Zoë Gregory, a single mom living in the U.K., was determined to turn her life around, and she did just that with the help of Hugh Hefner.
The former teen mom, who was once earning nearly $100 a week before becoming a sought-after Playboy model, has written a new memoir, “From Britain to Bunny: A Playmate’s Journey Living the American Dream.”
It details how she set her sights on Hollywood as she struggled financially across the pond and immigrated to the U.S. without looking back.
“I feel content with letting people into my world and what I’ve been through,” the pinup told Fox News Digital. “I think a few years ago I might have been a little nervous about telling my story because the book is so brutally honest. And it took me some time to accept myself and the decisions I made.”
Gregory moved into the Playboy Mansion in 2002.
At the time, she was co-parenting with her ex but yearning to spend as much time as possible with their son Lewis while she pursued the fast-paced modeling world.
According to the book, Hefner was delighted to have Lewis stay with her at the mansion on weekends, which wouldn’t disrupt his school schedule.
“I was miserable without him,” Gregory recalled. “So, I had him there with me a lot more often. He was living with me during the weekends. He was around 9 years old, and I was so thrilled that he made a friend (Hefner’s son Cooper) so quickly.”
And there were plenty of perks to living at the Playboy Mansion for a mom who once struggled on the rough side of London.
“I was living a life of luxury,” she gushed. “I was able to go to the beauty salon every day and get my hair done. All my bills were paid for. Pressing zero on the phone was my favorite thing to do. It was like having a personal butler. I could order food, anything I wanted, and it was there in a heartbeat. There was a live-in zoo where I could go outside and play with animals that I never thought I would ever see in my lifetime because I lived in England.
“I was rubbing shoulders with celebrities and the biggest movie stars in the world,” she shared. “I went to all the major awards shows – the Golden Globes, the Oscars, you name it. I never thought in a million years I’d be so close to and become friends with a lot of major people in Hollywood, as well as live such a life of luxury. I struggled so much as a teenager, as a single mom, so when I was being taken care of so well, it had a profound effect on my life.”
Gregory said, at first, she was worried about asking Hefner if she could bring Lewis to the mansion.
But the magazine mogul was delighted.
His ex-wife, Kimberley Conrad, lived next door with their two sons, Marston and Cooper, who were around the same age as Lewis.
They were often at the mansion, too.
“Whenever I took Lewis, I’d never see him. He would be next door with Marston and Cooper all the time,” Gregory chuckled. “They became the best of friends. They were true mates and had so many adventures together. I even told Lewis that he should one day write a book about his own experience at the Playboy Mansion.”
In the book, Gregory describes how Marston and Cooper immediately welcomed a shy Lewis.
The butlers would keep their eyes on the boys as they played for hours on end.
And whenever it was time for Lewis to leave, Cooper would always ask when he would be back.
Hefner told a worried Gregory that her son was welcome anytime.
“It was important for Lewis to feel comfortable, too, if we wanted to have a life in the mansion,” Gregory wrote.
Lewis easily settled in with his new pals, she said.
The book revealed that Lewis and Cooper would later play in a band together, The Skips.
After giving birth, Gregory modeled for a local agency in the U.K. to make ends meet.
Her photos were sent to a Playboy photographer based in London, who jumped at the chance to shoot the hopeful blonde.
After being photographed in England for Playboy, Gregory was given the chance to travel to Los Angeles with a work visa.
She didn’t miss a beat.
“I settled in LA, and one of the girls I met said to me, ‘Do you want to come up to the Playboy Mansion?’” Gregory recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh God, yeah!’ I haven’t gotten around to contacting Playboy yet to let them know that I was here. I wanted to shoot for them while I was in LA. So I thought this was the perfect opportunity. Thanks to that girlfriend, I had an open invitation to the Playboy Mansion for their Sunday pool party.”
Gregory admitted that, growing up, she saw Hefner as “a dirty old man wanting to shoot naked women for his magazine.” But her mind was changed as she got to know him.
“He wasn’t a crazy old man who wanted to see naked women in his magazine,” she said. “It was quite the opposite. I thought he was one of the smartest men I’ve ever met in my life. He worked so hard to change how society viewed sex. He used his power to make that happen. I could listen to him speak for hours and hours. He was like my greatest teacher.”
Hefner didn’t think twice about asking Gregory to move in. While living at the Playboy Mansion sounded like “a dream come true,” there were some house rules she had to follow.
“The main one was our curfew. We had to be home by 9 o’clock on the dot,” said Gregory. “You also couldn’t have a boyfriend. But why would you want a boyfriend if you had everything you could desire at the mansion? If I wanted anything, anything at all that I needed, I had no problem asking Hef. A lot of the girls were nervous about asking.
“But here’s the thing, every girl had a different relationship with Hef,” Gregory explained. “In my relationship with Hef, he never made me feel threatened or scared about anything. I wanted surgery? I asked him for surgery. I wanted a new car? I’d ask for a new car. Whatever I wanted, I would ask him for it. And it was very rare for him to say no to me.
“Then all the girls started asking Hef for stuff – that was annoying.”
Gregory became one of Hefner’s seven girlfriends at the time.
As arm candy, Gregory insisted she never felt obligated to sleep with Hefner because “I researched enough to know what was expected.”
“I looked at it as a job,” she said. “I wasn’t trying to marry Hef. In exchange, he would be using me to promote the Playboy lifestyle. I got to live in a beautiful f–king mansion. Everything was taken care of. And when Hef told me that he was going to help me get a green card, there was nothing I wouldn’t have done for that man. It was a dream of mine to get a green card. So, for anyone who says, ‘Hef made us sleep with him, he took advantage of us,’ no, he didn’t. He never took advantage of anyone. Everyone knew what they were committing to. That was the position I took as one of Hef’s seven.”
Hefner didn’t hesitate to teach his girlfriend a thing or two.
Gregory alleged she saw quaaludes being passed around at parties.
“I indulged a few times. I had no idea about them until I came to America,” she said. “It got everyone warmed up, but I didn’t like how they made me feel. … And when I got to the bedroom, there were joints passed around, too.”
Eventually, Gregory said she wanted to limit the sex participation within the group. She alleged that the other girlfriends would get catty and jealous, prompting Hefner’s demeanor to change.
“I was feeling so down about having to fake a situation,” she said. “I didn’t like some of the girls there. It wasn’t happiness to me anymore. It added a negative spin to the situation. So, it made me not want to perform in the bedroom either. I weaned away from the situation. … And I stopped for health reasons as well, of course.”
Gregory left the mansion in 2004.
Her new dream was to buy a condo in America.
Hefner died in 2017 at age 91.
Today, Gregory still views him as “the hero in my story.”
She’s already working on her next book about life after Playboy.
“Hef helped me prosper in life,” she reflected. “He stayed true to his word. He never let me down. I still pinch myself because I never thought I could live such a life like the one I have today. I’m still living my dream. And my life is exactly how I wanted it to be, how I imagined it to be.”