Credit: Adam Larkey/ABC Television Group © 2010 Disney Photo: Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff

Hugh Hefner is breaking his silence to insist to Wetpaint exclusively that Dancing With the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff will indeed appear in the May issue of Playboy — and that she did it of her own free will. After reps for ABC, Karina, and Hugh himself spent all of Thursday dodging the question of whether or not Karina would, in fact, appear in the magazine, we wondered if Hef had bought nude shots of her from a third party without her knowledge. So we asked everyone that question as well — and still got no answer.

Then we went on Twitter, and asked Hef — somewhat bluntly — to come clean about his Karina tweet that started it all. He responded: “Karina Smirnoff posed for Playboy, including the May cover, Ian. Very special.”

ABC and Karina’s people still have not confirmed that. Come to think of it, neither have Hugh Hefner’s. More to come, we’re sure.

MORE ON THE KARINA PLAYBOY ISSUE:

Did Hugh Hefner Buy Nude Pics of DWTS Pro Karina Smirnoff Behind Her Back?

Gasp! Hugh Hefner Says Karina Smirnoff Will Pose Nude in Playboy