This story would be a sweet one if it was about an age appropriate couple, (like Nick and Mariah and the ring pop) but as it is it only serves to highlight the massive age difference between the bride and groom. Credit to Kaiser for observing that this shows what a child Crystal Harris really is at 24 when contrasted with her 84 year-old fiance. Hugh Hefner proposed to Harris with a ring in a Little Mermaid music box. Because as a little girl Harris must have dreamed of marrying a rich prince old enough to be her great grandfather and giving up life as she knows it to live in an aging dank mansion. I always thought The Little Mermaid was a crock. Arial has to leave her family and friends in the ocean and all she gets is a hot guy whose looks will fade and whose lifestyle is completely different from anything she’s ever known before that single week she traded in her voice to stare at him. Crystal doesn’t even get a hot guy in this bargain.
We were up in the bedroom,” Harris, 24, tells PEOPLE, “and my favorite movie is The Little Mermaid, so he had the ring in a Little Mermaid box, and that was so special. I opened it and the first thing he said to me was, ‘I hope it fits!’ ”
Adds Hefner, 84, “I got her a little music box with the Mermaid theme to it, and it just looked like the perfect size and the perfect place to be the ring box. So when she started unwrapping that gift, I reached over and wound it so it was playing music while she discovered what was inside.”
Although she cried with happiness, Harris says, “There wasn’t any ‘down-on-one-knee’ or anything like that, because we are not traditional.”
The ring is a circle diamond “a little over three karats,” says Harris, “and it’s on platinum setting and it has diamonds all around the band as well. It’s so pretty.”
Meanwhile, in addition to holiday gifts of an iPhone and a scrapbook of their past year together, Harris gave Hefner a painting she commissioned of her, Hefner and their dog Charlie by former Playmate and Amazing Race contestant Victoria Fuller.
Crystal “is so totally devoted,” Hefner says. “Her priorities are pretty much our relationship, No. 1 and No. 2 and 3, and you don’t always find that. Despite the age disparity, the truth of the matter is we have a great deal in common, we really complement one another, we have a wonderful time together, and I love her.”
The pair met at a Halloween party at the Playboy Mansion in 2008. “We were both psychology majors in school, so there was never a dull moment,” says Harris. “We always had something to talk about. We go to Vegas and stay at his suite at the Palms, we travel all over, and we’ve been to Europe. We have movie nights at home with all our friends, and I have a blast with him. He’s the one with all the energy!”
Hefner, who’s been married (and divorced) twice, admits he has been publicly skeptical about the institution of marriage. “I do think there is a certain reality to the fact that people start to take one another for granted,” the Playboy founder says.
“I just simply found myself in a relationship with Crystal in which I felt, quite frankly, the opposite seemed to be true – that the more committed to one another we were, the closer we got, and the more we loved one another, and I just think this one, for me, will be the exception to the rule.”
Some of you have noted that the ring (photo below) looks relatively small and cheap by Hollywood standards. It’s an estimated 3 1/2 carats and is said to have cost $90,000 though, so it’s not like Hef was skimping.
Analyzing what Hef and Crystal said about their relationship, Hef is impressed that he has a woman who always seems to drop everything for him and has nothing else going on (he says she puts their relationship at priority 1,2, and 3) and Crystal likes the things that Hef does for her. (“We go to Vegas and stay at his suite at the Palms, we travel all over, and we’ve been to Europe.”)
We never saw what happened to The Little Mermaid after she got married and I always assumed she was miserable. Like all of a sudden she has legs, has to breathe air, and can’t pal around with her friends. That’s not happily ever after that’s trading in your whole life for a man. Good luck to Harris. It’s not surprising that she still thinks The Little Mermaid is an ideal fairy tale.