Anna Nicole Smith Loved the Limelight

At the time of her death, Anna Nicole Smith was in the midst of one of the most bittersweet and turbulent years of her life.

Her oldest child, Daniel, 20, died last September, just three days after she gave birth to a daughter, Daniellyn, in a Bahamas hospital. A coroner's inquest found that her son died of an overdose of anti-depressants and methadone.

Several weeks later, she had a commitment ceremony with her lawyer and constant companion, Howard K. Stern. At the end of the ceremony, which took place aboard a boat, she and Stern joined hands, jumped into the water and happily splashed around for a photographer.

It was perhaps the last time her public saw the bubbly, happy Anna Nicole they had grown used to seeing. In appearances earlier this week on "Entertainment Tonight," she looked tired and miserable, and had trouble articulating her thoughts.

Editor's Picks

Smith was in the midst of several legal actions -- a lengthy court battle with the family of her late husband, J. Howard Marshall II; a custody battle with a photographer who claims to be the father of her newborn daughter. And just this week, she was named in a class action filed against her and TrimSpa, the diet aid she endorsed.

She told "Entertainment Tonight" that she was particularly disturbed at the prospect of a custody battle with Larry Birkhead, who claims he and Smith were longtime lovers and that he was the father of her child, not Stern. Birkhead also recently appeared on the show and charged that Smith had been avoiding his demand that she submit DNA to determine the baby's paternity.

Earlier this week, Birkhead was backed up by a California judge, who ordered Smith and her daughter to undergo testing by Feb. 21.

And on Wednesday, Smith -- along with TrimSpa Inc. -- was sued by three Los Angeles women who allege that Smith exaggerated claims about the drug's ability to help people lose weight (Smith claims she lost 69 pounds on it).

The new lawsuit was yet another burden on the back of a woman who appeared more fragile with every passing event. And the turmoil is likely not over.

An attorney who has worked for Smith said after her death, "This is far from settled. You've got a will that will have to administered in the Bahamas, you've got the custody fight over the child, and you've got creditors who will be challenging the estate. I could not imagine a messier situation."

And Lenard Leeds, a New York attorney who worked with Smith on the Marshall case, said of her after her death, "She embraced all the media attention, but later in life it became her worst enemy."

Living for the Lens

In the end, Smith was more famous for being famous than she was for anything she did during her life.

Anna Nicole Smith -- born Vicky Lynn Hogan near Houston, Texas, in 1967 -- met Billy Smith when she was 17 and he was 16. They were co-workers at a fried chicken restaurant where Billy was the fry cook and Vicky waited tables. A year later, the two were married and were soon the parents of a son, Daniel.

But perhaps not content to be married to a man who made minimum wage, Vicky separated from Billy and moved to Houston, where she eventually got work as a topless dancer and changed her name.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: The Cherokee County Fire Department in Georgia rescued a yellow Labrador puppy from a 75-foot well on July 5, 2015.
Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services
Craig Terry/Cape May County Tourism
PHOTO: Anyone with information about this baby found abandoned in Maryland is asked to call the Anne Arundel County Police Department at 410-222-6145.
Anne Arundel County Police Department