Howard K. Stern: Anna Nicole Smith 'Vindicated'

Stern speaks in exclusive interview after being exonerated in drug case.

ByABC News
January 13, 2011, 7:32 AM

Jan. 13, 2010 — -- Howard K. Stern, the boyfriend of former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith, said he immediately thought of Smith when a judge exonerated him of drug conspiracy charges last week.

"It was incredible just because I knew that I was vindicated, Anna was vindicated, who she was as a person was vindicated," Stern said in an exclusive interview with GMA. "I was looking up at the sky and in my mind I was talking to her... it's been a long, tough road."

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry declared that Stern never had the intent to defraud when he used his name and others to obtain prescriptions for Smith while keeping her privacy intact.

The judge's dismissal of a previous verdict that found Smith guilty of those charges brings an end to a four-year legal battle that began in the wake of Smith's accidental drug overdose in 2007.

In life, Smith, the blonde, vivacious model and reality star, always stole the spotlight and Howard K. Stern loved to live in her shadow, by her side in good times and in bad.

"She was my best friend, my lover, the mother of my daughter, everything to me, I mean literally everything, my whole world," Stern said.

They first met in 1995 when Stern joined the then 26-year-old bombshell's legal team. Smith was fighting for $800 million from her 93-year-old deceased husband's estate.

"I'm not a gold digger…. I went out and made something of myself and people don't appreciate that," Smith told ABC News in an interview 10 years ago.

Stern would take Smith's case all the way to the Supreme Court where they won a moral victory, but no money.