The Playboy cover girl, 25, jets in from L.A. until 5 p.m., when she will return to live “day by day” between L.A. and San Diego.
“I’m doing really well,” she says. “It really has been helping that Hef and I are still friends. I’m going to go visit him on Monday. We’re going to split custody of the dogs. [laughs] He has plenty of people around. He’s doing OK, and I have my family and my friends.”
Days before the nuptials were to take place, she called off her wedding citing lifestyle issues.
“I mean, I love having all the girls around. I love them there. They’re all my best friends, but it doesn’t make sense to have so many women around, but then still have a marriage. It doesn’t make sense, so it was the right thing. I wasn’t the only woman in Hef’s life, and it was going to stay that way after the marriage.”
Crystal isn’t worried about leaving Hef alone. He’s got a bevy of beauties including a special one named Ana.
“Ana’s one of my best friends. She’s hanging out at the mansion; she’s hanging out with me. There’s plenty of other girls there. There’s plenty of girls probably moving in right now. [laughs]”
For Crystal, it was clear that something wasn’t right from the beginning of the proposal.
“When Hef asked me to marry him, it was in front of three video cameras and a photographer. It started then. I was just scared. I didn’t want to disappoint anybody, but I’m glad I made the right decision and did it now and not after.”
She adds, “I hope he feels better, and so do I. It’s a huge promise. I talk to him every day.”
When asked about reports that she planned to leave him to cement her own fame, she denies she planned on becoming a runaway bride.
“I didn’t plan it,” she tells me. “I didn’t plan it at all. I didn’t know; I didn’t know. I just knew when it was getting close that it wasn’t fair to Hef – it wasn’t fair to go through with it. I just wanted to stay true to myself and just do what was best for everybody.”
Hm, how did she feel about breaking his heart?
“I cried all night when I left,” she says.
She insists there was no cheating involved (“I’ve never cheated on Hef, ever,” she says.), and that her relationship with Dr. Phil’s son Jordan McGraw is strictly platonic.
“Jordan’s one of my really good friends. He’s been my friend for a year, he will continue to be my friend, and I really need my friends right now.”
She says the whopping 60 year age gap did not play a role.
“Hef is like a big kid. Age was nothing.”
One thing is certain: She has no plans to make a career in Vegas like that other former Playboy Mansion dweller, Holly Madison, whose Peepshow stage performance entertains viewers at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.
But first there are wedding details to make right.
“I’m actually flying back to L.A. to have dinner with the designer. She flew out here, and it was a pink, beautiful wedding dress by Romona Cabeza. We’re still unwinding everything, and putting the pieces back together.”
Will she keep any mementos?
“I have a copy of the invitation. That’s it. I don’t want anything else. I’mgiving Hef back the ring, and everything. I just want to move forward.”
She insists she’ll always be close to the iconic octogenarian.
“I love Hef. Hef is the sweetest person I’ve ever met in my entire life. I’ll always love him, and he’ll always be a dear friend, and I’ll visit him all the time.”
And she swears no one else influenced her to call it off.
“It was a mutual decision between the both of us. I’m happy to say that. It was mutual.”
Luckily, she doesn’t mind that her Playboy cover is now emblazoned with a “Runaway Bride” bubble.
“It’s Hef’s humor, and mine, too. We always – we had a lot in common, we really did. We laughed a lot, and it was funny. It’s bittersweet. I’ll always be friends with Hef and go to the mansion all the time.”
One thing she’s enjoying is her newfound freedom.
“When I come here to Las Vegas with Hef, it’s a super-strict schedule, so I’m just happy to be here, relax and have a good time. Today would’ve been the day, so I needed to get away just for the day. I’m going back at 5. [laughs] And then I’ll take it day by day.”