LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – As Crystal Harris (photos below) preps to become Playboy Hugh Hefner’s new wife, the engagement of Harris and Hef comes as the empire has undergone dramatic changes, both in the boardroom and bedroom the last two years. By all accounts, the changes have not only brought happiness to Hef but also expansion to his empire and one of America’s greatest brands.
The changes in the bedroom started in 2008 when Hef’s three girlfriends Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson slowly moved on. As Holly Madison heated up news in 2008 with Criss Angel, Kendra Wilkinson started dating Hank Baskett and Bridget Marquardt was out on the town solo.
But by October 2008, Hef issued a news statement denying the split. “It’s all rumors without question. We have just completed our fifth season, and we’re all still together and have just signed on to a sixth season, which we start filming in the new year. There may be some transitions to the relationships though, we’ll see.”
Only one month later, three women were suddenly named in Hef’s life: Karissa and Kristina Shannon, and Crystal Harris.
Changes in the boardroom came two months later. Christie Hefner in December 2008 quit as head of Playboy after nearly 20 years. In a sudden announcement, Hefner announced her resignation as chairman and chief executive officer of Playboy Enterprises Inc. In a news statement, Christie Hefner said “just as this country is embracing change in the form of new leadership, I have decided that now is the time to make changes in my own life as well”.
Under her, Playboy’s stock (NYSE: PLA) had fallen from $15 a share in 2006 to as low as $1.12 two months before her departure. Today it’s rebounded somewhat, trading now around the $5 range. As Jerome Kern said in fall 2008 “Under her leadership, the licensing group grew from insignificance to become the company’s most profitable business…. The company today has more consumers and fans than at any time in our history.”
But for Hugh Hefner, nothing was traditional. In 2009, Kimberley Conrad Hefner’s sons, Marston and Cooper Hefner, were profiled in the magazine. When asked if they would ever have multiple girlfriends at the same time, they responded differently. Marston said “I’m not going to have multiple girlfriends — not at the same time. I can’t imagine that.” Cooper however said “I can imagine doing that. I don’t think it’s an odd thing to do. You date around to try to find a connection with some girl.”
By March 2010, Hef said he was committed to only Harris. He confirmed Harris was the only love in his life. And despite the photographs of Hef with countless women, he confirmed he’s always been a one-woman man. “I was married for eight years and was faithful to that marriage throughout the entire eight years. I think if you make a commitment, you keep the commitment.” He confirmed he was now faithful to Harris as well.
Harris had previously written that love is about taking chances, stating on MySpace “I believe in opening your heart and letting your walls down, it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all”.
No wedding date has been set.