SHE made global headlines for marrying 89-year-old billionaire oil tycoon J Howard Marshall in 1994 and pursuing his fortune through the courts after his death 13 months later.
But Anna Nicole Smith’s quest for fame and fortune led to addiction, the tragic death of her 20-year-old son just three days after the birth of her daughter — and, ultimately, her own fatal overdose at the age of 39.
The model’s battle with drugs turned her into a “manipulative, egotistical monster” who used Marshall “like an ATM” and invented an abusive childhood because “sad stories make money”, according to a new Netflix documentary.
Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me features interviews with her family, friends and employees, plus archive footage from her late mum Virgie.
Best friend Missy, who met Anna in the strip club where they both worked, claims the pair were having a secret affair when they shared a huge house Marshall bought for the star.
“I was her first female lover,” she says. “I was really in love with her.”
But Missy says Anna’s pursuit of money and drugs changed her into a “selfish” person with “no compassion”.
The film begins with footage of Anna saying: “I would advise people to follow their dreams. They can come true — I’m living proof.”
But the all-American story of rags to riches that consumed the blonde bombshell also led to her rejecting her family, losing her friends and, ultimately, her life.
Shaking with fear
Born Vickie Lynn Hogan in the small Bible-belt town of Mexia, Texas, she was raised by her police officer mum and stepdad.
She would later claim her mum was a tyrant, and she was subjected to “beatings, whippings and rape” throughout her childhood.
In archive footage, Anna also reveals: “I wasn’t very popular in high school, although I was flat-chested. Now I have curves.”
But uncle George Beal recalls her practising her cheerleader moves in the front garden of their modest home, “waving at the boys going by, trying to get their attention”.
Mum Virgie adds: “She loved being the centre of attention. We would go to the mall and there would be 50 men and boys walking behind us.”
At 17, she married local lad Billy Wayne Smith, 16, but she claimed he was “jealous” and locked her in their home while he went out to work.
She fled the marriage when son Daniel, born in 1986, was six months old, moving to Houston and auditioning at the strip club where Missy says millionaires would tuck hundreds of dollars into the girls’ thongs.
She recalls: “In walks this gorgeous girl, and one of the girls said, ‘God, she’s good-looking, but they’re gonna eat her alive’.
“Anna was very naive. They hired her but she couldn’t dance. She was like an emu trying to fly.”
Missy took the newcomer under her wing, but says: “Nobody needed to give her any pointers on how to attract a man. She knew what she was doing.
“Right off the bat she was making a lot of money.”
After Missy revealed her own abusive background, Anna claimed Virgie would “handcuff her to the bed for days and beat her mercilessly”.
Missy adds: “She told me she was going to be a famous model. She was convinced the only thing holding her back was her boobs.”
Anna — by then calling herself Nicki — saved up and paid for a boob job.
But it left her in pain, and she took prescription drugs including Valium.
It was in the strip club that the then 24-year-old first danced with widower and oil billionaire J Howard Marshall, then 86, in 1991.
He began to lavish her with expensive gifts — including a six-bedroom mansion with stables, a basketball court, pool and a guest house.
For two years he begged her to marry him but she refused, saying she wanted to make her name first to prevent “people calling me a gold-digger”.
She finally found fame when Playboy picture editor Marilyn Grabowski invited her to do a photoshoot in LA.
But during the shoot, she found the model sitting in the corner, shaking with fear and wrapped in a sheet.
An obsessive Marilyn Monroe fan, Anna had brought along a record of Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.
Marilyn Grabowski says: “I put that music on and all of a sudden she changed. She was a different person.”
The cover shots and a spread as Playmate Of The Month led to a lucrative contract with Guess Jeans, where she was dubbed the new Claudia Schiffer.
She later insisted she was not ashamed of posing nude because Playboy “happened to make my dream come true”.
She changed her name to Anna Nicole and got her first movie role, in the Coen brothers’ 1994 film The Hudsucker Proxy, followed by Naked Gun 331⁄3 the same year.
