Anna Nicole Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 28, 1967.
Shortly after her family moved to Mexia, Texas, but her father left the family, forcing Smith to be raised by her mother and an aunt.
As a teenager, she worked at a fried chicken restaurant and married Billy Smith at age 17 in 1985. The same year she had a son, Daniel Smith, but then divorced Billy Smith in 1987.
Anna Nicole Smith worked a string of minimum-wage jobs before turning to stripping. She met oil mogul J. Howard Marshall II in 1991 in Houston at a nightclub, where he was a frequent patron and she worked as an exotic dancer. She called herself Nikki, Robin and Anna Nicole.
Marshall subsequently paid for her breast enhancement, photographers, publicists, bodyguards, agents, attorneys and various other staff to enhance her career.
According to imdb.com, an ad for H&M featuring Smith caused several car accidents in major European cities in 1994.
Smith married Marshall, 63 years older than she, on June 27, 1994. She was 26 when he was 89. The age difference sparked criticism and speculation, but Smith defended her marriage.
She claimed to be very close to the aging billionaire and that while they loved each other, they married for companionship and his desire to support her rather than the conventional husband and wife lifestyle.
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According to Wikipedia, nurses for Marshall claimed she didn’t live with him and did not visit him when his condition became terminal.
When he died on Aug. 4, 1995, Smith's fight with his son E. Pierce Marshall began for her share of the inheritance. She was accompanied by Marshall's other son, whom he’d disowned.
James Howard Marshall III claimed his father verbally promised him a portion of his estate, and Smith made a similar claim saying Marshall promised her half his $1.6 billion estate if she would marry him.
J. Howard III and Smith were apparently left out of the will, which had been updated weeks after her marriage, causing the legal battle.
She was awarded $450 million by a Los Angeles bankruptcy court in 2000, which was reversed on appeal after Pierce challenged it. She was then ordered to give that back and pay $1 million, including legal fees to Pierce.
In 2002, she was awarded $88 million, but that was reversed on appeal in 2004 when the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals deemed her not one of Marshall's heirs. The Supreme Court decided in 2005 to hear her appeal of that decision.
Her case reached the Supreme Court in February 2006 on the issue of the right of a federal judge to intervene in a state probate case.
Smith won unanimously in a 9-0 vote announced May 1, 2006. She has not won her share of the estate entirely, but rather has won the right to fight for it in federal court per the majority opinion written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The case is Marshall v. Marshall, 04-1544.
E. Pierce Marshall, however, died suddenly at the age of 67 due to an unspecified infection on June 20, 2006. The family has stated that they will continue to fight Smith's claims to the fortune.
Other than small roles in movies like "Naked Gun 33 1/3," Smith has appeared mostly in soft-core porn movies. In 2002, E! Entertainment television gave Smith her own reality show called "The Anna Nicole Show" in the spirit of "The Osbournes."
Her show began to tank in the ratings but retained a cult following, especially due to her arguments with interior designer “Bobby Trendy” and the humor derived from her dog Sugar Pie’s tendency to make sexual advances toward stuffed animals.
"The Anna Nicole Show" was canceled in February 2004 but lives on in reruns.
Smith’s weight went up and down, going from a reported 140 pounds in 1992 to 224 pounds in 1996 to 138 pounds in 1997 back to more than 200 pounds in 2002 during her reality show and then back down in 2005 to her early 1990s weight.
In October 2003, Smith became the spokeswoman for TrimSpa weight-loss pills, coining the phrase, “TrimSpa, baby.” She lost almost 80 pounds and re-emerged into the world of modeling.
Smith's cycle of weight gain/weight loss, legal woes, rumored drug use, tacky taste, blunt speech and dimwittedness contributed to her fame, as did several red carpet antics involving nudity.
Smith appeared in PETA campaign ads against fur, seal slaughtering and against the pet food brand Iams that the organization had deemed cruel to animals.
On June 1, 2006, Smith announced on her Web site that she was five months pregnant. The father was not named but was rumored to be photographer Larry Birkhead.
Smith gave birth to a baby girl, later named Dannielynn Hope, on Sept. 7, 2006, in a hospital in the Bahamas. Only three days later, Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel, died suddenly while visiting his mother at the hospital.
A U.S.-based pathologist who conducted a private autopsy said Daniel Smith died from an accidental lethal combination of methadone and two antidepressant drugs.
A formal inquiry into the death was set for March 27, 2007, in the Bahamas.
Anna Nicole Smith's attorney and companion, Howard K. Stern, claimed he was the father of her baby girl; however, Birkhead says he is the father and filed a lawsuit demanding paternity testing.
Smith and Stern exchanged vows in a non-marriage "commitment ceremony" 18 days after the death of her son.
In December 2006, a court ruled that Birkhead's suit could go forward. In January 2007, a judge set a deadline of Jan. 23 for the paternity test on Smith's daughter.
Then, another judge temporarily blocked the order.
Smith's lawyer questioned the legality of the test, saying authorities in the Bahamas needed to grant work permits before an American doctor could conduct it.
The judge granted a stay pending a hearing that was supposed to take place in mid-February.
Birkhead's attorney, Debra Opri, called the request "a delay tactic."
Also in January, allegations surfaced that Stern had given Daniel Smith some of the drugs that contributed to his sudden death.
A purported witness claimed Stern gave Daniel methadone and then tried to hide his actions by flushing the remaining drugs down the toilet. The witness, among others, is scheduled to testify at the upcoming jury inquest.
Smith and TrimSpa Inc. were sued on Feb. 1, 2007, in Los Angeles Superior Court, in a class-action lawsuit alleging the marketing of their weight-loss pill was false or misleading.
On Feb. 8, 2007, Smith died after collapsing at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
Smith was unresponsive and immediately rushed to a hospital, where she did not respond to CPR, said her attorney, Ron Rale.
After Smith's death, several different men came forward to argue that they are the father of Smith's baby.
Birkhead and Stern maintained their stances that they are the father, and Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, Prince Frederick von Anhalt, claimed he had a decade-long affair with Smith and requested a paternity test.
Smith's former bodyguard Alexander Denk also said he could possibly be the baby's father.
Then, a major battle ensued over who was going to take custody of Smith's body and determine her burial site, with her estranged mother and Stern vying for control.
Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, argued that she should take custody and bury Smith in her Texas hometown, while Stern wanted to bury Smith in the Bahamas beside her son, Daniel.
Florida Judge Larry Seidlin presided over the case, which many described as a media circus. After several days of testimony, Seidin ruled that Smith's body was to be turned over to her baby daughter's court-appointed guardian, lawyer Richard Milstein.
Seidlin added that Smith's wish was to be buried in the Bahamas next to her son, and that should be her resting place.
Smith's mother initially planned to contest the ruling but quickly dropped her bid.
Smith was laid to rest in the Bahamas on March 2, 2007, with a crowd of about 100 mourners. Her mahogany casket was covered with a pink, rhinestone-studded blanket decorated with ribbons and feathers.
A custom-made gown was reportedly designed for Smith, but the casket remained closed during the service.
Smith's cause of death still has not been publicly released. Medical examiner Dr. Joshua Perper said on March 9 that police asked him to delay the announcement of his autopsy findings due to new evidence they obtained about her death.
After the funeral, the battle for custody of Dannielynn continued unabated. On March 13, Birkhead appealed to a California judge for a motion forcing Stern to submit to a paternity test.
The judge refused to make a ruling but said he would review the matter in two weeks after considering the law more closely.
A court in the Bahamas, where Dannielynn is residing with Stern, was reviewing the custody case.