“If you want to talk about exploitation, this is exactly what these women have done with Hef," she said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE
Hugh Hefner's ex-wife Kimberly is defending her ex-husband following the publication of Crystal Hefner's memoir
“I’m speaking out now for the first time about Hef because I feel compelled to speak on behalf of someone I love, who is no longer here to speak for himself,” she said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE
Among other revelations in this week's issue of PEOPLE, Crystal, 37, says life at the Playboy mansion "caused people trauma"
Hugh Hefner's ex-wife Kimberly is speaking out in his defense.
Following the release of Crystal Hefner’s bombshell memoir, Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and Finding Myself — which she spoke about in this week's issue of PEOPLE — Hef's second wife released a statement slamming those who "speak their version of their idea of events in hopes of riding a wave of headline relevance" and "making a quick buck."
“I’m speaking out now for the first time about Hef because I feel compelled to speak on behalf of someone I love, who is no longer here to speak for himself,” Kimberly said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, which was first published by TMZ.
“Hef lived an exceptional and impactful life,” she added, noting that “through Playboy, he defined a lifestyle that lies at the heart of how many people think and feel.”
However, Kimberly — who welcomed two children with Hefner, sons Marston and Cooper, before finalizing their divorce in 2010 — said that “with all his success, Hef was also a man."
Without mentioning Crystal by name, or naming anyone, she spoke critically of people who "refuse to take accountability and use words loosely like ‘force’ and ‘survive’ to describe choices they made willingly at a certain point in their own lives.”
“We should be wary of those who try to destroy things because they are no longer benefiting from them. People like that will never hold credibility, in my opinion,” she said. “If you want to talk about exploitation, this is exactly what these women have done with Hef in his later years and at the end of his life.”
The response by the former Playboy Playmate and centerfold comes amid a series of new allegations included in Crystal's memoir about Hefner, who died at 91 in 2017.
Crystal, who was married to Hefner at the time of his death, is the latest of Hef's girlfriends who have written or spoken out about the damage caused by the man who claimed he liberated women through sparking a sexual revolution.
Speaking with PEOPLE about the world she entered when she was just 21 years old, Crystal says that “a lot of women that have been in Hef’s orbit, they’ve lost their sparkle."
According to the now-37-year-old entrepreneur and advocate, Hefner also had strict rules about everything, down to making his girlfriends come to him each week to collect their “allowance” that he doled out in crisp bills.
Crystal also alleged in her memoir that Hefner always carried a disposable camera with him and that he took photos of the women everywhere.
"We were disposable too. I watched as those cameras filled up with the most incriminating images,” she wrote. “Rolls and rolls of potential blackmail, if he ever wanted to use it that way.”
“At the time I thought I was on top," she tells PEOPLE of her experience. "And I was, but I just lost myself in the process.
"I realized I was dealing with a really big power imbalance,” she adds. “It seemed like a world of success and fantasy, but everyone's having to sleep with an 80-year-old. There's a price. Everything has a price."
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