As her career took off, Missy moved in to help look after Anna’s son Daniel — and they became lovers. Missy reveals: “She had an insatiable appetite for sex.”
Like her movie idol Marilyn, Anna had an obsession with the father she had never met, Eugene Hogan.
After using a private detective to trace him, she flew him and half-brother Donnie to LA, taking them to the Playboy mansion and Disneyland — but the reunion ended badly.
Donnie says: “I wanted her to know the truth. My father’s a monster. When I was about 16, he told me he raped his wife’s sister. She was a child.”
Anna later told Missy that Eugene “tried to have sex with her”.
With her drug use spiralling, Anna was rushed to hospital in October 1993, after collapsing from an accidental overdose.
Missy says: “She’s turning up to shoots looking haggard. She’s no longer grateful to Mr Marshall. She’s treating him like an ATM.
“You’re watching this person that you love morph into this egotistical monster, a full-blown drug addict. My friend that loved me wasn’t there any more. There was no compassion. So I quit. We were done.”
Still in the grip of addiction, Anna married wheelchair-bound Howard in 1994, but attorney Kelly Moore denies the busty pin-up was a gold-digger.
She says: “They were both extraordinary people that other people were always trying to take pieces of.
“Howard and Anna were protection for each other.”
But in a recording of one of Howard’s desperate calls, he begs her to call him, saying: “I love you. I’m trying to find you.”
When she finally picks up, sounding groggy, she tells him to talk to her tomorrow, as “I won’t remember tonight”.
After just 13 months of marriage, 90- year-old Howard died, leaving 28- year-old Anna claiming he had promised her half of his £1.3billion fortune.
The death sparked a fierce legal battle with Howard’s son Pierce, as a court heard she had frittered away at least £10million of Howard’s cash.
As Anna explained: “It’s very expensive to be me.”
During the case — which she lost — she began a relationship with lawyer Howard K Stern, who Kelly Moore described as “a low-level attorney looking for a big payday”.
Left penniless by the judgment, Anna signed up to a reality TV show for E!, The Anna Nicole Smith Show.
She also developed an eating disorder, ballooning to 21st, and signed a deal with diet firm Trimspa, often eating nothing for days and living on diet pills and drugs.
But bodyguard Maurice Brighthaupt, known as Big Moe, says she milked her drug-addled persona when it suited her, citing an infamous appearance at the American Music Awards in 2004, when she slurred her intro to Kanye West.
He revealed: “She said, ‘I’m going to do something that everyone will always remember’.
“Then she got up on stage and looked high, but Anna knew how to work the crowd. Off-camera, she was completely with it.”
Missy recalls hearing an interview when Anna claimed she had run away from home after being repeatedly raped and beaten.
She says: “I was shocked because I knew that was not her childhood. That was my childhood — exactly the way I had relayed it to her.”
Bizarre paternity battle
Brother Donald says their mum Virgie was a “sweet, loving person” who never abused his sister.
In archive footage, Virgie says: “One time I asked her, ‘Why do you tell such lies?’.
“She said, ‘I wish you could understand that I make more money telling sad stories than I make telling good stories’.”
There was more controversy when Anna got pregnant in 2005, sparking a bizarre paternity battle between four men. As well as
Howard, former bodyguard Alexander Denk claimed to be the dad, and in a weird twist, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband, Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, said he had had a decade-long affair with her.
Photographer Larry Birkhead was later proved to be the dad of Dannielynn, now 16, and won custody.
By then son Daniel, who had had a breakdown, was sliding into drug addiction.
The day after Anna gave birth to Dannielynn, the 20-year-old visited his mum and baby sister in a Barbadian hospital and, while there, died from an overdose.
Anna once again turned to drugs and grew suicidal.
Five months after Daniel died, she was found dead in a hotel room from an accidental overdose of nine different drugs.
It was a tragic end that mirrored the death of her idol Marilyn — and one she had predicted herself.
“She told me all the time that she was going to die young,” says Missy.
“I should have believed it.”
- Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me is on Netflix from tomorrow.
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