• Justine McLellan

Anna Nicole Smith, Patron Saint of Gold Diggers

Anna Nicole Smith was born in Texas in 1967. She dropped out of high school during her sophomore year, and worked in a fried chicken joint, Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken, where she met her first husband, a cook at the restaurant. The pair had a son, Daniel. She later started dancing in a strip club, Gigi’s, where she met 86 year old oil tycoon billionaire J. Howard Marshall in 1991. The day after meeting him, Smith had lunch with Marshall. When she complained that she had to leave to do her shift at the club, Marshall gave her 1000$ and told her:

“Don’t go to work, my Lady Love. You don’t have to ever go back to work.”

After seeing Marshall for some time, Smith divorced her first husband. Her new sugar daddy bought her a red convertible, took her on a 2 million dollars jewel shopping spree, gave her the numbers to his credit cards so she could have free access to his wealth. He rented her Marilyn Monroe’s bungalow in L.A., bought her many properties, and helped her form a company. He repeatedly proposed to her, promising to give her the bulk of his his fortune when he died. Smith dated other people while seeing Marshall, who was ok with it as long as she prioritized him. Smith, who was bisexual, had relations with other men, as well as an on an off again relationship with a woman, Sandi Powledge, who described her as “just hungry for love, hungry for approval, just like a bucket with a hole in the bottom.”

Smith’s modeling career took off; she was the 1992 Playmate of the year, she replaced Claudia Schiffer as the face of the Guess? brand, and took part in an H&M lingerie ad campaign that caused somewhat of a scandal when the ads led drivers to run off the road at the sight of the scantily clad Smith.

Marshall kept proposing to Smith, to which she kept responding that she wanted to focus on her career because she wanted to make sure she would be able to be financially independent for herself and her son. At Christmas, he gave her a $107,000 diamond ring, and she gifted him two life-sized naked pictures of herself.

1994, Smith finally relented and accepted Marshall’s proposal to marry him. Their wedding took place at the White Dove Wedding Chapel. Shortly after the vows, Smith left for a photo shoot.

It is rumoured that Smith never moved in with her billionaire husband, that she never had sex with him, and that she only kissed him on the mouth a total of ten times. She wrote in her diary: “I hate for men to want sex all the time. I hate sex anyway.”

Thirteen months after marrying Smith, Marshall died and left his wife nothing in his will. She contested the will, which led to a complicated trial. She was then sued by a former nanny who claimed that Smith had “plied her with drugs and alcohol to have sex with her, threatening to fire and deport her if she did not oblige”. Smith responded that it was the nanny who had taken advantage of her, but the judge ruled in the nanny’s favor, and Smith was ordered to pay 800 000$ of damages. Having been cut out of Marshall’s will whilst not cutting down on her lavish expenses, as well as the court-ordered damages payments led Smith to file for bankruptcy. She overdosed on pills, and was sent to the Betty Ford center to recuperate.

In 2000, the courts judged that Smith was entitled to $449.7 million from her late husband, then reduced it to $ 88 million.

She starred in a reality TV show,The Anna Nicole Smith Show, which became the most watched show in E!’s history at the time. She also dabbled in acting, playing in The Hudsucker Proxy, Naked Gun, The Final Insult, and Illegal Aliens.

Shortly after she have birth to her second child, Dannielyn, Smith’s son Daniel, 20, died in her hospital room at the maternity ward of an accidental overdose of Lexapro, Zoloft, and Methadone. Five months later, Anna Nicole Smith was found dead in a hotel room in Florida. She was killed, like her son, by a combination of prescription drugs.


Dan P. Lee's "Paw Paw & Lady Love: Has the Supreme Court ever heard such a peculiarly American story as that of Anna Nicole Smith? And they didn’t know the half of it."

©2019 by Kaytlin Bailey and Justine McLellan.