- Anna Nicole Smith was best known as a model, actress, and television personality.
- She was not married at the time of her death in 2007.
- She was previously married twice and had dated the father of her daughter.
- Anna Nicole’s surviving child, Dannielynn Birkhead, has occasionally appeared in the spotlight after her mom’s death at the age of 39.
Anna Nicole Smith had a busy career up until her tragic death of “combined drug intoxication” at the age of 39 in 2007. The model and actress also led an active romantic life that always seemed to be in the spotlight. She was married twice in her lifetime and was also involved in various high-profile relationships, including the one with the father of her only surviving child, Dannielynn Birkhead, 16.
Find out more about her marriages and the romance that led to the birth of her daughter below.
Anna Nicole’s first husband was Billy Smith. She and the cook first met while working at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken in Mexia, TX in what is believed to be the 1980s, before she was in the public eye. The couple dated and went on to get married in Apr. 1985, when she was sixteen and he was seventeen. Less than one year later, they welcomed their son Daniel Wayne Smith, who ended up tragically passing away of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 20 in 2006. Anna Nicole and Billy separated in 1987 and divorced in 1993.
J. Howard Marshall
J. Howard Marshall was Anna Nicole’s second husband. She met the billionaire businessman in 1991, the year before she stepped into the spotlight, when she was 23 and he was 86. Their meeting took place when she was performing at a Houston, TX strip club and they soon started an affair together. It became the subject of controversy due to their age difference and the reports that he would lavish her with expensive gifts and ask her to marry him more than once. They ended up getting married in June 1994, after being romantically involved for two years.
Although there was a lot of speculation that Anna Nicole married J. Howard for his money, she publicly stated that she loved him and didn’t care about his older age. After just over a year of being married, J. Howard died at the age of 90. Although Anna Nicole wasn’t officially listed in his will, she claimed that in return for marriage, he verbally promised her half of his estate, which included a 16% interest in Koch Industries, worth $1.6 billion at the time. The late Pennsylvania native’s stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, disputed her claim, and his other son, J. Howard Marshall III, who was disowned by his father for trying to take over Koch Industries, also claimed that he verbally promised him a portion of his estate, even though his name was also left out of the will.
The claims of J. Howard’s estate led to years of court hearings, rulings, appeals, and more. Some of which took place even after the deaths of E. Pierce in 2006 and Anna Nicole in 2007. Anna Nicole was initially awarded $475 million from J. Howard’s estate by a bankruptcy court in California, but in 2002, it was reduced to $88 million by a different federal court. The battle continued on after E. Pierce went on to appeal the decision. In 2010, two years after E. Pierce’s death and three years after Anna Nicole’s death, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of E. Pierce’s family, which left the blonde beauty’s daughter Dannielynn, with nothing, per Reuters.
Anna Nicole and Larry Birkhead, who was a celebrity photographer, met at the Kentucky Derby in 2004 and began a secret relationship. “No one ever knew one time that I was her boyfriend,” Larry said in a 20/20 special, years later in 2017. “The whole time we dated, if you look at all the videos, I’m in the back carrying my camera bag … she didn’t want me in the spotlight.”
A couple of years later, Larry claimed that Anna Nicole got pregnant during their romance, and five months into the pregnancy, they got into an argument and she left him to go to the Bahamas. When she gave birth to her daughter Dannielynn in Sept. 2006, she listed her then partner, attorney Howard K. Stern, as the father on the birth certificate, and not Larry. Larry brought on a lawsuit to prove he was the father of Dannielynn and after a DNA test, it was confirmed he was indeed the biological father.
After Anna Nicole’s death in 2007, Larry won full custody of Dannielynn, who was named after her late brother Daniel, and has raised her mostly out of the spotlight. The father and daughter usually still show up to the Kentucky Derby every year and pose for sweet photos together. As she continues to grow as a teenager, many have commented on how much she looks like her late mother. In 2023, Dannielynn paid tribute to her mom by wearing a dress with photos of her all over it.