Who Is Howard K. Stern?

ByABC News via GMA logo
February 13, 2007, 7:48 AM

Feb. 13, 2007 — -- There are now at least three men claiming to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall, who stands to inherit as much as $474 million.

Howard K. Stern, Smith's companion at the time of her death, has holed himself up with the baby in his Bahamas home. Despite doubts about his paternity, he continues to assert that he is Dannielynn's father and has vowed to retain custody of her.

Howard's sister, Bonnie Stern, now says that he was not with Smith when she died but knew that she was very sick shortly before she collapsed.

According to The Associated Press, Bonnie said that her brother told her that Smith was running a fever of 105 degrees and that a nurse was "icing her down" on the day of her death.

"When he left her, she was sleeping," Bonnie said.

Howard's stance after Smith's death mirrors the devotion he appeared to have for her during her life, observers say. Howard first emerged on Smith's reality series, "The Anna Nicole Show." As her lawyer and companion, he was rarely far from her side.

"He was like her butler," said designer and friend Bobby Trendy. "And as the years went on, it seemed he had her under control."

According to Jackie Hatten, who was once close friends with Smith, Howard seemed willing to fulfill the former Playboy playmate's every wish, even if she didn't respect him.

"She looked at him as something of a gopher, certainly not a boyfriend," Hatten said.

Howard was with Smith during Dannielynn's birth and remained there days later, when her 20-year-old son died suddenly.

Shortly after, Howard revealed that the baby was his on CNN's "Larry King Live."

J.D. Heyman, People magazine's senior editor, believes Howard's contested paternity increases the questions surrounding Smith's death and her baby.

"Paternity is at the heart of this case," he said. "The child's future is at the heart of this case. Anna Nicole's death makes this endlessly more complicated."