Hefner, 34, a model and the widow of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, said Wednesday on Instagram that she “lost half the blood” in her body during a fat transfer surgery in October.
Hefner shared the news alongside a photo of herself with bandages on her breasts.
“I had a fat transfer surgery October 16 and almost didn’t make it through. I lost half the blood in my body and ended up in the hospital needing a blood transfusion. I’ve been slowing eating my way back to health since then and I am now finally feeling ok,” Hefner wrote.
“I advocate for being natural since I got very ill and removed my implants and everything else toxic in my body in 2016. I should have learned my lesson the first time but I guess the universe keeps sending you the same lesson until you learn it,” she said.
Hefner reflected on society’s beauty standards and how women are made to “feel terrible” about their appearance.
“Our culture is a trap and makes women feel terrible about themselves,” Hefner said. “Movies (84.9% directed by men) make it worse. Social media makes it worse. Advertisements make it worse. Physically fake people make it worse (I was one of them),”
“How our culture defines beauty makes it impossible to keep up with. Women are overly sexualized. I know from the worst kind of experience,” she added. “To this day I need to write reminders of why I’m worthy that have nothing to do with my physical appearance to convince myself that I’m enough.”
Hefner said her near-death experience was “a huge slap” on the wrist for “caving” to the pressure of societal beauty standards.
“This is a huge slap on my own wrist for caving into this pressure, even though in my 30’s – as I thought I would have learned my lesson by now,” she said.
Models Cathy Lugner and Sara Underwood were among those to voice their support for Hefner in the comments.
“I’m so glad you are okay,” Underwood wrote. “Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story.”
Hefner first appeared in Playboy in 2008 and was the Playboy Playmate of the Month in December 2009. She was married to Hugh Hefner from December 2012 until his death in September 2017.