Published June 16, 2011
Crystal Harris backed out of her wedding to Hugh Hefner, citing the Playboy founder’s unusual “lifestyle.”
“This isn't the lifestyle for me, multiple girls all around,” she told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS-FM morning show Wednesday. “I called it off because I didn't think it was the right thing for me to do.”
Of course it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, but Harris' decision is unique as it left a lot of collateral financial damage, including the July issue of Playboy—sent to newsstands with the cover line, “Introducing Mrs. Crystal Hefner” before anyone could change it to “Runaway Bride”—and a Lifetime reality special documenting the wedding.
“If she had canceled the wedding months before, it would have been a different story, but canceling a wedding five days before it’s scheduled to happen—there are florists and other vendors who will need to be paid,” Beverly Hills attorney Evan T. Sussman tells FOX411.com. “They might have grounds to sue.”
Harris has one, big legal loophole, however. “Crystal’s defense could be that you can’t compel someone to get married—this isn’t 300 years ago when there were dowries for marriage,” said Sussman. “Women aren’t property.”
“Lifetime would have a hard time suing Crystal for breach of contract—and winning,” a reality TV producer agrees. “When it comes to affairs of the heart, people are allowed to change their mind. But it would be a different story if the whole thing was found out to be a hoax or some kind of publicity stunt.”
Which is exactly what the New York Post reported.
"Crystal wanted to ditch Hef at the altar,” a source told the Post. “Her plan was to walk up the aisle and say she couldn't go through with it. The wedding was to be filmed for a reality special, and her refusal to marry him would be a sensation. She was looking for a tie-in deal of around $500,000 for the exclusive 'I ditched Hef at the altar' interview. While there was interest, Crystal didn't get an offer anywhere near half a million."
Hefner, meanwhile, seemed to agree.
Harris released her first pop single, “Club Queen,” at midnight on Monday—just hours before she moved out of the Mansion.
While Harris may be focusing on being a professional musician now, a friend of Hefner’s says the 85-year-old Playboy founder is heartbroken.
Lohmann, who dated Hefner back when she was a Playmate, thinks Harris could still be Mrs. Crystal Hefner. “There’s a possibility that they could patch things up," she said. "Hef is a very forgiving man, and he loves her. If she came back right now, they’d be able to work things out.”
Playboy’s resident “Party Girl” blogger agrees. “I bet they'll get back together,” says Suzy McCoppin. “I've seen them together, and they're pretty crazy about each other.”
And if Harris really is a businesswoman at heart, she might want to rethink walking away from Hefner's estimated $80 million personal fortune, as her octogenarian husband-to-be reportedly didn't make her sign a prenup.