Was Hef & Crystal's Would-Be Wedding A Total Sham?

Considering how totally publicized the breakup (and the aftermath of said breakup) of Hugh Hefner and his ex-finacée Crystal Harris has been, it's really hard to tell if this entire saga is one big production for mutually beneficial promotion (for both Playboy and Crystal Harris' aspiring pop music career). Crystal has given interviews to everyone from Ryan Seacrest to Entertainment Tonight; Hef reserved his sit-down for Piers Morgan Tonight. Did Hef really get bamboozled by a woman 60 years his junior? After watching last night's one-hour special on Lifetime, Hef's Runaway Bride, the situation seems like something of a combination of the two.

Initially, the plan was for Lifetime to film all the planning and to have the actual wedding to air in a special, but obviously the project changed after Hef was jilted. Nevertheless, the show last night used footage of the wedding planning — and it was kind of enlightening. Three weeks before the wedding (and just two weeks before leaving the mansion) Crystal attended her first wedding planning meeting, and it seemed as though everything had already been settled upon, including the bridesmaids dresses, the ceremony, the seating, the flowers, the color palette, the food—basically all the choices that are normally left up to the bride (and that, normally, the bride would want to have a say in). Also—given that the engagement was filmed back in December by a professional camera crew (see the clip at above left)—one would think that there would be some kind of gown-shopping montage to include. Instead, curiously, there was just one dress that Crystal didn't even seem that psyched about.

After taking all of this in, I still don't think that anyone in the Playboy camp — or perhaps even Crystal herself — had any idea that Crystal was going to leave. I don't think her abrupt departure (seen via Playboy mansion security cameras in the clip at left) was staged. However, it's totally clear that the entire wedding—and to a larger extent, the relationship—was. I don't think that Hef and his sons and the other Playmates and the staffers at the mansion were hurt by Crystal's betrayal of Hef's love. They were insulted that she essentially took a big dump on something in which they had invested themselves, wholeheartedly: This fantasy Playboy lifestyle and the preposterous idea that a 25-year-old girl would be sexually attracted to an 85-year-old man.

But perhaps the most unbelievable thing out of this whole mess is that Crystal Harris actually thinks that she could have a successful pop career in her future.