The late media mogul who founded 'Playboy' welcomed four children between 1952 and 1991
Meet Hugh Hefner’s children.
The founder of Playboy magazine, who died at age 91 in September 2017, is survived by his four kids: his daughter Christie and sons David, Marston and Cooper Hefner, whom he welcomed between 1952 and 1991.
Hugh married his first wife, Northwestern University classmate Millie Williams, in 1949. Together, they had Christie in 1952 and David in 1955 before splitting in 1959.
The Playboy magazine founder then wed Kimberley Conrad in 1989 after they met at a photoshoot two years prior. They welcomed Marston and Cooper during their time together before finalizing their divorce in 2010.
Several of Hugh's children worked at Playboy Enterprises, with Christie being named chief executive officer in 1988 and Cooper becoming chief creative officer in 2016. However, his two other children aren't as involved with the company.
The late media mogul — who also starred on E! reality show The Girls Next Door — spoke highly of his only daughter, calling her "the brightest, most articulate 26-year old lady I have ever met" when speaking to The New York Times in 1979.
In August 2017, Cooper told The Hollywood Reporter that his dad "was public about wanting us to run the organization together." As for his brother Marston — who was initially positioned as a co-heir apparent — Cooper told the outlet, "It became evident as we got older that it was not something that spoke to him."
Read on for what to know about Hugh Hefner's four children.
Hugh welcomed his first child, daughter Christie, with his first wife Millie Williams. She was born on Nov. 8, 1952. Of his four children, Christie was Hugh's only daughter.
She began working for Playboy Enterprises in 1975 and was named company president in 1982 before becoming the chief executive officer in 1988.
In a 1979 interview with the NYT, Hugh spoke highly of her work ethic and addressed speculation that she became the figurehead of the company as a way of defusing feminist criticism of the magazine.
"Well, I have made the comment that [if] Christie hadn't existed, our promotion department might want to invent her," he said at the time. "She's rather ideally suited, both symbolically and actually, for the role that she's playing in the company and the role that I hope she will play in the future."
Christie revolutionized Playboy Enterprises during her time at the company, transforming the brand into a global giant and helping launch Playboy TV and Playboy.com. She also shut down the original Playboy Clubs.
"I think feminist opposition is lessening, tell you the truth," Christie told the NYT while explaining her incentive as the figurehead of the company. "I think they're finally realizing Playboy is not the enemy, it's a friend. They're realizing it's a men's magazine. It doesn't deal with all that it means to be [a] woman."
In 2009, Christie stepped down from her position at Playboy Enterprises. Now, she serves as chairman of Hatch Beauty, a brand and innovation strategy company, and is heavily involved in charity and political organizations.
Hugh welcomed his second child, son David, with Millie on Aug. 30, 1955. He is the Playboy founder's eldest of three sons.
In comparison to his siblings, David opts to live his life entirely out of the public eye and away from the Playboy lifestyle. Little is known about his career trajectory, though he reportedly has worked as a computer programmer.
David doesn't use Hefner as his last name, a decision that Hugh told the NYT in 1979 didn't bother him. (Christie and David adopted their stepfather's name at a young age, though Christie began using Hefner again as a junior in college.)
"In the case of David, no, that doesn't disturb me," Hugh told the outlet of his eldest son's moniker choice. "Because society's expectations are so different for men and women, I think it is much more difficult to be my son than my daughter. I don't think it reflects any separation from me, but rather a need at this particular point in his life to be himself. And that I respect."
While very few pictures of David are made public, Hugh's son Marston tweeted a photo of David enjoying a game of backgammon with his father and sister Christie in August 2017.
Hugh welcomed his third child, son Marston, with Kimberley Conrad in April 9, 1990. He marked the couple's first of two children together.
Marston lived in the Playboy Mansion for the first eight years of his life, until he moved into a $7 million home next door with his mother when Hugh and Kimberley separated after nine years together.
During a 2008 interview with GQ, a then 18-year-old Marston opened up about his unusual upbringing as a kid living in the Playboy Mansion. "As a 15-year-old kid, seeing naked people occasionally, that's — it's just the lifestyle of growing up as Hugh Hefner's son, in his shadow," he told the outlet.
Marston also addressed the public's perception of him as the son of Hugh. "But instead of making me really care about looks, I look for the personality and a personal connection... because I've been around looks all my life," he told GQ.
Hugh told the magazine that Marston "thinks of himself as Hef junior." Meanwhile, Kimberly objected — saying, "Actually, I don't know about that. I think other people think of him as Hef junior."
When Marston was 21 years old, he was arrested for allegedly attacking his live-in girlfriend, Playboy Playmate Claire Sinclair, in 2012. He was later released on $20,000 bail on the misdemeanor offense, according to Pasadena police.
Marston was initially positioned as a co-heir apparent, though he's remained mostly out of the public eye since the incident. In August 2017, THR reported that he had been teaching English in Japan.
As of late, Marston is a published author and works in nude photography, sharing images with his subscribers on OnlyFans. "I think I like being provocative in a way that makes sense to me ethically, as long as I don't feel like it's doing any harm," he told Fox News.
Hugh welcomed his fourth and final child, son Cooper, with Kimberley on Sept. 4, 1991. He marked the couple's second baby together.
When Hugh and Kimberly separated after nine years together, Cooper also moved into the $7 million home adjacent to the Playboy Mansion with his mom and Marston.
Cooper began working for Playboy Enterprises when he was in college at the age of 21. He left the company as a board observer in 2015 due to indifferences with the CEO, though returned 18 months later in June 2016.
By August 2017, Cooper was named chief creative officer with plans to rebrand Playboy for his generation. He told THR at the time that the magazine is "a philosophy about freedom," though acknowledged its "lifestyle components" as well.
"And right now, as history is repeating itself in real time, I want Playboy to be central to that conversation," Cooper added. "I think about the Playboy philosophy constantly, but I have my own point of view. It's what will have to carry me through," he said elsewhere in the interview.
Cooper told THR that he confides in his half-sister Christie because she "can relate to the situation more than anyone could" and urges him to keep a clear head in business discussions. "For me as a -year-old, that's sometimes challenging," he admitted. "My emotions get the best of me."
Following Hugh's death in September 2017, Cooper said his father "lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer" in a statement. He praised his "leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom."
In 2022, Cooper spoke out in defense of his father ahead of the Secrets of Playboy docuseries, which aimed to unveil the "hidden realities" behind the empire helmed by Hugh. He posted a message on Twitter criticizing "salacious stories" about his dad, though didn't mention the show or the network that aired the series.
Cooper welcomed his first child, daughter Betsy Rose, in August 2020 with his wife, Harry Potter alum Scarlett Byrne Hefner. In March 2022, they welcomed twin daughters, Marigold Adele and Blossom Pearl.
"A very special occasion. Blossom & Marigold—Mommy and Daddy love you so very much. Happiest of birthday to you both," Cooper wrote on Instagram in celebration of his twins' first birthday in March 2023.
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