Kendra Wilkinson was just 18 years old when she moved into the Playboy mansion as one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends, and the time she spent there changed her life forever.
The reality star and model chatted exclusively to LAGoss.com about “growing up” at the mansion during a party for Amazon Prime’s new series American Playboy.
“This is the reason I am who I am,” she told us. “This is what made me who I am today. I lived here for five years and it opened up the door to my life. I wouldn’t be the woman I am if it wasn’t for literally growing up here.
“This is what made me who I am”: Kendra Wilkinson is reflecting on her days at the Playboy mansion as one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends alongside Bridget Marquardt and Holly Madison | WENN/Fayes Vision
“I learned everything about life here and I felt free, I felt empowered, I felt like I could be exactly who I want to be in life, and it’s all because of Hef.”
Kendra moved out of the mansion in 2009, but has maintained a close relationship with Hefner ever since and even got married to husband Hank Baskett at the house.
“He will always be one of the biggest parts of my life,” the Girls Next Door star said, before revealing that Hugh and her Playboy days “100 per cent” gave her confidence.
“I wouldn’t be the woman I am if it wasn’t for this place and Hef, and Hef’s eyes on me,” she explained. “He turned me into a woman, you know. I couldn’t thank him anymore.
“And I learned so much about him, and I wish the world could just understand that he literally turned his fantasy into a reality. It started when he was a little kid, drawing cartoons and comics. That’s why he’s still living at 91, because he lives life truthfully and honestly, and that’s what made him happy.”
While Kendra is well aware that Playboy doesn’t always have the best connotations and there are going to be “different opinions” about it, she thinks we are finally getting to a place where people understand that women are empowered by their bodies.
“I think it’s time to get to that place now,” she said. “It’s way past our due date to get to that place where we can all just feel free and not ashamed of our bodies and ourselves.”
Kendra is currently filming for her reality show Kendra On Top, and promises that she has “a lot coming up”, teasing, “There’s big news coming – probably within the next week.”