When Anna Nicole Smith overdosed on prescription pills a decade ago, she left behind a 5-month-old daughter and a tangled web of custodial and financial connections the gossip magazines were eager to unravel.
Smith’s death at 39 at the Hard Rock near Hollywood left the question of her young daughter’s paternity in the air. The name on Dannielynn’s birth certificate was Howard K. Stern, Smith’s lawyer, agent and companion. But days before her death, a judge ordered Smith to undergo a DNA test to identify the father.
The man who sued for paternity — Larry Birkhead — turned out to be Dannielynn’s real father. The former celebrity photographer now has full custody of the 10-year-old fifth-grader. They live together in Kentucky.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Shortly after Smith died on Feb 8, 2007, a third man (falsely) claimed he was Dannielynn’s father: Prince Frederick von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Smith was a Playboy model who, at 26, married J. Howard Marshall, an oil tycoon 63 years her senior. The 89-year-old man died 14 months after the couple married, sparking a contentious law battle over his billion dollar inheritance. Smith argued that although he didn’t include her in his will, Marshall intended to provide for her. Her stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, called her a “golddigger.”
Smith initially won a $474 million judgment, but after more than a decade of bitter arguing, a court ruled in 2014 that Dannielynn is not eligible to inherit anything from the Marshall estate, Forbes reported.
Her 20-year-old son, Daniel, died of an overdose three days after Smith gave birth to her daughter. In a recent interview with the Sirius XM radio show, “Conversations with Maria Menounos,” Smith’s friend Margaret Cho said Smith held her son for four hours after he died before she was pried off.
“There’s lot of things going down in that story. So it has to do with some postpartum depression, some overwhelming guilt that her son had died. They both had an issue with prescription painkillers and different drugs like that,” Cho said. “I think that her grief was overwhelming.”
At the time of her death, Smith had been taking 44 different medications, inclduing Klonopin, Valium and the sedative chloral hydrate, People reported.
In September, Stern was charged with a slew of felonies related to Smith’s death. Stern, along with Smith’s psychiatrist, Khristine Eroshevich, and her internist, Dr.Sandeep Kapoor, face charges of obtaining fraudulent prescriptions and dispensing controlled substances to an addict. He pleaded not guilty.