Published February 12, 2007
Reports and photos published on the Web over the weekend that suggest Anna Nicole Smith was consuming methadone — one of the drugs that killed her 20-year-old son — in the days before her death drew a fiery response from her lover, Howard K. Stern, and his lawyer, who claimed the images were staged.
Meanwhile, a newspaper published two photographs on its front page Monday apparently showing Smith lying in bed fully clothed in an embrace with the Bahamian immigration minister, who approved her application for permanent residency.
Immigration Minister Shane Gibson has come under criticism from the political opposition for giving the former Guess jeans model special treatment in granting her residency in the Bahamas last year.
The residency application was based on Smith's alleged ownership of the waterfront mansion.
Two photographs published on the front page of The Tribune of Nassau show Smith and Gibson looking into each other's eyes with their faces only a couple inches apart while lying on a bed decorated with pink flowers and a white ribbon.
The newspaper said the photographs were taken in Smith's bedroom and that it obtained the pictures Sunday from an unidentified source.
Opposition leader Hubert Ingraham said he was looking into the matter.
"I'm making some inquiries," Ingraham told The Associated Press.
Pictures purportedly of Smith's open refrigerator in her house in the Bahamas, posted on TMZ.com, show a large bottle of methadone, several other prescription pill containers and several cans of Slim-Fast shakes.
Slim-Fast is a rival of TrimSpa, the weight-loss company that Smith represented.
But Stern's Bahamian lawyer, Wayne Munroe, accused the couple's landlord in the Bahamas of breaking into their house there and staging the photos, The New York Post reported.
Munroe even went to the police, making the photos — which also show a box of TrimSpa next to the mini fridge — the latest in a slew of legal battles that have been waged before and since Smith's death Thursday in Florida at the age of 39.
"They staged photos, such as putting TrimSpa and Slim-Fast in a refrigerator to slight her," Munroe told The Post. "It was like grave robbery ... I thought it was cute to put the Slim-Fast in the refrigerator. Sick is how I described the placing of the methadone."
Reports in Star magazine, on TMZ and elsewhere suggest the methadone was one of about 10 different prescription pill bottles found in the island residence.
Munroe said landlord G. Ben Thompson — who was once Smith's lover — orchestrated the break-in and photo shoot, and Stern has filed for a restraining order against Thompson and his associates, according to the Post.
Also stolen, according to Munroe: a computer and paintings and drawings of Smith, the Post reported.
Smith and Stern had moved in six months ago, and Smith was in a battle with Thompson over who rightfully owns the home.
Smith claimed Thompson gave it to her as a gift, but Thompson said that wasn't the case and is trying to reclaim the house. TMZ ran photos this weekend of a locksmith truck parked outside the Bahamas house and reported Thompson was having the locks changed.
Thompson's lawyer, Godfrey "Pro" Pinder, said the allegations of a break-in and theft by his client were false.
"No person who has any association with G. Ben Thompson has taken anything from the house," he told the Post. As for the staged-photos accusation, he said: "It's not true. It's a lie."
Stern scrambled on Monday to control dissemination of items he said were stolen from the mansion over the weekend before he returned from Florida, including images from a computer taken from the house.
Ron Rale, Stern's spokesman and Smith's lawyer, said in a statement Monday that anyone who disseminates any of the items without his prior written consent "will be held liable to the fullest extent of the law." Rale said police have recovered all the missing property.
All of Smith's personal items, including the birth certificate of her 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn, whose paternity is being disputed by three men, had been taken from the house, Rale said.
Stern, Dannielynn Reunite
Stern — who exchanged vows with the former Playboy Playmate and reality show star in a fall commitment ceremony and who planned to marry Smith this month, according to some reports — reclaimed Dannielynn this weekend from a friend who was watching her in the Bahamas.
Stern and the infant he claims is his biological daughter were still inside the house Sunday, Munroe told the Post.
Stern's lawyer also criticized Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur , who was seen driving around the home with a crew for "Good Morning America."
Arthur has apparently teamed up with Smith's ex-boyfriend, photographer Larry Birkhead — who is battling Stern in a California paternity suit over custody of the baby girl.
The husband of 90-year-old actress Zsa Zsa Gabor has also claimed he could be Dannielynn's father. Prince Frederic von Anhalt, 59, told the Associated Press he plans to file a paternity challenge in court this week to gain custody of Smith's infant daughter.
"I'm going to make the DNA test," he said. "If the court rules in my favor, I will go to the Bahamas and pick up the child."
Another man, Alex Denk, has also claimed to be Smith’s former lover. Denk was Smith’s bodyguard, who met her when he was cast as the chef on her E! reality show. He claims the two had an intimate relationship for two years.
“She always told me she wanted to have kids with me,” he told the television show "Extra."
As to whether or not there was a possibility he was Dannielynn's father, Denk said, “There’s always a possibility."
A Los Angeles judge on Friday ordered that the Smith's body be preserved for at least 10 days for a possible DNA test related to the paternity dispute over the little girl. The judge refused to order the DNA test be carried out immediately. The ruling could interfere with plans for a funeral.
Stern said he is trying to keep Smith's mother, who traveled from the United States and went to the gates of the mansion on Sunday, from seeing the child.
"She just despised that woman," Stern told "Entertainment Tonight." "As long as I have one breath left in my body that woman will not see Dannielynn."
Arthur told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she fears for Dannielynn's safety, pointing out that Stern has been present when Smith's son, Daniel Smith, died under mysterious circumstances in a Bahamas hospital room while visiting his mother days after the baby was born.
A coroner hired by Smith's family said Daniel died in September from a lethal combination of drugs, including methadone. An inquest into his death is scheduled to begin March 27.
Smith had been waging a years-long court battle at her death over the estate of her oil-mogul husband, J. Howard Marshall II — who died in 1995 at age 90.
A federal court in California awarded Smith $474 million, but that was later overturned. But in May, the U.S. Supreme Court revived her case, ruling that she deserved another day in court.
Experts say the decision of who receives custody could determine the child's inheritance.
FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans, The New York Post and The Associated Press contributed to this report.