODY OF WORK
On the show's premiere episode, the girls reveal how they each met Hefner and were eventually asked to join the Playboy family. Kendra, the newest girlfriend, met Hef at his 78th birthday party in 2004 when she was hired to be a "painted lady" (though this photo, left, shows a later painted modeling gig). Hefner asked the 18-year-old to be his girlfriend that same night. "Something just felt right," she later said in her book Sliding into Home.
A (SUPER) QUICK VEGAS GETAWAY
The Playboy Mansion is full of surprises. On season 1 of The Girls Next Door, it was revealed that Holly, Bridget and Kendra had a curfew of 9 p.m. on nights when they were out without Hefner. Although they missed their curfew by an hour and 45 minutes, the girls managed to spend a full day (they took a 7 a.m. flight) in Vegas to celebrate playmate friend Carmela's birthday.
HOLLY'S NO. 1 PRIORITY
As Hef's No. 1 girlfriend, Holly shared a room with Hefner and spent more alone time with him than the other ladies. As The Girls Next Door progressed, viewers witnessed how much Holly wanted to marry and start a family with the Playboy mogul. But in her tell-all, which depicts a not-so-glamorous account of living at the Mansion, Holly admits that she still would have married Hefner, despite the alleged feelings of captivity. "I didn't think anyone else would want me having been there," she told ABC News.
MARY'S WORDS OF WISDOM
Any fan of The Girls Next Door will remember the wise words and gossip sessions shared between Holly, Bridget, Kendra and Hefner's longtime secretary, the late Mary O'Connor. Married to her equally memorable husband Captain Bob, O'Connor served as the trio's "housemother" of sorts, always ready to offer up advice on life, career and – of course – Hef himself. "Mary is the glue for everything that goes on in the Mansion," Bridget said in a season 4 episode. "But she's still a part of the family."
ANASTASIA'S STUNNING MAKEOVER
In season 1, Bridget's younger sister Anastasia spent the summer at the Playboy Mansion. In anticipation of the Midsummer Night's Dream party, the girls decided to give Anastasia a makeover, which included a facial, highlights, a bikini wax and racy lingerie to sport at the event. "I was going crazy because she looked so beautiful," Kendra commented upon seeing Anastasia's new look.
For Holly, Bridget and Kendra, fronting the cover of Playboy was a dream – and it quickly became reality during the show's first season, when the trio posed together for a cover and spread in the iconic magazine.
Gizmo (left) and Wednesday (right) were stars in their own rights, as they regularly appeared alongside owner Bridget, either incessantly growling when it came time for the occasional grooming sesh or adorably cuddling next to whomever or (whatever, for that matter) was in their proximity. Sadly, Gizmo died in 2015. Never forget!
THE GIRLFRIENDS TAKE HOLLYWOOD
The Playboy Mansion has always been a go-to shooting location for TV series and movies – and being a part of Hefner's tight-knit crew meant Holly, Bridget and Kendra would also guest star alongside their boyfriend in several movies and TV shows. The foursome's acting spots include two episodes in hit shows Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage and the Anna Faris-led film The House Bunny.
KENDRA'S 'BACKYARD' WEDDING
After things began to get serious with now-husband Hank Baskett, Kendra left the Mansion, but she eventually returned to get married there in 2009. The star's sole concern? "Tripping down the aisle," she told PEOPLE. The big day was documented on the star's eponymous reality spin-off on E!
HOLLY TELLS ALL
Although Kendra had written books about her life at the Playboy Mansion, it wasn't until Holly debuted her own memoir, Down the Rabbit Hole, that fans got a different view at what really went on behind closed doors. Among the bombshells, Hefner's former girlfriend revealed she contemplated suicide while living at the Mansion.
BUNNY VS. BUNNY
Friend or foe? After Holly fired shots at Kendra in her memoir, claiming they hadn't spoken in years and that Holly doesn't miss her former Mansion mate, Kendra fired back that Holly had an ulterior motive when serving as Hefner's live-in girlfriend. The back-and-forth jabs continued on Holly's press tour, with Kendra addressing the timing of Holly's memoir release. "My intention was to tell my story," Wilkinson told PEOPLE. "It's pretty sad. It makes you question the timing, and it makes you wonder, 'Wow, she wants real revenge.' At the end of the day, true colors shine."
KENDRA & HANK'S LOWEST POINT
Though she has kept her ties to the Mansion, Kendra worked hard to start a new life with her husband two children. Her happy was nearly destroyed when news broke that Hank was involved in a sex scandal with a transgender model. The couple worked through their issues for the most part, but reminders of what Kendra calls "the lowest point in our marriage" popped up for years to come.
HOLLY'S NEW FAMILY
BRIDGET'S BOO-TIFUL ENGAGEMENT
Halloween lover Bridget got the treat of a lifetime when she became engaged to horror film director Nicholas Carpenter. on Oct. 1, 2015. Of her unusual sparkler, she told PEOPLE: "I just wanted something different, unique and special. It just represents my personality more and something different for our relationship."
MAMA DRAMA FOR KENDRA
Kendra's mother was happy to be a frequent fixture at the Playboy Mansion. But years after the Girls Next Door party stopped, Patti was ready to spill the tea on her famous daughter by releasing a juicy exposé that might knock her famous daughter "off her pedestal." The pair's tension was a big focus of the latest season of Wilkinson's reality show, Kendra on Top.
SAYING GOODBYE TO HEF
One forever unifying force for the women, however? Hefner. Upon his death in September 2017, Wilkinson and Marquardt released statements about how he'd changed their lives. "He made me the person I am today," Wilkinson told PEOPLE. "I couldn’t be more thankful for our friendship and our time together. I will miss him so much but he will be in my heart forever." Marquardt shared that sentiment on Twitter: "So sad but forever grateful for all the wonderful memories and amazing experiences," she wrote.