- Model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith has one of Hollywood’s most tragic stories.
- She died at age 39 of an accidental drug overdose just months after her 20-year-old son did.
- Here’s a look at her life in pictures, including the legacy she left behind — her daughter, Dannielynn.
Anna Nicole Smith, whose birth name was Vickie Lynn Hogan, was born on November 28, 1967 and grew up in Mexia, Texas.
At 15 years old, Smith dropped out of high school and began working at a fried chicken restaurant.
According to the new Netflix documentary “Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me,” she met her first husband, Billy Wayne Smith, while he was working as a cook in the restaurant. They married in 1985 when Smith was 17 years old.
On January 22, 1986, Smith and her first husband welcomed a son named Daniel.
According to her longtime friend, Smith became addicted to pills after getting a breast augmentation when she started stripping.
In “You Don’t Know Me,” Smith’s friend and former lover Missy Byrum claimed that Smith’s addiction to pain pills started after her breast augmentation surgery, which she saved up for as part of her quest to become a famous model.
Smith left her first husband when Daniel was six months old and began working at a strip club in Houston, Texas. It was there she met oil tycoon and billionaire J. Howard Marshall, who was 63 years her senior.
Marshall supported Smith and her son so that she could quit topless dancing and pursue her dreams of becoming a model and actor.
Smith made her debut on the cover of Playboy’s debutante-themed issue in March 1992.
And that November, she signed a three-year modeling deal with Guess Jeans that launched her into the spotlight.
During this time, Smith refused Marshall’s proposals of marriage several times, according to Byrum.
Byrum said in “You Don’t Know Me” that Smith told Marshall she didn’t want to marry him before making a name for herself, for fear of being called a “gold digger.”
Smith finally married Marshall in June 1994, months after being hospitalized for mixing prescription drugs and alcohol, according to CBS News.
When they married, Smith was 26 and Marshall was 89.
Smith was also in high demand at that point in her career, coming off of the Guess deal, and landed her first acting jobs. She appeared as Za-Za in the Coen brothers’ movie “The Hudsucker Proxy” and as Tanya in “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult,” both released in 1994.
Marshall became ill in January 1995 and died August 4 of that year, leaving Smith widowed.
Marshall’s son E. Pierce Marshall had begun the legal process of cutting Smith off from spousal support when his father got sick, according to the documentary, and the matter wasn’t resolved at the time of Marshall’s death. When he died, Smith was not mentioned in his will.
The complicated legal battle between Marshall’s son and Smith over Marshall’s estate lasted for over 20 years — and beyond both their deaths. It even reached the Supreme Court twice.
The Supreme Court ruled that Smith could continue to pursue her claim to part of Marshall’s oil fortune in May 2006, according to NPR.
Smith continued to struggle with addiction and finances amidst her legal battles. She had a few acting roles in the late 1990s.
According to CBS News, Smith was hospitalized for an adverse reaction to drugs in 1995 and filed for bankruptcy in 1996.
In the late ’90s she continued working, appearing in Third Eye Blind’s music video for “Jumper” and in an episode of the hit legal drama “Ally McBeal” in 1999.
Having faded from the spotlight, Smith decided to film a reality TV show as part of her attempted resurgence.
“The Anna Nicole Show” premiered on E! in August 2002, at the apex of the celebrity reality TV craze.
She signed a deal to become a spokesperson for TrimSpa diet pills in late 2003.
Concern for Smith grew after an erratic appearance at the 2004 American Music Awards.
“Like my body?” the model asked, before slurring her words in a speech introducing Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.
Smith announced she was pregnant with her second child via her website in 2006.
In June 2006, Smith announced she was pregnant via her website but she didn’t mention the name of the child’s father. She gave birth to her daughter, who she named Dannielynn, on September 7, 2006 in the Bahamas.
At the time of Dannielynn’s birth, Smith’s lawyer Howard K. Stern was listed as the baby’s father on the birth certificate. He maintained his paternity claim in subsequent interviews.
Smith’s son Daniel died while in the Bahamas to meet his newborn sister.
Three days after Dannielynn’s birth, while visiting his mother and newborn sister in the Bahamas, Smith’s son Daniel died suddenly at the age of 20.
“Anna Nicole is absolutely devastated by the loss of her son. He was her pride and joy and an amazing human being. Please do not make any press inquiries at this time so that Anna Nicole can grieve in peace,” Smith said in a statement posted to her website at the time, per People.
His cause of death was later determined to be an accidental drug overdose, according to Reuters.
Smith died months after her son, at the age of 39.
Months after Daniel’s death, Smith was rushed to the hospital after collapsing in a Florida hotel room. The TV personality died on February 8, 2007; she was 39 years old. Her cause of death was later determined to be an accidental drug overdose.
A paternity test established that Dannielynn’s father was photographer Larry Birkhead, not Howard K. Stern, who was Smith’s lawyer and partner at the time of her death.
After Smith’s death, her former lawyer Stern and photographer Larry Birkhead, who said that he and Smith had formerly had a sexual relationship, were still arguing over Dannielynn’s paternity.
In April 2010, Birkhead announced that a DNA test confirmed that he was the baby’s father.
Any chance that Smith’s daughter would inherit money from Smith’s long-lingering claim to a piece of J. Howard Marshall’s estate effectively ended in 2014.
According to Inside Edition, Smith’s lawyers lost their last legal move to get money from the late oil tycoon’s estate in 2014, seven years after Smith’s death. In a 2017 interview with Inside Edition, Dannielynn’s father Larry Birkhead commented on trying to shield his daughter from reports about the legal battle — and misinformation about her wealth.
“We saw a video on YouTube that she was one of the ten richest kids in America,” the photographer said. “Then she wanted to go to the mall. And I’m like, ‘No, it’s not that. Trust me, it’s not that.'”
Dannielynn turned 16 in September 2022.
“Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me” is streaming now on Netflix.
Read the original article on Insider