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Hugh Hefner | Source: Getty Images
Hugh Hefner | Source: Getty Images

David Hefner Wanted Nothing to Do With His Father’s Company – Meet Hugh Hefner’s Son

Akhona Zungu
Sep 12, 2022
08:30 A.M.

David Hefner is the eldest son and the secondborn of adult entertainment and Playboy Enterprises mogul Hugh Hefner. David is the only one out of his siblings who opted to have no affiliation with his father's company. However, he has led his own successful career through a different path.

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David Hefner was born just after his father's business took off. Although his siblings were unafraid of the limelight that came with their father's fame and fortune, Hefner stayed out of it for most of his life. Hence, little is known about how he navigates his personal life.

Despite a busy and unusual lifestyle, Hefner reportedly had a tight-knit relationship with his dad and continued to honor some of their family traditions. His parents split when he was still relatively young, and they both remarried and remained in some contact until his father's death.

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Who Is David Hefner?

David Hefner drew his first breath in Alto, California, on August 30, 1955. The 67-year-old is a University of California Santa Cruz alumnus who majored in film and digital media. After graduating, Hefner launched a computer consultation company.

Hefner also dabbled in film, where he created his first independent movie, "Forgotten Pills." After submitting it for the Dances with Films Festival in 2010, Hefner earned the Grand Jury Prize. He was then featured in 2014's "Washed."

Regardless of his interest in media and entertainment, Hefner prefers to live in privacy. His parents divorced in 1959, after which his mother, Mildred Williams, remarried a lawyer, who was then based in Chicago, Ed Gunn. She had her kids take Gunn's last name.

Hugh Hefner arrives at London Airport from Chicago with an entourage of Playboy Bunnies, in 1966, for the opening of the London Playboy Club on Park Lane | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Hefner arrives at London Airport from Chicago with an entourage of Playboy Bunnies, in 1966, for the opening of the London Playboy Club on Park Lane | Source: Getty Images

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Although that never garnered a close relationship between Hefner and Gunn, Hefner still kept his stepdad's last name to strengthen the walls of his privacy. A 1983 interview with the Washington Post revealed that Hefner worked as a photographer and a computer consultant based in Los Angeles.

The firstborn son of Hugh never showed any desire to be part of his father's enterprises. Williams was present during the interview, and when questions about his low interest in Playboy arose, she joked that they would have to speak to a psychiatrist if anyone were curious.

However, Hefner and his dad were close, and they made time for each other to honor an enjoyed family tradition along with Hefner's siblings - playing the table game backgammon. Hugh also shared some developments about his son's life via social media.

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In 2011, Hugh tweeted that David had become a certified scuba diver. Despite his lifestyle, Hugh was careful not to expose David and his older sister to any explicit adult environment he often created in his Playboy Mansion.

David Hefner's Mother Was His Father's First Love

Hugh Hefner and Mildred Williams fell in love when they were college students at Northwestern University. After Hugh served in the army between 1944 and 1946, he returned to take the love of his life's hand in marriage, and they married in 1949.

However, Williams kept a secret that ate away at her, and she didn't want to keep it from her then-husband. During Hugh's time in the army, Williams became intimate with another man. When she told Hugh, she opened their relationship and allowed him to see other women while they were together to assuage her guilt.

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However, their relationship was still strained as by the time their firstborn daughter Christie Hefner had turned three, Hugh had moved out of their shared home. The former couple divorced in 1959. The following year, Williams remarried, and Hugh only settled down again in 1989 with Kimberly Conrad.

Williams and Gunn divorced a little over a decade into their marriage. Christie revealed that Gunn was "sensitive" about Hugh's presence in their lives, so Williams and Hugh barely contacted each other. When Williams moved out from Gunn's and needed a place to stay, Christie reached out to her dad and asked him to intervene.

Hugh didn't hesitate to help the mother of his children, and he bought her a new home. Christie was not surprised by this deed because she believed that Hugh didn't feel obligated to step in for Williams, but he did because he still loved her.

Christie Hefner is photographed during the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards honoring 2017 recipients at The Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

Christie Hefner is photographed during the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards honoring 2017 recipients at The Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

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David Hefner Has Four Siblings

Christie Hefner is David Hefner's older sister and his parents' firstborn. Christie was born in Chicago, Illinois, on November 8, 1952. After graduating from high school, she attended Brandeis University, where she attained a bachelor's in English and U.S. Literature in 1994.

Eight years later, she joined Playboy Enterprises as president. In 1988 her position in the company climbed as she became the board chairman and was also CEO. In 2009, she stepped down and continued to live her life privately.

Marston Hefner is Kimberly Conrad's firstborn son with Hugh Hefner. Marston drew his first breath in Los Angeles on April 9, 1990. Unlike his older brother and sister, Marston lived a good part of his childhood in the playboy mansion, where he was occasionally exposed to "naked people."

Hugh Hefner, Kimberly Hefner and their children posing at the Premiere of "Star Wars: Special Edition" In 1997 in Westwood | Source: Getty Images

Hugh Hefner, Kimberly Hefner and their children posing at the Premiere of "Star Wars: Special Edition" In 1997 in Westwood | Source: Getty Images

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In 2012, Marston faced charges for assaulting Playmate of the Year and then-girlfriend Claire Sinclaire. According to Hollywood Life, he was sentenced to a year-long domestic abuse program and court-ordered to keep his distance from Sinclaire for three years.

Regardless of that run-in with the law, Marston leads a writing career and holds the credits for the sci-fi novel "Bleed." The youngest of the Hefner brood is Cooper Hefner, born on September 4, 1991. Cooper leads an impressive and multifaceted career as a businessman, teacher, and author.

Like his father, Cooper enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a reservist in December 2019 and is an activist who uses Twitter to speak on various social causes. He is married to actress Scarlett Byrne and together, they have a daughter, Betsy Rose, who they welcomed on August 4, 2020.

Cooper Hefner and his wife Scarlett Byrne are photographed as they arrive at Playboy Club New York Grand Opening in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Cooper Hefner and his wife Scarlett Byrne are photographed as they arrive at Playboy Club New York Grand Opening in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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Cooper graduated from Chapman University in 2015 with a bachelor's degree and launched his media company, Hop, the following year. However, his presence in Playboy Enterprises began while he was still a student. When his father stepped down in July 2016, he stepped in and served as the CEO until he enlisted.

What Happened to Hugh Hefner's Inheritance?

Per Fortune reports, the Playboy Mansion was sold to Daren Metropoulos for $100 million, who made a deal with the L.A. authorities to protect the estate from demolition permanently. The Playboy Enterprise shares accumulated $35 million in sales, which Hefner's children and his widow, Crystal Harris, received in undisclosed stakes.

Crystal Hefner poses at the Premiere of 'My Truth: The Rape Of Two Coreys'  in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

Crystal Hefner poses at the Premiere of 'My Truth: The Rape Of Two Coreys' in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

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However, according to Nicki Swift, Harris signed a prenup when she married Hefner, leading to whispers about her not receiving anything. On the contrary, she did receive a four-bedroom home that she decided to sell for $5 million and became the vice president of Hugh M Hefner Foundation.

Although details about what he left his kids with were not disclosed, Hefner required that his children be illegal substance non-users. Moreover, they would be required to do drug tests if suspected of substance abuse. Hefner also donated some of his inheritance to the University of Southern California film school and many charities.

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