Holly Madison Opens Up About Autism Diagnosis: 'I'm Not on the Same Social Wavelength

Holly Madison Opens Up About Autism Diagnosis: 'I'm Not on the Same Social Wavelength
Published 3 months ago on Dec 10, 2023

Former Playboy bunny and reality TV personality Holly Madison recently disclosed that she has been diagnosed with autism. The 43-year-old shared her journey on the "Talking To Death" podcast, revealing that doctors informed her of having high executive functioning, allowing her to lead a seemingly normal life.

Holly Madison revealed she has been diagnosed with autism.

During the podcast episode, Madison emphasized her "highly functioning" status and acknowledged the diverse nature of the autism spectrum. She expressed that her experience may not be as extreme as others within the spectrum and clarified that she does not claim to be the spokesperson for everyone.

Reflecting on her childhood, Madison disclosed that signs of her autism were evident, with her mother suspecting the condition early on. Recounting her zoning out as a child, Madison explained how people often questioned her behavior, and her mother would respond, "She's thinking."

The former Playmate shared that she is still “highly functioning” but may miss out on social cues.Holly Madison/Instagram

Madison admitted to lifelong struggles with recognizing social cues and perceiving situations differently than others. She attributed her introverted nature to growing up in Alaska and experiencing a significant social change in middle school when she moved to Oregon.

The reality TV star candidly discussed how her past social challenges, now understood through her autism diagnosis, sometimes led people to perceive her negatively. She noted instances where her quiet demeanor and difficulty making eye contact were misunderstood as snobbishness.

Describing her difficulty in gauging when others have finished speaking, Madison admitted to unintentionally interrupting people, occasionally causing frustration. She has since adopted a practice of apologizing and explaining her diagnosis to create understanding.

Madison, who previously dated Hugh Hefner, shared how she had “signs” of her autism growing up.

In a broader appeal, Madison encouraged others to approach interactions with patience, recognizing that everyone operates differently socially. She emphasized the importance of not taking her social cues personally, as she navigates the world on a distinct social wavelength.

Holly Madison's revelation sheds light on the diverse experiences within the autism spectrum and encourages a more empathetic and understanding approach to social interactions.

The “Holly’s World” alum shared that her lack of social awareness would sometimes rub people the “wrong way.”Holly Madison/Instagram

What happened to Holly Madison?

Holly Madison has had a diverse career since leaving the Playboy Mansion in 2008. Here's an overview:


  • Television: She starred in the reality shows "The Girls Next Door" (2005-2010) and "Holly's World" (2009-2011). In 2023, she co-hosts the podcast "Girls Next Level" with former co-star Bridget Marquardt.
  • Writing: She published the memoir "Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Playboy Bunny" in 2015, exposing the dark side of her life at the Playboy Mansion.
  • Other ventures: She performed in several Las Vegas shows, opened her own nightclub in Las Vegas, and launched a line of lingerie and swimwear.

Personal life:

  • Relationships: She dated Hugh Hefner from 2001 to 2008. In 2011, she married Pasquale Rotella, a music festival entrepreneur. They have two children together but divorced in 2019.
  • Activism: She advocates for animal rights and raises awareness about the dangers of the adult entertainment industry.

Recent news:

  • In 2023, she opened up about her experiences with body image and self-acceptance in various interviews.
  • She continues to speak out against the harmful practices of the Playboy Mansion and advocates for women's rights.

In summary, Holly Madison has successfully transitioned from her time at the Playboy Mansion into a diverse career focused on entertainment, writing, and activism.

Who is Holly Madison's ex-husband?

Holly Madison's ex-husband is Pasquale Rotella, a music festival entrepreneur best known for co-founding and running Insomniac Events, which organizes major events like Electric Daisy Carnival and EDC Las Vegas. They married in 2011 and have two children together, Rainbow Aurora Rotella and Forest Leonardo Antonio Rotella. However, they divorced in 2019.

Holly Madison in 2023:

Current activities:

  • Podcast: Co-hosts the podcast "Girls Next Level" with Bridget Marquardt, discussing their experiences at the Playboy Mansion and other topics.
  • Activism: Continues to advocate for animal rights and the wellbeing of women in the adult entertainment industry.
  • Social media: Remains active on Instagram (@hollymadison) with over 1 million followers, sharing glimpses of her life, family, and advocacy efforts.
  • Interviews: Has participated in various interviews throughout 2023, opening up about body image, self-acceptance, and her journey since leaving the Playboy Mansion.

Personal life:

  • Age: As of December 10, 2023, Holly Madison is 45 years old.
  • Daughter: Mother to Rainbow Aurora Rotella, born in 2013.
  • Relationships: Currently not publicly known to be dating anyone.

Other notable information:

  • Ex-husband: Pasquale Rotella, a music festival entrepreneur (divorced in 2019).
  • Book: Published the memoir "Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Playboy Bunny" in 2015.
  • Playboy Mansion: Openly criticizes the practices of the Playboy Mansion and advocates for reform in the adult entertainment industry.

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