Published February 13, 2007
This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," February 12, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Good evening. And tonight, never-before-seen photos. Anna Nicole Smith's secret world behind closed doors, inside the Bahamas house where she lived, even inside her baby's room. These stunning photos were taken on Friday, just one day after her sudden death. You won't see these photos anywhere else tonight.
The photos belong to Ford and Gina Shelly. The Shellys were very close to Anna Nicole. Gina's father, Ben, dated her. Ben owns the Bahamas home where Anna Nicole lived. They've all spent a great deal of time with Anna Nicole and her son Daniel. They rushed to Anna's side in the Bahamas the day after Daniel died.
Joining us Ford and Gina Shelly. Welcome to both of you.
Gina, first you. Do you remember when you first met Anna?
GINA SHELLY, FRIEND OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH: Yes, it was summer of '05. I actually went to the Hard Rock in Hollywood to meet her. And then two days later she joined us in the Key's house and stayed a week with us there.
VAN SUSTEREN: When you went to meet her, is that because your father at that time, Ben Thompson, was dating her?
G. SHELLY: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know where your father met her?
G. SHELLY: Yes, he met her in Myrtle Beach. She was visiting some neighbors in Myrtle Beach, and he met her there.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was your first impression of Anna Nicole?
SHELLY: Actually she was a little afraid to meet me because she was dating my father. And my first impression of her was she's not what you see on TV. She's a real person. And what she was portraying on TV was totally different from what I had met.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ford, let me jump ahead to last summer. Gina's father, Ben, and you helped out Anna Nicole by purchasing a house in the Bahamas. Explain this purchase.
FORD SHELLY, FRIEND OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH: Anna had called, and she was pregnant. She called in May. And stated that she needed to get away, the press was all over. She was not feeling well. She was sick. So she asked would we come pick her up. So I talked with Ben, and we decided to go pick her up and bring her back to Myrtle Beach. So of course we flew and picked her up, and we brought her to one of our beach houses in Myrtle Beach.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me back up for one second — she was no longer at this point dating, Ben, is that right? When had that relationship ended about?
F. SHELLY: Ben and Anna became, I guess you would say, better friends than they did boyfriend and girlfriend. They were good friends. She relied on him and valued his opinion of things.
VAN SUSTEREN: But as of about, let's say, January of 2006, they were not boyfriend/girlfriend or December of 2005? It has pretty much been over at that point?
F. SHELLY: When she left our house in January, yes, ma'am.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So you went and picked her up, brought her back to Myrtle Beach last summer, then what happened?
F. SHELLY: We discussed her pregnancy, what her intentions were, helped facilitate the move to the Bahamas.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why was she going to the Bahamas? Why there and not someplace else?
F. SHELLY: Well, she wanted to be in Myrtle Beach if she could. But she wanted to find out what the laws were as far as child — a child being born to an unwed mother. She had some concerns about that. And she found out that the laws were basically the same as California, and we were looking at a house in the Bahamas, and I mentioned that to her, and she spoke with the attorneys down there and found out, hey, she said that I would like to be there. I love the Bahamas. So we helped facilitate that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Gina, last summer before the baby was born, did she ever while she was in Myrtle Beach, ever discuss who father of the baby was with you.
G. SHELLY: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who did she say last summer was the father?
G. SHELLY: Larry Birkhead.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did she ever mention Howard K. Stern as the father?
G. SHELLY: Never.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was Howard K. Stern with her last summer in Myrtle Beach?
G. SHELLY: No. Actually Ford flew to California and brought her back by herself, and I stayed with her for probably like two and a half, three weeks. And at that time, Howard was not with her. She was the true Anna. We had a wonderful time. She spent a lot of time with our children. And my brother and his wife and their children went and stayed with her when me and Ford had to go out of town one weekend. And, no, she was perfectly fine until Howard came.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did she say at that time that she wanted to deny Larry the right to be father or anything, mention anything at all about a dispute with Larry?
G. SHELLY: Yes. They had gotten in an argument, and she told me all about the argument. And at that time she just decided that I'm leaving, I don't want to deal with this anymore, and I'm going to get somewhere and have this baby.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was the argument she had with Larry?
G. SHELLY: Over a pair sunglasses.
VAN SUSTEREN: And that was it?
G. SHELLY: It was over a pair of sunglasses.
VAN SUSTEREN: So, Ford, a house was purchased by Ben, your father-in- law. Any mortgage on that house?
F. SHELLY: No, ma'am.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is that the house that she was last living in?
F. SHELLY: Yes, ma'am.
VAN SUSTEREN: Called The Horizons?
F. SHELLY: Yes, ma'am, it is.
VAN SUSTEREN: What — we can actually — we actually have pictures of that house. It's quite a magnificent house.
F. SHELLY: Yes, ma'am, it is.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was the plan? Was the plan for her to rent did to or purchase it from Ben? What was the plan?
