Playboy Magazine founder and notorious lady's man Hugh Hefner made sure that his stash of personal sex tapes was lost forever in the ocean, decades before he died at the age of 91 in 2017.
Hef entrusted Playboy Mansion head of security Joe Piastro with overseeing the sealing of video and audio recordings of his most secret affairs in a cask lined with cement and tossing it into the Pacific Ocean in the 1990s, an insider told the Sun.
"Hugh explained that he didn't want anyone's lives, marriages or careers to be destroyed by what he had In his library," the source said. "Joe did it and never told anyone."
But somehow, this source found out, and shared the story of trysts caught on tape with celebrities, models and party-goers, all now never to be recovered, reports Daily Mail.
The revelation comes ahead of an auction of Hef's personal belongings to be held in Los Angeles and live online, next Friday and Saturday.
According to the source, Hef had Piastro place "a batch of tapes, shot on 8 mm and cinefilm, which were filmed during some of the orgies he enjoyed in the 70s' into a specially-made chest that was lined with cement and toss the entire thing into the sea".
Although Hef was well-known for keeping meticulously thorough scrapbooks, he grew worried as Playboy Mansion parties got wilder in the late 1990s that his practice of documenting his every move might become a problem for some, the source said.
This was around the time that he separated from his second wife, Kimberly Conrad, in 1998, who is the mother of his two youngest sons, current Playboy Enterprises CCO Cooper Hefner, 27, and Marston Hefner, 28.
With a newly-single Hef back on the night scene, "the parties at the mansion were becoming grander affairs and it was difficult to control where guests were going," the source said.
"He was terrified that some of this material would be stolen and then leaked out.
"He even worried that if anything happened to him it could get in the wrongs hands and hurt those who were still alive."
The source added: "Some famous male movie stars too were in those videos and had that come out it would have been a huge scandal."
Hef's concerns came from what happened to close friend, Playmate and recurring cover model Pamela Anderson, who made a sex tape while on her honeymoon with rockstar Tommy Lee in 1995 that was widely circulated in the early days of the internet.
Anderson had also made an earlier sex tape with Poison's lead singer, Bret Michaels, which was cut down to 60-second and four-minute versions, with frames appearing in Penthouse magazine in March of 1998.
"After what [Anderson] had told him, [Hef] was certain that this material was best lost rather than locked away," the source said.
"He got so upset and paranoid that he decided it was best to have [the video and audio recordings] disappear. He didn't trust people to burn them in case they got stolen, so he charged Joe with getting rid of them in the ocean.
"Joe had been his trusted head of security for years and had saved Hugh from many embarrassing situations in the past. So he decided that Joe should go out in the middle of the ocean with the cask and dump it all."
In the years following the decision to bury the tapes at sea, Hef enjoyed periods of the bachelor life, often entertaining multiple girlfriends at a time.
Most recently, the World War II Army veteran simultaneously dated Playmates and actors Anna Sophia Berglund (Miss January 2011) and Shera Bechard (Miss November 2010), before getting back together with Playmate Crystal Hefner (Miss December 2009) and eventually marrying her in 2012, just two years after finalizing his divorce from Conrad (who was Miss January 1988).
Hef passed away on September 27, 2017, after going into cardiac arrest and suffering from respiratory failure following a particularly antibiotic-resistant bout of E. coli and Septicemia, which is a severe blood infection.
He died at home, at the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills.
The auction of Hef's personal effects will include his famous white captain's hat, a pair of his black silk pajamas, one of his red smoking jackets, a custom 1974 Monopoly board game including a Playboy bunny playing piece, a pair of his Playboy bunny cufflinks, his 2016 passport and his personal Bible.
The event will be hosted on November 30 and December 1 by Julien's Auctions, in person at the Standard Oil Building Beverly Hills, located at 257 N. Canon Drive, in four sessions beginning at 10am and 1pm Pacific each day, and live online at JuliensAuctions.com.
"All proceeds of the sale will benefit the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation in support of organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights, with special emphasis on First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies since 1964," the auction house said.