Kendra Leigh Baskett (née Wilkinson; born June 12, 1985) is an American television personality, businesswoman, glamour model, and author. She is known for being one of Hugh Hefner's three girlfriends and for her role on the E! reality television series The Girls Next Door, on which her life in the Playboy Mansion was documented. Although not a Playboy Playmate, she has appeared in three nude pictorials with her Girls Next Door co-stars and fellow Hefner girlfriends Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt. Her first reality series, Kendra, debuted in June 2009.
Life and career
Baskett is of English, Irish, and Ukrainian descent. She has a younger brother named Colin. Her mother, Patti, was originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and had been a cheerleader for the Philadelphia Eagles. Her father, Eric, was raised in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and Ocean City, New Jersey, before moving to San Diego, California at age 15. He received a degree in biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego, and went on to found several biotechnology companies before retiring at the age of 48. Patti and Eric married on November 5, 1983. They divorced on March 25, 1994, when Kendra was eight years old. Her grandmother, Gloria Wilkinson, died in December 2004.
Baskett was born in San Diego, California, and raised in its middle class community Clairemont. She played softball for six years with the Clairemont Bobby Sox. She attended Clairemont High School, graduating in 2003. When she left high school, she began working as a glamour model, and also briefly worked as an administrative assistant in a dentist's office.
2004–09: Playboy and The Girls Next Door
Baskett met Hugh Hefner at his 78th birthday party in April 2004, where she was hired to be one of the "painted girls" (women who are nude except for painted-on accessories). Hefner had seen a photo of her shot by Kim Riley, on a fax machine at the Playboy Mansion and wanted to know who she was. Shortly after they met, Hefner asked Wilkinson to be one of his girlfriends, and he moved her into the Playboy Mansion along with her dogs Rascal (a Pembroke Welsh Corgi) and Martini (a Jack Russell Terrier). In a 2014 interview, Wilkinson explained, "I was like, 'Hell yeah, I'm here!' I was living in this small-ass apartment with this ugly-ass bitch. I was praying for anything to get me out of there. I moved in and weeks went by and I didn't know that sex was involved. I knew nothing about Playboy, I'd just graduated high school."
She was featured on the E! reality television series The Girls Next Door, which followed the lives of Hefner's then-girlfriends: Wilkinson, Holly Madison, and Bridget Marquardt. She moved out of the Playboy Mansion in 2009 after meeting her future husband, Hank Baskett, and filmed her own spin-off reality show for E! called Kendra. The first season was about her living on her own and planning her wedding.
Baskett has made several cameos on different programs such as Las Vegas and Entourage. She also appeared in Akon's music video "Smack That". While on the set of the video, Eminem poured a bottle of water on her head, though the two later reconciled. In 2006, she appeared in the Playboy Special Editions Sexy 100. In 2007, she appeared in Nickelback's music video of "Rockstar", along with Madison and Marquardt. They also had a cameo role in the 2006 film Scary Movie 4. Wilkinson also showed her creative side as a rapper on MTV's Celebrity Rap Superstar which debuted on August 30, 2007. She rapped to Ludacris’ "Fantasy", in response to the question asked by the show's host, "Can Kendra move her mouth as fast as she moves her booty?" She went on to take second place, losing to Shar Jackson.
Baskett's stated career goal is to become a massage therapist or sports announcer. In December 2005, she became a regular blogger columnist at the website of the Philadelphia Eagles, a team for which her mother had been a professional cheerleader, and for which her husband played professionally.
2009–11: Kendra, marriage, and motherhood
On August 13, 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported that Baskett was Olive Garden's "Biggest Celebrity Fan". Wilkinson has described Olive Garden's cuisine as "my soul food." The newspaper emphasized that her repeated enthusiastic public endorsements of the family restaurant were genuine, personal and were not tied to any payment from Olive Garden. In fact, the company was reported as viewing Baskett's endorsements with "mixed feelings," and something on which it was reluctant to comment since the restaurant emphasizes its family-friendly nature.
