Gorgeous girls ... Crystal Harris and Kate Waterhouse.

Gorgeous girls ... Crystal Harris and Kate Waterhouse. Photo: James Brickwood

Former Playboy bunny Crystal Harris came to fame as a star on E!'s The Girls Next Door reality series but it wasn't until the 26-year-old called off her engagement to 86-year-old Hugh Hefner five days before their planned wedding in June last year that she made global headlines. Kate Waterhouse caught up with her on her recent trip Down Under.

How does it feel to be known as Hugh Hefner's runaway bride?

I'm just kind of moving past it and trying to start again. I lived the Playboy life for so long in the Playboy Mansion and [made] Hef look good and now I think it's time to be an individual and find myself.

What made you call off the wedding?

I think it was just so much pressure. Hef's life is so publicised and, I don't know, it was all just happening so fast. Like, Hef has a team of ''yes'' people, so as soon as he said something, they were planning all the flowers, the colours, the whole thing, and before I knew it, I wasn't even involved any more.

You see Hef with all these bombshells - is it a true romantic relationship or is it all just for publicity?

Yes, it's like a companionship. It was fun; it was cute.

What was it like living in the Playboy Mansion?

It was fun, I definitely miss it. There are always people around, you have a lot of friends, the staff are really friendly. It's literally like staying at a hotel. There's a 24-hour kitchen with room service, all your laundry is done for you, there are butlers, there is security at all times, it just feels really safe. We travelled all around with Hef, it was like a family.

Are you still in contact with him?

Yes, he called me right before I left for Australia and [said he] hoped that I had a good time. I will go visit him when I get back.

Hef went out with Holly Madison for years but never proposed. What made you ''the one''?

I don't know, I think I just tried to make Hef have a good time with whatever we did. He doesn't really like leaving the house that much but I made sure we took him to different places; I took him to a play and we did fun, different things. He eats the same thing every day, so I would have him try sushi and kept it fun.

What does he eat every day?

Lipton chicken noodle soup. I would be like, ''You're Hugh Hefner, you can get them to make anything for you.'' And he would choose chicken soup from a box. It's weird, right?

Is Holly Madison angry at you that he proposed?

Yes, she has never had a nice thing to say about me but I've never had a bad word to say about her. They went out for eight years or something and that's why I never thought Hef would ask me because I was only there for two before it happened.

So the whole engagement was a surprise?

Yes, and I wouldn't have said yes if it wasn't something I wanted but, I don't know, I just felt that I needed to take a step back and gather myself.

Have you got a new boyfriend now?

No, but we have been staying in Bondi and we have had our eye out here!

WE WENT TO Bar 100, The Rocks.

WE ATE Wood-fire roasted corn-fed chicken with slow-cooked lentils, and a rocket and parmesan salad.

WE DRANK Santa Vittoria sparkling water.

CRYSTAL WORE A Bronx and Banco dress.

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