Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt admitted that watching old episodes of the E! reality series Girls Next Door, which documented their time living at the Playboy mansion, has taken an emotional toll.
The former co-stars and girlfriends of Hugh Hefner recently announced that they had paired up to create a podcast titled Girls Next Level to rewatch the reality show that launched their careers and give audiences the behind-the-scenes scoop. Although the duo is excited for the joint venture, they told Heather McDonald that reviewing that part of their lives has been difficult.
"Holly warned me that the first three episodes were really hard to watch and when she said that I thought she just meant like kind of getting used to watching them again and once you get past like three episodes, you’re good," Marquardt said on the comedian's Juicy Scoop podcast. "I didn’t realize until I just watched them not last night but the night before and I’m still traumatized. Like I’m sick to my stomach, I can’t sleep, I’ve been crying."
While Marquardt recalled a more positive experience at the mansion than Madison, saying that she doesn't "have ill feelings to Kendra [Wilkinson] or Hef or [the show's producer] Kevin [Burns] or anybody," Marquardt acknowledged that the way she was portrayed on the show left her with complicated emotions.
"We are immediately, immediately in episode one, being made out to be the bitches," she says of her and Madison, adding that vulnerable conversations she had on camera were cut up to make Marquardt look like she was "just this jealous bitch, that I was getting people drunk and sabotaging their pictorials."
"I think that’s messed up and borderline illegal," Madison added, noting that she experienced some problems with the show's producer after deciding to leave the Playboy mansion. Ultimately, she credited Burns for the unfavorable portrayal of Marquardt and herself.
"I think it was more the producer who wanted the drama and wanted us to look mean and didn’t care," Madison said. "And that’s confusing too because we went on to feel like we had a close friendship with Kevin and now that we get older and look back and see what he did, it’s really, it’s a bad feeling."
Madison started looking back on the show in response to requests from her YouTube subscribers who had asked her to share her reaction on her channel. A few episodes in, however, she wasn't sure if it was healthy for her to revisit.
"When I did those first reaction videos I was telling the viewers I was like, 'I don’t know if I’m gonna continue these cause they’re not great for my mental health,'" she recalled. "I had just come off watching the Secrets of Playboy and then I’m watching this and I’m like, I don’t have the bandwidth for this."
Even after watching episodes of the A&E docuseries that she took part in, Madison said she had felt emotionally unstable.
"I had a nightmare I was back at the mansion every single night after Secrets of Playboy," she told McDonald. "I don’t want to watch myself talk about my trauma again, I can’t take it."
Marquardt has had similar difficulty as she's joined Madison in rewatching the reality series for their new podcast. However, the two expressed hope that it will be a healing process to revisit their experiences together.
"I’m hoping it gets better from here," Marquardt said.
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