Hugh Hefner, Crystal Harris

Brian To/FilmMagic

Hugh Hefner never thought he'd get married a third time.

"I've been married twice and I did not find frankly in marriage the romantic connection I was looking for so I really was not anticipating a marriage again," the 84-year-old Playboy poobah just told me. "I'm essentially a romantic, and love is what it's all about, and marriage is not always consistent with romance."

But along came Crystal Harris

"With Crystal the opposite occurred," Hef said. "The more time we spent together, the more one had the feeling that the commitment and the marriage would only enhance the romance."

Hefner proposed on Christmas Eve with a diamond ring tucked inside a Little Mermaid music box. "She burst into tears," he said. "It was a very lovely, romantic moment."

As the 24-year-old Harris first told me this morning, they're planning for a summer wedding at the Playboy Mansion. Hefner's younger brother, Keith (he turns 82 on Jan. 5), will likely serve as best man. And yes, Hef said, "I expect a prenup will be in the picture."

As for their 60-year age difference, Hef insists it's never been an issue. "I do believe that if you are healthy, age is just a number," he said. "I have had many dear friends pass away in their sixties and seventies so you don't know how long you are going to live. It depends on your DNA and it also depends very much on how you are as a person, your mental attitude, et cetera.

"I've always been very young," he continued. "I spend most of my time with younger people and I think a relationship with a younger woman keeps you younger."

So what is it about Crystal that made one of the world's most famous bachelors change his mind about giving marriage another try?

"Her sense of humor, her character," Hef said when I asked what he loves most about his fiancé. "It's always a happy day. She's a very down-to-earth person."

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