Whatever Happened To The Cast Of The Girls Next Door?

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It might be hard to imagine it, but reality television was a whole other world before the days of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." Hugh Hefner, entrepreneur and founder of Playboy magazine, starred in his very own reality series "The Girls Next Door." The show, which kicked off in 2005, followed Hefner and his three then-girlfriends: Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson. 

The premise of the show was simultaneously over the top and beguiling simple. As Slate explained, Hefner's three girlfriends each presented a different flavor: Madison was like the mom and wife, Marquardt had a master's degree and seemed smart, and Wilkinson was fun, bubbly, and athletic. There was a clear pecking order — Madison was ranked Hefner's first girlfriend, followed by Marquardt and then Wilkinson — but it didn't seem to matter too much to the relationship shared between the women.

The show ran for an impressive six seasons, finally calling ending in December 2009. So, just where has the cast of this show been since the series ended? Here's what you need to know.

Holly Madison has written two books since The Girls Next Door ended

Before the show began, Holly Madison had dropped out of college to try her hand at acting. As Cosmopolitan noted, while trying to make her career happen, Madison worked at Hooters and did some modeling. Madison was actually working as a model for a Hawaiian Tropic event when Hugh Hefner's doctor spotted her and offered her an invitation to the Playboy Mansion. Madison didn't move in right away, but was eventually invited into Hefner's home when she was kicked out of her own.

In the years that followed the show, Madison has been particularly outspoken about what it was really live in the Playboy Mansion. While speaking on the "Call Her Daddy" podcast, Madison revealed that the situation wasn't great when she first arrived because of Hefner's other girlfriends: "Even as I was there, I would ask the woman in the room next to me, 'Okay, what happens this day, what happens that day?' and they would tell me the bare minimum." 

Madison has gone on to find success since the show ended, and she is even the author of three books: "Down the Rabbit Hole," "The Vegas Diaries," and "The Showgirl Next Door." She married ex-husband Pasquale Rotella in 2013, and the two share two children named Rainbow and Forest. They filed for divorce in 2019 (via Entertainment Tonight). According to TMZ, Madison, who had her own reality show with "Holly's World," later dated "Ghost Adventures" star Zak Bagans, but they split in February 2021.

Bridget Marquardt fell out with Hugh Hefner after leaving the show

Bridget Marquardt was working in a cardiology office when she decided to go for her biggest dream: to be featured in Playboy magazine. As she explained to Star Magazine in 2007, there was no way she could know that the choice to pursue that goal would lead to everything that came after: "I had no idea that I'd be living at the mansion, no idea that I'd be dating Hef and no idea I'd be on a reality show."

As shared by Us Weekly in 2017, Marquardt revealed to Australia's "The Morning Show" that, though she didn't know it would happen at the time, her decision to leave the show meant she eventually lost contact with Hugh Hefner himself. "We kind of lost contact, and I tried to go back to the mansion. He told me there was always an open door any time I wanted to go back, but I heard that's not quite true lately."

Since leaving the show, Marquardt has started her own podcast, "Ghost Magnet with Bridget Marquardt," and she's also become something of an infertility activist. She has appeared on podcasts on the topic, such as Ali Prato's "Infertile AF," and has shared her journey on YouTube. She told Us Weekly that she chose to have her eggs frozen at the age of 34 while still living in the Playboy Mansion, assuming that, when she was ready to have children down the road, the eggs would be viable. Sadly, none were, and she and her boyfriend Nick Carpenter have struggled to conceive.

Kendra Wilkinson started a family

From the beginning, Kendra Wilkinson and Holly Madison had a bit of tension between them. As shared by Today, Wilkinson insisted that she was invited to live in the Playboy Mansion before having a physical relationship with Hugh Hefner, a claim she made in her memoir "Sliding Into Home." For her part, Madison has repeatedly stated that absolutely no one was allowed to move into the mansion or become Hefner's girlfriend without engaging in a physical relationship first, as she's said on the podcast "Call Her Daddy." 

Per People, Wilkinson broke up with Hefner and moved out of the mansion in 2009. She was already engaged to her then-boyfriend, football player Hank Baskett, who proposed in 2008 (per People). Wilkinson and Baskett went on to have two children of their own: a son named Hank in 2009 (per Today) and a daughter named Alijah Mary, who was born in 2014 (via Us Weekly). The family even appeared on Wilkinson's own reality show "Kendra on Top."

Sadly, Wilkinson and Baskett revealed that they were dealing with pretty major marital problems during her second pregnancy, and Baskett "was not loyal" when Wilkinson was eight months pregnant, as she told People. As reported by People, Wilkinson and Baskett attempted to repair their marriage, but eventually finalized their divorce in 2019. 

