Singer Vanity Was Married to a Famous Footballer Who Was Sentenced to 3 Life Terms in Jail Years after Their Divorce – Meet Him
Vanity's time in the spotlight seemed unending, thanks to her talent and association with the high and mighty in the industry. She was married to a famous footballer who became a convict - here is a glimpse into their life story.
Vanity was a model, video vixen, and singer discovered by the legendary performer Prince. She danced in his video and also seemed to have had a brief romance with him.
She was successful in her own right as the lead singer of the band "Vanity 6." However, she left the group for Motown Records, where she released two tracks. The singer also did some acting in the hit movie "The Last Dragon."
A picture of the late Canadian singer and model, Vanity | Phoot: Getty Images
Her fame was overwhelming, and like it is with many celebrities who allow themselves to give in to their inner demons, she got hooked on cocaine and crack, which affected her kidneys. In 2016, she died at a Fremont Hospital, just as she had turned a new leaf.
Some years before her death, Vanity struggled with a few health challenges including kidney failure. She also had a violent husband, the famous footballer Anthony Smith. Thankfully, she found the Christian faith and became an evangelist.
A portrait of Denise Matthews, popularly known as Vanity | Photo: Getty Images
ROMANCE WITH ANTHONY SMITH
Vanity had read about the talented Los Angeles Raiders player in the news and decided to meet him. The talented singer scheduled a date with Smith, who was seven years younger than her.
For these two, it might have been love at first sight, because seventy-two hours after meeting, Vanity proposed to the football player, and their wedding was arranged a month later.
This was her first and only marriage, while this was Smith's second; his first was to an actress, and he later married a third wife named Teresa.
Vanity at a performance on September 12, 1982 in Chicago. | Photo: Getty Images
Their marriage was plagued with anger and violence, which was often displayed in public. A former Raiders player and friend to Smith claimed that on one occasion, he pulled his wife's arm aggressively, out of anger.
Vanity had done something to upset her husband prior to his outburst, and Smith's reaction was to restrain her in a chair; this drove fear into the witness who testified that he thought the singer would lose her arm.
During their time together, Smith told one of his wealthy associates that he helped his wife with a kidney, as her health began failing owing to years of continuous substance abuse. But this did not deter the Raiders champ from being violent.
Singer Vanity, a protege of The Artist (aka Prince) | Photo: Getty Images
Their marriage hit the rocks nearly two years after it began. After they parted ways, Smith was arrested for being violent with another woman. This time, the authorities sentenced him to anger-management classes.
MORE ON SMITH
Smith was a child with little or no parental care. He grew up in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, with no father and a mother who drank too much and eventually died when he was 3.
Portrait of the singer Vanity (1959 - 2016) in Chicago, Illinois, April 3, 1986. | Photo: Getty Images
His stepfather took over but was later kicked out by Smith's half-brother, Donald, who was always angry. Smith soon became immersed in football and used that as his escape from the intense atmosphere at home.
Sadly, his retirement plan did not turn out as envisaged; rather, he spent it behind bars, with the inability to continue his legacy.
He was skilled in the sport, and even though he had no close pals, the young footballer had a charming and endearing personality that made him likable.
Singer Vanity attends a Virgin Records party on February 23, 1990 | Photo: Getty Images
As he grew older, the North Carolina native became withdrawn, a bit friendly, and more concerned about his athletic talents. He soon became a part of the Los Angeles Raiders, and by 1994 bagged a contract worth millions with the team.
SMITH'S RETIREMENT PLAN
With the fame and fortune, Smith lived a happier life and made a few close friends; he even mentored some kids and looked after his family.
Anthony Smith, #94 of the Los Angeles Raiders, during an NFL football game on October 10, 1993 | Photo: Getty Images
A source admitted the footballer complained about how his family requesting for chunky sums like it was peanuts and that he never wanted to die a poor man. Smith wanted to be able to "relax and chill" after his days on the pitch came to an end.
In 1997, he left the Raiders, but it took a few months before another team signed him. By 1998, Vanity's ex-husband became part of the Broncos. But this did not last long.
During a training session in Denver, he reached out to his assistant to come pick him up—this was the last time he looked at his football profession.
Anthony Wayne Smith (C) after he arrived in court with his attorney Michael Evans (R) for the reading of verdicts involving four murder charges at Lancaster Courthouse on November 5, 2015 | Photo: Getty Images
While Smith seemed done with football, he was optimistic about his personal life. He was in love with his third wife, Teresa and they were expecting a baby, which was good news, despite the fact that he would bring in fewer funds.
Everything looked great, except that he felt the need to provide for his family, which was normal. However, the famous player sought money in the wrong places.
Singer Vanity attends the premiere of "Action Jackson" on February 11, 1988 | Photo: Getty Images
He invested in an illegal business, an online medical scam, and started spending time among gangsters and thugs, believing they were his true buddies.
Sadly, his retirement plan did not turn out as envisaged; rather, he spent it behind bars, with the inability to continue his legacy as an icon in his sport.
With his new, shady business, he became linked to a series of crimes and was under the eagle eyes of the law enforcement agencies. In 2016, at age 48, he was sentenced to three life terms in prison without parole.
Singer Vanity attends the press conference for Hands Across America on January 16, 1986 | Photo: Getty Images
His crimes involved the killing of another man in 2001 and the1999 torture killings of two siblings, brothers. In 2015, a Los Angeles jury found him guilty of three counts of murder with special circumstances involving kidnapping, torture, and homicide.
Investigators confirmed that the accused impersonated a police officer to kidnap the two brothers, Ricky and Kevin Nettles, in 1999 before their murders. He was also accused of kidnapping Dennis Henderson in 2001.
During the trials, several pieces of evidence were provided, such as identifications by witnesses, properties found on the corpses belonging to Smith, and books on how to kill in the Raiders champion's possession.
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