Hef’s son opens up about growing up in Playboy Mansion

When Cooper Hefner was growing up in the Playboy Mansion, it wasn’t wall-to-wall women. That came later, when he was about 8 years old.

“When my parents were together it was very tame,” said Cooper, 25, Hugh Hefner’s youngest son with ex-wife — and 1989’s Playmate of the Year — Kimberley Conrad. “The parties turned into black-tie events,” he told The Post, “I believe at my mom’s request.”

But after his parents split in 1998, Hugh built a home for Kimberley next door, and Cooper and his brother Marston, now 27, would move between the two houses.

“When Dad was having more ‘eventful’ parties in the summer and on Halloween,” Cooper said, alluding to the mansion’s famously debauched pool bashes, “security would go on baby-sitting watch to make sure my brother and I were kept in the house.” Still, he remembers them fondly.

Now, Cooper, who is featured in Amazon’s new docuseries, “American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story,” has stepped into his father’s velvet slippers, having taken over as the Chief Creative Officer of Playboy in July 2016.

He started in the family business at the age of 21 but left in early 2016 after growing disillusioned. “I wanted to participate in constructing a relevant brand strategy, one that Playboy could introduce to my generation,” he told “Entertainment Tonight.” “It became clear . . . that would never be possible under Playboy’s leadership, so I protested.”

During his absence, the magazine — under the direction of his father, now 91 — made the decision to stop publishing nude photos, which Cooper publicly disavowed. The yearlong experiment saw subscriber numbers drop. Hugh stepped down, Cooper stepped up and several magazine executives exited.

“There was a business strategy presented to the board that taking nudity out of the magazine . . . would generate advertising,” Cooper told The Post. “I thought it was . . . a direct attack on what Dad has been fighting for his entire life — to normalize sexuality.

“I was not in favor . . . and there were moments where I questioned my own sanity while listening to people responsible for running a major company,” he added. “One of my first priorities was to reinstate the nudity . . . [so] that what Dad built was authentic.”

Cooper proved his Hefner bona fides by having his fiancée, “Harry Potter” actress Scarlett Byrne, strip down for the magazine’s March/April 2017 issue.

Was it weird seeing in-the-buff pics of his fiancée in the magazine? “No,” Cooper said. “You’re talking to somebody whose mom has been in the magazine. My interpretation of being comfortable with sex is different than most people’s. I really don’t think sex is weird until people make it weird.”

Even though the magazine has cut its frequency to six issues a year, Cooper isn’t giving up on print. “My assumption is that the [print] magazine will become more a lifestyle choice than a means of getting information and news,” he said. “I can imagine the generation after mine adopting print magazines the way my generation bizarrely owns vinyl records.”

As for the original Hef, who turned 91 Sunday, Cooper said he’s “doing absolutely fine. He has a terrible back, but that comes with age. We had a board meeting last week and he and I went through all the initiatives we’re undertaking. It’s horrible to see your parent struggle in any way, but I’d rather it be a bad back than anything else.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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