On September 22, 2008, the International Business Times reported that Wilkinson was engaged to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett. Wilkinson initially denied this, but she later admitted she was in a relationship with Baskett on October 7, 2008 in an interview with Chelsea Handler on Chelsea Lately. On November 6, 2008, E! Online announced Wilkinson and Baskett were engaged, after he proposed the previous Saturday at the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington.
Wilkinson married Baskett on June 27, 2009, at the Playboy Mansion. Although it was initially announced that Hugh Hefner would give the bride away, Kendra's brother Colin walked her down the aisle. Wilkinson's family was in attendance, as well as former Girls Next Door stars Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt. Us Weekly paid the couple $120,000 for the wedding pictures. On the wedding episode of Kendra, she said that she would be taking Baskett's last name. They reside in Calabasas, California.
On June 11, 2009, Wilkinson announced that she and Baskett were expecting their first baby together. The baby, a boy named Hank Baskett IV, was born December 11, 2009 at 12:37 a.m. in Carmel, Indiana, by Caesarian section, weighing in at 9 pounds 5 ounces (4.2 kg). Wilkinson's friends hosted a baby shower on September 9, 2009. She told E! News that Hefner will be the child's godfather. "He was like, 'Oh my god!' and then he cried... Hef will be the godfather," Wilkinson said, but she later denied this in an interview in OK magazine.
In an interview after the birth of Hank IV, Baskett revealed she had suffered post-partum depression. "After giving birth, I never brushed my hair, my teeth, or took a shower," said Baskett. "I looked in the mirror one day and was really depressed." After the birth she weighed 140 pounds, according to a E! interview. She attributed her depression to moving to Indianapolis where her husband played so soon after Hank IV's birth and feeling isolated.
Baskett starred in a spinoff of Girls Next Door, titled Kendra, which focused on her life after leaving the Playboy Mansion and getting engaged to then Philadelphia Eagles receiver Hank Baskett. The Girls Next Door executive producer Kevin Burns serves in the same capacity on the series. Kendra is produced by Prometheus Entertainment, Fox TV Studios, and Alta Loma Entertainment. Kendra premiered on June 7, 2009, and had record breaking numbers for E! with 2.6 million viewers, and was the highest-rated reality debut for the network since 2002's premiere of The Anna Nicole Show. The show's third-season finale, and 33rd episode, on E! debuted on January 9, 2011. The show was not renewed for a fourth season.
In 2007, Baskett appeared on an episode of WWE Raw with Bridget Marquardt.
In 2010 she published a memoir, Sliding Into Home.
Baskett was a contestant in the twelfth season of Dancing with the Stars, partnered with Louis Van Amstel. She was eliminated in the seventh week, on May 3, 2011. Kendra launched her personal website KendraWilkinson.com in November 2011. The digital community offers space for Kendra to answer all her fans questions, and connect with each other while talking about family, friends and laughter.
On March 17, 2010, Baskett's E! True Hollywood Story premiered on E! Entertainment Television. During the hour-long episode, she discussed her rocky road to stardom. In May 2010, a video recording of Wilkinson having sex with a then-unidentified man surfaced. The recording was acquired by Vivid Entertainment, who planned to distribute the tape as Kendra Exposed. Wilkinson contested the release and threatened to sue should it be released. RadarOnline reported that in 2008, Wilkinson herself set up a company Home Run Productions LLC, through which she made several attempts to sell sex tapes. Sources have reported that Wilkinson was paid $680,000 for the film that was made by her high school boyfriend Justin Frye when she was 18.
2012–present: Kendra on Top
After parting ways with E! in 2011, Baskett and her family started a new reality show on WE tv, Kendra on Top. It premiered June 5, 2012.
On February 26, 2013, Baskett appeared on an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap with Kate Gosselin.
On April 20, 2013, she was involved with another vehicle in an automobile accident on a California freeway. Her injuries included having a minor hemorrhagic stroke.
On October 31, 2013, Baskett announced that she was pregnant with her second child via a Twitter photo. On May 16, 2014, Baskett announced via Twitter that she gave birth to a baby girl named Alijah Mary Baskett.
In November 2014, Baskett was a contestant on the 14th series of the UK reality TV series hit I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, finishing in sixth place.