Anna Nichole Smith’s romantic journey was a sight to see! The world watched her spiral into a life of substance abuse and mental illness. Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith was involved in a series of high-profile romances. The woman who would die of a drug overdose at age 39 in 2007 was married twice and had a child, Dannielynn, with Larry Birkhead. Let’s explore her relationships.
Anna was a high school dropout who found her first love while working as a cook at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken in Mexia, Texas in the 1980s. She met Billy Smith there, and the two married before she turned 18. Smith’s son was born in May 1985, but her relationship with the husband ended in divorce less than a year later.
The second time Smith said “I do,” it was with millionaire J. Howard Marshall II. The oil tycoon was also Zsa Zsa Gabor’s ninth husband. He was wealthy and powerful enough to take care of the model, but his desire to do so proved fatal to their marriage. In a documentary released last month, Smith says she needed more than any one man could give her.
After Marshall’s death, Smith became entangled in a tumultuous relationship with Howard K. Stern. They married in a shotgun ceremony on a houseboat in the Bahamas just weeks after Smith gave birth to her daughter, Dannielynn. Then, in the months that followed, she died of a drug overdose at age 39. Dannielynn was named her official heir, but the court battle over custody of the girl continued until April 2007. Then, a DNA test determined Birkhead was Dannielynn’s biological father.
In the new documentary, Smith discusses her tumultuous relationship with Melissa “Missy” Byrum. She revealed in a separate interview that she and Smith were involved in a secret romantic relationship in 1992. But she’s adamant that “nobody knows” what really went on behind the scenes.
Other friends, family members and business associates also contribute their accounts of Smith’s life. Talking-head-style interviews pair with archival footage from some of the most well-known moments in her career.
It’s Birkhead who offers the most revealing glimpse into Smith’s complicated persona. In a recollection of their tumultuous, unstable relationship, he makes clear that he saw her beyond her inauspicious past. Hopelessly in Love airs Friday, January 17 on Lifetime.