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Shootings, car crashes and a body in a suitcase: The Playboy model 'curse'.

The following includes discussion of suicide, which may be triggering. For 24-hour mental health crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

In the beginning, the “Bunnies” were just waitstaff at Playboy clubs, but over the decades the term has expanded to include Hugh Hefner’s many girlfriends and the models that appear in his magazine of the same name.

It’s a world that’s been fraught with controversy and intrigue. One of Hefner’s ex-girlfriend’s, Holly Madison, recently said her time with the media mogul was about presenting an image of fun while being “miserable inside”.

But some “Bunnies” endured more than just misery. From murder to fatal accidents, the tragedy that has befallen these women is referred to by some as the ‘Playboy curse’.

Here are just a few of their stories.

Ashley Mattingly

Last week, Playboy’s Miss March 2011, Ashley Mattingly, took her own life at the age of just 33.

While the model had struggled with alcohol and substance abuse, her loved ones say she was “determined to get her life on track and was even training to be a pilot,” reports The Sun.

Ashley Playboy
Ashley (second from right) with fellow Playboy Playmates in 2011. Image:Albert L. Ortega/Getty.

Her twin brother, William, told the publication she'd moved to Austin, Texas, a couple of years ago, excited to be closer to her nieces. She was a domestic violence survivor. Her ex-boyfriend was sent to prison for hitting her in 2012.

"She was horseback riding at a rehab facility so we thought [her mental health] was getting better," said William.

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Stephanie Adams

In May 2018, former Playmate Stephanie Adams and her seven-year-old son were found dead outside a New York hotel.

The 47-year-old had been embroiled in a nasty custody battle with her ex and, according to police, took her son's life and then her own.

The New York City medical examiner ruled the incident a homicide-suicide.

Stephanie Playboy
Playboy Playmate Stephanie Adams in 2006. Image: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for Playboy Enterprises.
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Stephanie was a model turned author, who appeared as Playboy's Miss November in 1992.

On her Twitter she spoke of living at Hugh's Playboy mansion, writing: "I lived there for months and my favourite room in the mansion was his [Hefner's] wonderful library, which he welcomed me to enjoy anytime."

In 2017, she wrote: "People thought his only interest was me posing for Playboy, but Hugh Hefner always told me how proud he was of me being a published author."

Cassandra Lynn Hensley

In January 2014, Playboy Playmate Cassandra Lynn Hensley was found dead. She was 34 years old.

A friend discovered her body in a bathtub, and tried to perform CPR but was unable to revive her.

Cassandra Lynn
Cassandra Lynn was found dead in a bathtub in 2014. Image: by Michael Tran/FilmMagic.

According to the Washington Post, Cassandra had consumed cocaine and alcohol in the hours before her death and had a history of drug abuse.

She left behind her two children and her husband, Gary Hensley.

A representative for Cassandra's family told E! News in a statement at the time: "It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of Cassandra Hensley's passing from a tragic and accidental overdose.

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"We are all very grateful for the outpouring of support from friends, family, and fans."

Cassandra had been named a Playboy Playmate of the Month in 2006.

Jasmine Fiore

Playboy model Jasmine Fiore was found beaten, strangled, mutilated and stuffed inside a luggage in August, 2009.

The suitcase had been left in a dumpster in an alleyway in California, found two days after the murder took place.

Jasmine Playboy
Jasmine Fiore was murdered in 2009. Image: Ethan Miller/Getty.

Jasmine's fingers and teeth had been removed, and shortly after she was found, her husband Ryan Jenkins was charged with her murder and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Days later, he was found in a Californian motel room in an apparent suicide.

The Sun reports, Jasmine reportedly worked for Playboy for a year, but was never officially a Playmate.

Christina Carlin-Kraft

playboy curse
Image: Facebook/Christina Kraft.
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On August 22, 2018, Christina Carlin-Kraf's lifeless body was found by police in the bedroom of her Pennsylvania apartment that she shared with her fiancé.

She had been strangled to death by a man of the name Jonathan Wesley Harris, who she'd met earlier that morning.

During the trial, Harris claimed he'd killed her during a fight about drugs. He told the court that covered the former model's body with a blanket after taking her life: “I didn’t want to see her like that. I knew she was hurt really bad,” Harris allegedly said, according to the New York Post.

Harris was convicted of first-degree murder in 2019 and sentenced to life in prison.

Christina Carlin-Kraft had been named Playboy Cyber Girl of the Week on May 4, 2009.

Dorothy Stratten

playboy curse
Hugh Hefner with 1980 Playboy Playmate of the Year, Canadian model and actor Dorothy Stratten. Image: Getty.

In 1980, Dorothy Stratten was named Playmate of the Year when she was just 20 years old. That same year, she was brutally murdered by her estranged husband, Paul Snider.

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On August 14, 1980, Stratten went to Snider's house to negotiate a divorce settlement, according to ABC News. Those around her were cautious and concerned about the young woman going by herself.

Hours later, Snider's housemates opened his bedroom door to discover both their bodies.

The police later discovered that Stratten had been raped by Snider before he murdered her with a shotgun, which he then used to take his own life.

"Hef was never the same. Part of him died. Part of all of us died because Dorothy was special to us," Cis Rundle, a former Playboy social secretary, said, according to ABC News

Jayne Mansfield

Jayne Mansfield
American actress and early Playmate Jayne Mansfield. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty.

In the 1950s and 60s, Jayne Mansfield was one of the most famous faces in Hollywood. The actress had appeared in 27 films, including the comedy Promises! Promises!, and was Playmate of the Month in February 1955.

But in 1967, her life came to a tragic end when she was killed in a car crash in Louisiana, alongside her attorney, Sam Brody, and their driver, Ronnie Harrison.

Three of her children survived the crash: 8-year-old Mickey, 6-year-old Zoltan and 3-year-old Mariska. Mariska (now Mariska Hargitay) followed her mother's footsteps into Hollywood, where she is best known for her role as Olivia Benson in Law & Order.

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