F. SHELLY: Anna, of course, didn't see the house. Until she moved in it, she never laid eyes on it. And she wanted to customize the home to her standards. But we had to help facilitate to get her into something pretty quickly. So, the plan was to finance it for her. She was working on a couple of deals to be able to pay us back for the house. She asked us for our help, and we, of course, agreed to help her. We just wanted her to sign a mortgage to the effect that we loaned her the money and she could pay us back. And what we said at first was that she could pay us back, because she expected to get some money pretty soon. So we had an understanding about the house.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did she ever sign mortgage papers to you?
F. SHELLY: No. Anna, on numerous occasions, when she to my wife and I, or Gaither and Melanie, she said I promise, she said, I will pay, she said I will sign whatever; you don't know how much I appreciate you. She was part of our family. She loved us and we loved Anna.
VAN SUSTEREN: So to short circuit, in the fall, all you wanted her to do was acknowledge she was living in Ben's house. You wanted her to sign a mortgage like any?
F. SHELLY: We didn't want her to acknowledge that was she living in Ben's house.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, but I mean, Ben owned the house.
F. SHELLY: We didn't want her to acknowledge to the public that that was the case. We wanted to maintain her privacy. And I think that's what shocked people, because everyone thought, she's a celebrity, she has plenty of money, why does she need someone else's? Well, Anna didn't have any money at that time. Anna in an e-mail stated she was pretty much broke, she didn't have any money, that basically the check she was getting for us from Trimspa, who she thought of Alex and his wife, and I think she did a great job for them.
But she didn't have the money. We weren't going to tell that she didn't have money until she was told not to sign the note and mortgage.
Now, Anna in numerous e-mails, numerous e-mails that we have, corresponds back and forth, she says I'll start making payments. I'll pay the payment; you know, whatever you want me to do, I'll do. She agreed to do it. And every time we'd go and say, OK, let's get this done sop we can finalize it, it was like she was being instructed not to do it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Where was Howard in all of this?
F. SHELLY: Howard was back and forth in California, because he was working on the case. That's one of the reasons I went and picked her up, is because she wanted to get away. But Howard had to stay behind to work on her case with the Supreme Court.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did she ever say to you hot father of that child was?
F. SHELLY: She did. She told us who the father of the child was. She thought it was either Ben or Larry. And in several e-mails that she sent us she made that reference. You know, we told her early on that Ben had had a vasectomy, but when she was adamant about saying, no, I made sure it was Ben's baby, it was Ben's baby, we didn't argue with Anna. You know, we didn't. At the time, whenever it would happen, when the baby was born, we would cross that bridge when we came to it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Gina, in the fall of last year, what was sort of your impression of Howard K. Stern and Anna's relationship?
G. SHELLY: When we went to the Bahamas when the baby was born?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes.
G. SHELLY: He was her attorney.
VAN SUSTEREN: Not a boyfriend or father?
G. SHELLY: Never.
VAN SUSTEREN: Never occurred to you?
G. SHELLY: Never.
VAN SUSTEREN: When is the first time that you heard that he was claiming paternity?
G. SHELLY: Through TV. I mean, we went over there. When we got the call that the babe was born, went to the hospital, she introduced the baby as my sister when I walked in the door. And never, never even said Howard was anywhere near the baby's father.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ford, fast forward to the day after Anna Nicole died. There was still the lingering issue of, you know — there still remains the lingering issue, why she died, but also the whole business of the paternity, as well as the house. You went to the Bahamas, is that right?
F. SHELLY: Well, actually when we got the news that the Anna had collapsed, my sister came in and told me. I immediately called my family, and I told them. And when I got home, when I was pulling up in the driveway, I got confirmation, actually a friend of ours from Los Angeles that was in — she was in Los Angeles, had received a phone call that Anna had died.
And we were going to be with Anna if she'd collapsed and be a friend. And then we found out she died, we said we're going on down and see what's going on.
Now, when we got to Florida, we checked in and, of course, we made some contacts. We had friends of ours that were in the Bahamas. The next day, we got there the day Anna died. The next morning we got a phone call stating that they were moving furniture out of the house. So I called a couple of friends of ours, attorneys over there that work for us, had them go and check and see. They said there was a truck that was backed to the house and they were taking the baby's furniture out. Well, I knew that Danny Lynn, as far as I knew, was the next of kin, and the only thing that she had left other than her mother. And I knew she was estranged from her mother. And I knew that Howard and she weren't married, and I knew Howard would be there, and I knew Howard would be distraught.
I called our attorney and our attorney informed us that we needed to get down there. Well, I made a phone call to a magistrate, and told the magistrate said, what can we do? Can we secure the house, because I don't want people going through it. They're moving stuff out. Howard's here. What do we do?
F. SHELLY: So Tracy Ferguson with Calendar (ph) and Co.
VAN SUSTEREN: A lawyer.
F. SHELLY: She's a lawyer. She does not represent us in this case, but she's a friend of ours, and they had retained the deed to the house. I called her, and I said, Tracy, I said, I'm going to need the deed to the house. I have been given permission to go in. She said, well, before you do that, let me make a couple of calls.
