It’s been two years since The Girls Next Door star Holly Madison revealed she was diagnosed with autism. Since then, she’s received a ton of support from fans — and some occasional trolling. “There are people who don’t believe me,” Holly, who shares daughter Rainbow, 10, and son Forest, 7, with ex Pasquale Rotella, exclusively tells In Touch. “I get a kick out of people who don’t know me but come online and second-guess my doctor and say, ‘I don’t think it’s autism, I think she just has social anxiety.’ It’s hilarious.” Here, the host and executive producer of Investigation Discovery’s The Playboy Murders and the upcoming true crime series Lethally Blonde talks to In Touch’s Fortune Benatar about life on the spectrum, the infamous Playboy Mansion and her guilty pleasure.
Tell us more about the public reaction to your diagnosis.
HM: The response has been incredibly supportive. I connect with so many people through social media. As with everything, you get backlash. My favorite misdiagnosis was when somebody wrote, “I don’t think you’re autistic, you’re just a Capricorn.”
How do you manage your condition?
HM: Just realizing what’s going on with me has been so helpful. I have a lot of patience with myself. I explain it to people if it’s relevant, because sometimes you’re not on the same social wavelength and people take your actions personally when they shouldn’t.
You relive your time in the Playboy Mansion on your “Girls Next Level” podcast with your former Girls Next Door costar, Bridget Marquardt. Has that been therapeutic?
HM: It’s like my therapy. It’s a relief for the truth to come out.
Crystal Hefner just shared how controlling her late husband, Hugh, was in her book. What were his rules for you?
HM: There was a 9 o’clock curfew, [and] we weren’t allowed to work during the day. You were always expected to look a certain way. I wore red lipstick and found out the hard way that Hef didn’t like it.
You recently said they had to replace the pipes in the mansion because so many women were bulimic….
HM: When I moved in, it sounded like a silly rumor — like, how could stomach acid ruin the pipes? Allegedly it was a thing. There were people who struggled with really bad eating disorders while I was there.
How do you feel about Hef now?
HM: I don’t really have strong feelings. Sometimes I’ll remember something and it will make me mad for a second, but it’s more of a shrug.
What can you share about the new season of The Playboy Murders?
HM: It was more intense for me because I’d met [Jill Ann Spaulding], one of the victims, years ago. While doing my podcast, I looked her up to see where she was, and I saw this tragic thing had happened. It blew my mind.
With all you’ve learned, what advice do you have for women who come to Hollywood looking for fame?
HM: Try not to make decisions based off of fear. It’s hard when you’ve just moved to LA and you’re trying to make friends. People aren’t interested unless they can get something out of it, so hang on to the people who you know are real.
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