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Hefner watching his step

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



While Hugh Hefner did just get engaged to 24-year-old Playmate Crystal Harris, sources close to Hef tell me they doubt there will be a wedding — just one of those typical, long-term Hollywood engagements.

“Though in Hef’s case, how long can that be?” one source said, pointing out that he’s 84.

Hefner insiders believe the Chicago native’s pledge never to marry again, given his two earlier ones ended in divorce.

However, if the Playboy legend does walk down the aisle again, two very reliable sources close to Hefner insist he’ll carefully protect his millions.

“That prenup will be tighter than Cher’s most recent facelift!” said a longtime Playboy honcho.

Like most Hollywood prenuptial agreements, any splitsville settlement coming from a potential Hefner-Harris marriage would be tied to the length of time (I’m hearing four years minimum) Harris would have to stick with her octogenarian hubby.

Despite the many financial woes that have plagued the Playboy empire in recent years — and the fact that much of Hefner’s wealth is tied to Playboy — a knowledgeable source said, “Hef still is a very rich guy, with big assets worth protecting.”

♦ Meanwhile, Hef’s ex — longtime galpal Holly Madison of “Girls Next Door” TV show fame — is said to be very upset about the engagement announcement. She long tried to snare a proposal from Hefner herself.

“She can’t believe Crystal was able to get Hef to agree to something she had tried for so long,” said a source close to Hefner.

Even after Madison’s fling with magician Criss Angel — supposedly done to make Hefner jealous — and Hefner’s plea for her to come back to him, he still never proposed marriage or gave her a ring.

MORE ROMANCE: “You won’t find two more private stars in the world than those two,” an associate of James Bond superstar Daniel Craig and Oscar winner Rachel Weisz said Sunday, chatting about the couple she worked with on “Dream House.”

“You have no idea the lengths they will go to to try and keep their private lives private,” added the source. As for the duo being seen over the Christmas weekend in a remote pub in Somerset, England, clearly looking very romantic with each other, the BZ spy added, “I think it’s because they thought they were so far from spying eyes, they could get away with being more open about their relationship.

“… Of course these days, there’s no place on Earth where you can escape the paparazzi,” the source said, laughing.

The film production staffer said the two actors “so totally connected” while making the movie in Canada earlier this year. “It was very obvious that their relationship was heading in a personal direction — and it wasn’t just all about the work.”

♦ I’ve also learned that Prince’s girlfriend — and longtime protege — Bria Valente is raging over the fact Prince has moved on. Word has it, the music superstar is totally enamored with American Ballet Theatre ballerina Misty Copeland, who starred in Prince’s “Crimson and Clover” video, and has been performing live with him in major shows recently.

HOLIDAY HOPE: One of the best seasonal cards arrived from Chicago-based financial star Mellody Hobson and longtime beau and filmmaking megaguru George Lucas. The card — the first I believe was sent out jointly by the couple — carried a great message for all, quoting President Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

NEW HOMESTEAD: While lots of speculation has arisen about where the $172,000 in cash came from to purchase Bristol Palin’s new home in Maricopa, Ariz., I’ve learned it mostly came from the money she was paid for competing on “Dancing With the Stars,” plus a “very small loan” from her mom, ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: After the Bears’ 38-34 win over the New York Jets Sunday, tight end Greg Olsen and defensive back Craig Steltz slipped into Hub 51 with their families for an eclectic feast ranging from sushi to burgers to Martha Melman’s famous carrot cake, while ex-NFL’er Simeon Rice dined nearby. … Olsen and teammate Chester Taylor did more postgame celebrating at Lucky Strike on East Illinois. Meanwhile, sportscaster Jim Nantz, joined by his daughters, had his postgame dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab.



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