Anna Nicole Smith was one of America's most popular models in the '90s. Her life was filled with controversies and struggles, and she eventually died of an overdose.
Popular Model Anna Nicole Smith was a fan favorite for many reasons. She rose to prominence as a model for "Playboy" magazine and "Guess" and also for her highly publicized union to 89-year-old Oil Tycoon, J. Howard Marshall II.
Her marriage to Marshall ended almost as quickly as it began. The business tycoon died soon after they married, and Smith was left fighting for a portion of his estate while trying to have a career.
Anna Nicole Smith and son Daniel during "G-Phoria - The Award Show 4 Gamers" at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California [left] . Howard K.Stern appears outside the courthouse after a verdict was reached for Sandeep Kapoor, Khristine Eroshevich and Howard K. Stern at the Criminal Court on October 28 2010, in Los Angeles, California [right] | Photo: Getty Images
MEET ANNA NICOLE SMITH
The late Anna Nicole Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on November 28, 1967, in Mexia, Texas. Smith's remarkable life began modestly in her little Texas town, where she dropped out of high school.
She had a traumatic childhood because she grew up without her father, who abandoned the family when she was only a toddler.
With the difficulties she experienced growing up, Smith had to embrace a life of hard work early on and learned how to fend for herself sooner than most of her peers.
Anna Nicole Smith receiving the Big Makeover Award during the VH1 Big in 2004 | Photo: Getty Images
Smith worked at a neighborhood fried chicken business as a youngster where she met her future husband Billy Smith, who worked as a cook. The duo fell in love and tied the knot. Smith was only 17-years-old at the time.
In 1984, the couple welcomed a son named Daniel before the marriage eventually fell apart. Dissatisfied with small-town life, Smith aspired to be the next big star of Hollywood, just like Marilyn Monroe.
Anna Nicole Smith at the 130th Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2004 in Louisville | Photo: Getty Images
Smith had a variety of professions before landing her big break as a Wal-Mart employee and a dancer. She worked at a strip club in Houston, leaving her son in the care of her mother, Virgie Arthur.
While working at a bar in 1991, the talented model met Texas Oil Tycoon J. Howard Marshall II. She married Marshall in 1994 when she was 26. Many were astonished by the age gap between the pair, and Smith was accused of merely wanting Marshall's large wealth.
Immediately after the wedding, the bride left for Greece without her groom, and the fact that they were not living together in Marshall's final days sparked more rumors. The controversial relationship ended when Marshall died in 1995.
Anna Nicole Smith at the Video Software Dealers Association Convention in Las Vegas in 1993 | Photo: Getty Images
Marshall allegedly offered Smith a piece of his inheritance before his demise, but unfortunately, he did not include her in his will. She, however, fought his son, E. Pierce Marshall, in court for years, hoping to reverse the will.
The case was brought forth to the United States Supreme Court in 2006. Fortunately for her, the court ruled that Smith would be allowed to collect money from her late husband's estate, albeit the case was still pending.
Anna Nicole Smith on the set of Kanye West's Video "Workout Plan" at North Hills Gym in North Hills, California | Photo: Getty Images
With her heart bent on success, Smith was willing to go the distance for her dreams. She posed for Hugh Hefner's popular adult magazine "Playboy" after mailing nude images of herself to the magazine in 1992.
Later that year, she appeared in advertising for the "Guess" fashion brand. Smith flaunted her amazing curves in print ads, looking eerily similar to her favorite icon, Marilyn Monroe.
The next year, Smith achieved a career milestone when she was chosen "Playmate of the Year" by Playboy magazine, joining a limited group of stunning women.
Model Anna Nicole Smith signs autographs at Grand Central Station to kick off the new National Enquirer magazine on April 7, 2005 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images
She used her popularity to acquire minor film roles. Smith starred alongside Tim Robbins and Paul Newman in the Leslie Nielsen comedy "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" and "The Hudsucker Proxy" in 1994.
Smith drew a lot of attention from celebrity magazines and tabloids because of her seductive looks. The public also appeared to have an insatiable curiosity for the ups and downs of this supposedly cheerful blonde's life.
However, the model appeared unconcerned about the media's criticism. According to the Washington Post, she once confessed that the paparazzi was one of her favorite things in the world. Since she did not have much attention as a kid, she enjoyed being seen.
Cocktail Party introducing Playboy's 1993 Playmate of the Year Anna Nicole Smith | Photo: Getty Images
In 2002, the new reality series "The Anna Nicole Show" gave fans an inside peek at Smith and the unique ways of everyday life.
The show was awkward to watch at times since Smith appeared confused. But the audience kept tuning, and despite ending in 2004, Smith's popularity remained unfazed in the United States.
Anna Nicole Smith during "G-Phoria - The Award Show 4 Gamers" in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images
LOSING HER SON
Smith appeared to be making waves in her career, but her personal life was filled with conflicting emotions. She became a mom for the second time on September 7, 2006, following the birth of her daughter Dannielynn.
Unfortunately, her joy was fleeting. Daniel, her 20-year-old son, died from a suspected drug overdose three days after his sister was born.
His death may have been caused by the mix of methadone and two other types of anti-depressants, according to later accounts. His death proved to be an irrecoverable loss for the model.
Grieving her son was one of the most difficult things the entertainer faced. The news was shown on different media platforms and was heartbreaking for the famous model to watch, but that was not the only saga she faced.
She was also involved in a paternity case involving her daughter. Photographer Larry Birkhead, her ex-boyfriend, claimed to be Dannielynn's father, but Smith wrote that her attorney, Howard K. Stern was the child's father in a legal document.
A DNA test ordered by a court proved that Birkhead was indeed the child's father. The photographer declared he was not willing to share custody of his child following Smith's sudden death.
Anna Nicole Smith and Howard Stern at the James Toney v Samuel Peter boxing match in 2007 in Hollywood, Florida | Photo: Getty Images
DEATH AND LEGAL BATTLES
Smith was found unconscious in her hotel room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, on February 8, 2007. She died at the age of 39 following an overdose.
The cause of the reality star's death was also a source of debate; investigators later revealed that it was an accidental drug overdose.
Smith had been on nine different medications in the days leading up to her death. Stern and two other people were later convicted of offenses related to her death.
American model, actress and television personality Anna Nicole Smith (1967 - 2007), circa 1990 | Photo: Getty Images
Prosecutors alleged that the three defendants conspired to supply Smith with a combination of painkillers, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety medicines. They claimed that the accused wrote and solicited prescriptions under various fictitious names.
Defense attorneys said that their clients loved Smith and would never harm her. They also said she took the medicines to help her sleep and manage her terrible pain.
Like Monroe, Smith's death left fans heartbroken, with some pointing that both stars died in similar circumstances. Regardless of her early death, Smith remains greatly loved by her fans.
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