In May 2021, OK! magazine shared that the former Playmate now works as a realtor, something that viewers can see firsthand on "Kendra Sells Hollywood" (via People).

Hugh Hefner's secretary Mary O'Connor died in 2013

While Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends were the central focus of "The Girls Next Door," the show also had its fair share of supporting cast members and friends. One such person was Hefner's longtime personal secretary, Mary O'Connor. As shared by The Hollywood Reporter, O'Connor passed away after a week-long stay at Sherman Oaks Hospital in 2013. Hefner himself confirmed her death with a simple statement, noting, "We loved her more than words can say."

O'Connor was brought on to the Playboy team back in 1969, when she moved into the first Playboy Mansion in Chicago, Illinois, alongside 24 Playboy Bunnies. O'Connor described the experience as "a whole lot of fun." That fun was amplified when Hefner purchased a second Playboy Mansion in California in 1971 and apparently asked O'Connor to help decorate. "It was so much fun going into a store when money wasn't an issue," she said (via The Hollywood Reporter).

O'Connor wasn't a major player on the show by choice, but an episode titled "There's Something About Mary O'Connor" featured Hefner's girlfriends visiting her home. She met the man described as her companion of 30 years in Robert F. Gentert, and the two were together until his death in April 2013.

Hugh Hefner wasn't worth as much as you might think when he died in 2017

Hugh Hefner died in September 2017, at the age of 91. As reported by The Guardian, Hefner died of natural causes at home with his wife, Crystal Hefner. His son, Cooper Hefner, confirmed his father's passing with a statement in which he described his father as "exceptional" and "impactful" (per PR Newswire). He added, "He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history."

Many people were surprised by some of the details of Hefner's life that came out following his death. For starters, as Fortune reported, Hefner had an estimated net worth of $45 million when he died. That's obviously plenty of money for most of us, but for someone of Hefner's stature, it's almost disappointingly small. When he died, Hefner didn't own any property. He'd sold the Playboy Mansion to his neighbor for $100 million in 2016.

Hefner was survived by Crystal Hefner, Cooper Hefner, and his other three children: Christie, David, and Marston (via The Guardian).

Playboy executive Keith Hefner died in 2016

The show also introduced viewers to Keith Hefner, younger brother of Hugh Hefner and Playboy magazine executive. Keith was featured on "The Girls Next Door" due to his high position at the company. According to People, he also gained some experience as an actor over the years too.

Keith preceded his brother in death, and died in April 2016. His death was confirmed by Hugh on Twitter. He tweeted, "This morning, my dear brother and best friend passed away. I love you, Keith. Rest in peace." Keith was married to a model named Caya Hefner, who also mourned his death on Twitter

The New York Daily News shared that part of Keith's responsibilities for Playboy magazine included both finding and coaching new models. The publication also noted that Keith was an enthusiastic supporter of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends, and even appeared on Kendra Wilkinson's and Holly Madison's spin-off series.

Karissa and Kristina Shannon have moved on to adult entertainment

While Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson were featured heavily on "The Girls Next Door," they weren't the only women living in the mansion during the show's run. During the show's final season, which aired in 2009, twin sisters Karissa and Kristina Shannon moved into the Playboy Mansion and became girlfriends of Hugh Hefner. Us Weekly noted that Karissa and Kristina moved into the home in October 2008.

The twins didn't last long in the house. In January 2010, E! reported that both Karissa and Kristina were moving out of the mansion to pursue other opportunities. Hefner himself told E! that Karissa and Kristina were interested in finding other ways to work for the company, via promotional tours and the like. Hefner added that the move was his idea, but the twins were both supportive of it. 

As reported by The Blast, Karissa and Kristina Shannon have since moved on to adult entertainment, having signed a seven-figure deal in 2018.

Crystal Hefner became a travel blogger and found love again

Hugh Hefner married his third wife, Crystal Hefner, in 2012. The two were married for five years before his death in 2017, and Crystal spent a few years dedicated to "mourning and soul searching and travelling the world" following his death, according to the Mirror.

Eventually, Crystal found a way to move on and has gone through numerous ups and downs since Hugh died. Per the Mirror, in 2016, she shared that she was having her breast implants removed after suffering an illness caused by the implants themselves. She wrote on Instagram, "The toxic implants were so stuck to my chest wall that [The Lu-Jean Feng Clinic] needed open heart surgery tools to remove all of the toxic material from my body. It was a 4-5 hour surgery and my chest was pretty hollowed out, taking a lot of my original breast tissue with it."

These days, Crystal Hefner works as a lifestyle and travel blogger. She was in relationship with Nathan Levi until 2021, and is also contending with a diagnosis of Long QT syndrome, which impacts her heartbeat and rhythm, according to Us Weekly.