Whatever Happened to Playboy’s Girls Next Door?
Come on-a my house! Can you believe it's been more than 11 years since The Girls Next Door went off the air? Though the show, which debuted on E! in August 2005, may come off problematic when viewed in hindsight from 2021, it provided a frothy, frivolous look behind the gates of the Playboy Mansion and made instant stars of Hugh Hefner's three much-younger girlfriends at the time: Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson.
The reality TV series followed the antics of the trio for five seasons, even as they ended their relationships with Hef, moved out of the mansion and started their post-Playboy lives. A sixth and final season, meanwhile, shifted focus to the Playboy founder's next trio of girlfriends: his eventual wife Crystal Harris and twins Kristina and Karissa Shannon — though where they are now is probably best left for another time.
Let's look back on the original trio of Holly, Bridget and Kendra, from their lives in front of E!'s cameras to what happened once the show wrapped.
Then: Fun fact: while often seen as the true figurehead of the OG Girls Next Door trio, Madison was never officially a Playboy Playmate. In fact, the star's first nude pictorial was only published in the November 2005 issue, after the show started airing on E!.
Over the course of the series, Madison dated Hefner and lived in the Playboy Mansion, often dabbling in low-level positions for Playboy Studios. (In the third and fourth seasons, she memorably worked as an intern and eventually a junior photo editor.) However, by the end of the final season in 2009, Madison had split from Hef, prompting her to stop working for Playboy as well.
Now: Immediately following The Girls Next Door ending, Madison landed her own spin-off series, Holly's World, which followed the reality star to Las Vegas and ran for two seasons on E! from 2009 to 2011.
The show's central premise revolved around Madison moving to Sin City to star as the lead dancer in Peepshow, the burlesque show at Planet Hollywood. The former Playboy star continued to headline the revue through 2012.
Madison has also published two memoirs in her years since The Girls Next Door, including 2015's Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales from a Former Playboy Bunny and 2016's The Vegas Diaries: Romance, Rolling the Dice and the Road to Reinvention.
In her personal life, Madison gave birth to a daughter (in 2013) and son (in 2016) with boyfriend-then-husband Pasquale Rotella, though the couple separated in 2018. Their divorce was finalized in February 2019.
She's spoken out many times since the show ended about her unhappiness with life in the Playboy Mansion. In 2021, she uploaded a video to YouTube titled "The Truth About Girls Next Door / I Answer Your Questions" and started doing reaction videos to old Girls Next Door episodes.
Then: As Hefner's second girlfriend, Marquardt wasn't ever an official Playmate, either. Throughout the series' run, Marquardt was often seen as the quieter, calmer, more grounded girlfriend compared to Madison and Wilkinson's more volatile personalities. She regularly served as both the voice of reason and the glue that held the trio together.
In the middle of Season 5 airing, Marquardt temporarily moved out of the Playboy Mansion to film her 2009 Travel Channel series Bridget's Sexiest Beaches, before ultimately ending things with Hefner and moving out for good.
Now: Like her castmates, Marquardt also shot a pilot for a post-Girls Next Door spin-off about her life titled Just Add Bridget, but it ultimately wasn't picked up by E!. Instead of headlining a reality show, the former Playboy Bunny became a regular contributor for 2012's Animal Nation on Yahoo!. She also kept up friendships with both her former castmates, serving as a bridesmaid in each of their respective weddings and throwing Wilkinson multiple events including a bachelorette party, baby shower and homecoming party in front of the cameras.
In a random twist, Marquardt eventually pivoted to become a paranormal investigator and now hosts her own podcast, Ghost Magnet With Bridget Marquardt. She even used her new role to allegedly contact Hefner from beyond the grave in 2019... and Madison was there, too!
In 2015, she got engaged to film director Nick Carpenter, and two years later opened up about her experiences with infertility on her personal YouTube channel.
And yes, she's still obsessed with all things Halloween and horror to this day:
Then: Just 18 years old at the start of filming, Wilkinson was Hefner's youngest and newest girlfriend on The Girls Next Door. She was much more of a tomboy than her older co-stars, with a passion for and history of playing sports. The young model was also never afraid to get loud or confrontational, often serving as the most outspoken of Hef's girlfriends and eventually leading to a long-running, tabloid-driven feud with Madison.
Now: Wilkinson was the first Girls Next Door star to get her spin-off out of the gate, with the eponymous Kendra premiering on June 7, 2009 — right between its predecessor's fifth and sixth seasons. The show followed Wilkinson's relationship with then-fiancé Hank Baskett, and documented major milestones such as the pair's wedding at the Playboy Mansion on June 27, 2009, and the birth of their son Hank IV the following December.
The show broke records for E! during its four-season run, but was canceled in 2011 following the network's pledge to essentially wipe all Playboy-related content from its programming. But Wilkinson was hardly done with the spotlight, and simply moved her show to WE tv and rebranded it as Kendra on Top. On the new network, the series ran for six seasons from 2012 to 2017 and also documented the birth of her second child Alijah, as well as her husband's tabloid cheating scandal.
Post-Girls Next Door, Wilkinson also dabbled in appearances in other reality shows on top of her spin-offs, including Dancing With the Stars, Celebrity Wife Swap (with Kate Gosselin), Great Britain's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars 3 and Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars 8 — Family Edition. In 2018, she divorced Baskett and went back to using her maiden name.
Wilkinson famously feuded with Madison and — to a lesser extent — Marquardt in the years following their time in the Playboy Mansion, claiming they were "never friends."
"At the end of the day, it’s a very awkward situation ’cause it’s not like we’re the Spice Girls," she dished in a 2015 interview with Fox 5's Good Day New York. "We dated an 80-year-old man at the same time. It’s very awkward."
Today, she works as a luxury real estate agent with Carswell and Associates in the Los Angeles area. Her new show, Kendra Sells Hollywood, premieres Wednesday (Nov. 17) on Discovery+.