So we flew on into the Bahamas, and when I got there, I called Tracy, and called our another attorney, which she was not our attorney in this matter, but I called our other attorney and Tracy, because she had the deed. Tracy informed me she was going to talk with Ms. Thompson, who was the judge that signed the order, which we didn't have any knowledge of, because it was never served upon us. They did it ex parte, I think is what they call it. They went in and got an immediate order that we could not disrupt the enjoyment or electricity, distribute electricity to the house.
VAN SUSTEREN: That was last November.
F. SHELLY: No, ma'am. This was...
VAN SUSTEREN: The order?
F. SHELLY: This order was done the 21st of November, and this was the first time we heard about it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Right. But it was done in November, the order, but you just heard about it then?
F. SHELLY: Yes, ma'am.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.
F. SHELLY: Before we went to the property, Tracy Ferguson went to Ms. Thompson's home, and Ms. Thompson said that the order clearly states that you can't disrupt the environment of the plaintiff. Well, the plaintiff was no longer here. She had deceased. We were concerned, because we have a vested interest in the property. We paid for it, so we wanted to secure it, because Howard wasn't there. So we got permission and we went to the house, called the locksmith. Tracy Ferguson met us there. There was one other person there, and me, my wife, my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law went to the house, and we called the locksmith, and we immediately started changing the locks, not to keep Howard, not to keep anybody who had the authority to come to that home — we were protecting her stuff. We did take pictures when we went in the home, and the refrigerator door was open when we got there.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let's show the picture of the refrigerator door. I think we've got the refrigerator picture put up for the viewers, because that might provide at least one clue.
That's the refrigerator? That's the picture you took.
F. SHELLY: Yes, ma'am.
VAN SUSTEREN: And that was taken on Friday, the day after she died?
F. SHELLY: Yes, ma'am.
VAN SUSTEREN: And had Howard been in the house at that point?
F. SHELLY: No, ma'am. But the reason that picture was answer, this picture was not taken to shown anything in the refrigerator other than the fact we knew Daniel had died from what they called just a concoction of medication. If anyone would have said, or Anna's cause of death would have been by methadone or anything like that, she had been gone since Monday. Methadone was in the refrigerator. Anna was on methadone to help her, and we knew that because of course I transported her from Los Angeles to Myrtle Beach in May, and they give you strict instructions in the bag of all of her medications.
I wanted to show not that there was methadone there and looking what she's taking — if she died of an overdose of methadone, she — her methadone was at home.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why'd she leave it behind? Unless she took other stuff with her, but they claim that they found they found no at least illegal drugs in the room.
F. SHELLY: Anna has never, in as long as we have never her, ever done illegal drugs. That was done just to show that her methadone was at the house. Now, the name on that methadone was "Michelle Chase."
VAN SUSTEREN: Who is Michelle Chase?
F. SHELLY: That is a name that Anna used for her prescriptions, because Anna told us when she was in town there was a place called Key Pharmacy that she got her prescriptions filled.
VAN SUSTEREN: In California?
F. SHELLY: In California.
And the doctor who prescribed those pills to her, who she told us who the doctor was. But we wanted to make sure that if something happened to Anna that was methadone related, her methadone was there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why was she on methadone? Was she addicted to heroin, or was it pain management? What was the point of the heroin, or was it abuse?
F. SHELLY: I don't think that Anna was addicted. I don't know. I've never seen Anna take heroin, OK? Anna, I think, was trying to recover from an addiction, is what I was told, but we didn't question Anna about it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Gina, the impact of Anna Nicole on your family, how do you describe it?
G. SHELLY: We learned that Anna on the inside not what people saw on the outside on TV. And she became very close to our children. She was an awesome mom. Daniel and her spent six weeks last year at my home, them came back in the summer. And she was not what people see her on TV.
VAN SUSTEREN: You liked her?
G. SHELLY: Yes, I loved her. I mean, she was like family.
VAN SUSTEREN: You, too?
F. SHELLY: Yes, ma'am.
But one of the things — and I guess the general public doesn't understand — our dispute came with Anna not because of anything that Anna did to us, OK? I know that Howard advised her. I know that she did exactly what Howard said to do. Howard would correct her from time to time. But every e-mail she sent us, and she sent a lot of e-mails, because I can promise you, as her friend and attorney, he — her admitting to starting to make payments, she'll make the payments soon, she's working on getting the money. Even Howard's own admission in the e-mail saying they had to sign a mortgage on the house. It was never a gift.
That wasn't Anna. Anna was a good person. And we didn't attack Anna. We were upset that she didn't stand up to Howard and say, no, Howard, you're not doing this to these people who have been good to me and my family.
And, Howard, I think Howard is the one who advised her not to sign anything, because every e-mail we got from her, she clearly stated I will sign and do whatever. And we feel bad about that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Gina, what do you think of Howard K. Stern?
G. SHELLY: Well, I just tell you that the time I sit with Anna alone or with family, with Howard not with her, she was awesome. I mean, she was totally different. When Howard flew in, within a few hours, Anna was not Anna. And basically had to get permission even to go in the room and be with her.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, both of you will join us tomorrow night from South Carolina. So we'll find out a lot more, because you certainly know a lot about Anna.
And appreciate you joining us. We'll see you tomorrow night from South Carolina.
G. SHELLY: Thank you.
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