Cooper Hefner may have grown up in the Playboy Mansion, but the son of the late Hugh Hefner missed out on many of the iconic parties thrown there.
Hugh Hefner died on Wednesday at the age of 91, bringing a new attention to his wives and children. The Playboy founder who built a media empire around the iconic magazine had some interesting relationships with family members. Hefner lived a swinging lifestyle at a Playboy Mansion that became a symbol for debauchery, but was also remembered as a family man committed to his partners and the children they had together.
In a 2014 interview, Cooper Hefner described what life was like growing up in the Playboy Mansion. Speaking to Business Insider, the 26-year-old said dad Hugh Hefner made sure that Cooper wasn’t around for the wildest of the parties.
Instead, Cooper would be sent to play upstairs while the wild party played out around him.
“We were kept away from the parties while we were growing up when we were younger,” he said. “Like any other 13, 14, 15-year-old if you’re upstairs and your parents are having a Christmas party you’re going to sneak down and try to figure out why you aren’t allowed at the party.”
Despite growing up in the Playboy Mansion, Cooper Hefner said he lived a mostly normal life. As a child, he would play in the mansion’s grotto — which through stories became legendary as a spot for illicit drug and sex parties — and imagined it was some kind of Indiana Jones-style adventure.
Cooper is the son of Hugh Hefner and Kimberley Conrad, the Playmate of the Year. The couple had two children together before separating in 1998, The Hollywood Reporter noted, though Kimberley did not go far. The report noted that she moved into a home next door to the Playboy Mansion.
As he grew older, Cooper decided to follow in his father’s line of work, becoming the chief operating officer at Playboy Enterprises. He also became something of a spokesperson for his father in Hugh’s final days, giving updates on his health and explaining why he took a step back from the company he founded in 1950.
Cooper Hefner remained close to his father, and on Wednesday posted a heartfelt tribute to Hugh Hefner. As E! News noted, Cooper posted a statement remembering his father as “a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights, and sexual freedom.”
[Featured Image by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy]