hugh hefner crystal harrisFive days before she was supposed to walk down the aisle to become the third Mrs. Hugh Hefner, Crystal Harris is playing right into the media circus that popped up as soon as the announcement was made that the wedding is off. She's chatting up Ryan Seacrest, sounding quite "chipper" (his word). Oh, and her single "Club Queen" dropped yesterday, too. (Hef himself retweeted a tweet that reads: "@CrystalHarris left @hughhefner the day her single came out on iTunes. Coincidence? I think not.")

In fact, according to Page Six, Harris has been plotting this media frenzy for some time. Apparently, she was secretly planning to ditch the Playboy founder at the altar in return for a $500,000 deal.

Because the wedding was going to be filmed for a Lifetime special, the plan was to walk down the aisle and then, on camera, decide not to go through with it. A source says Crystal hoped that would cause a sensation, which could lead to a tie-in deal worth half a mil. Supposedly, she's also been getting snuggly with Dr. Phil's son Jordan behind Hef's back.

Poor HEF!

My first thought? He totally should have stuck with Holly. I think she really loved him. Second thought? Even though Crystal and her rep (sort of) deny the Page Six-reported plot to humiliate Hef and score a lucrative deal, I wouldn't be surprised if it was totally -- or at least partially -- true. I mean, what else would a 25-year-old have to win from an engagement to a guy who could be her great-grandfather? From the moment they announced the nuptials, I figured there was something fishy going on here.

But let's forget Crystal for a sec, shall we? I really do feel bad for Hef. Sure, I have my differences with the guy. I am a Gloria Steinem fan and card-carrying feminist, after all. But I also respect him as a media legend, a pioneer. He laid the foundation for much of what was sexy and popular in the mid-20th century, then brought it back decade after decade. He may be an ancient womanizing freak and annoy monogamists everywhere, but I think he's an okay guy.

It may have been karma that led him to this point -- sitting in bed watching Runaway Bride this weekend, instead of saying, "I do" -- but I'm still on his team. Given all the evidence, Crystal Harris sounds like a conniving little brat who thought she could play Hef and make out big. Maybe Hef didn't want to or care to see that he was getting taken for a ride, but the fact remains: Hef is a legend. He deserved more respect than this.

What do you think -- do you think Crystal was out for a lucrative media deal? Do you feel bad for Hef?

 

Image via Frederick M. Brown/Getty