close Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn

Unraveling the Story of Anna Nicole Smith and Her Husband Howard Marshall

From her marriage to oil tycoon Howard Marshall, to inheriting his fortune and her dramatic weight loss, delve into the captivating tale of Anna Nicole Smith and the legacy she left for her daughter, Dannielynn.
by Rob Gillham | Dec 7 2023
Credits: InterviewMagazine

Anna Nicole Smith lived a life full of fame and controversy before her tragic death in 2007. Ultimately, one of the major milestones in her life was her marriage to Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall.

In this article, we dive deep into everything you need to know about Anna Nicole Smith’s husband and the controversy that followed their marriage. 

The Story of Anna Nicole Smith’s Husband: J. Howard Marshall

Anna Nicole Smith (born November 28, 1967, in Houston, Texas) shot to fame when she tied the knot with tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994. There was an age gap of 63 years between the couple, with Nicole just 26 at the time of their marriage. Nicole, a local Texas dancer, was Marshall’s third wife.

The duo met in 1988 when Nicole, then Vickie Lynn Hogan, worked as a Houston club dancer. After a dance performance, she accepted his lunch invitation, and he gave her $1,000. That day, she quit her job and started courting Marshall.

Nicole always expressed genuine affection for Marshall, fondly referring to him as “Paw Paw.” She maintained that their union was based on love, not Marshall’s wealth.

Post his death, she engaged in a long legal dispute with one of Marshall’s sons over what she claimed to be her fair share of his estate.

As per The Los Angeles Times, Marshall proposed to Nicole numerous times after their first date in 1991. She only accepted after establishing her celebrity status, becoming a Playboy Playmate, Guess model, and actress in movies like Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult and The Hudsucker Proxy.

Pat Walker, the owner of the chapel they eventually married in, revealed that Nicole told her that she wasn’t marrying Marshall for his wealth. She told Walker, “He’s been asking me to marry him for over four years.

I wanted to establish my own career and have my own money first.”

On August 4th 1995, Marshall unfortunately passed away, 13 months into their marriage, triggering a lengthy legal feud over his 1.6 billion dollar fortune.

The documentary “Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me” – available on Netflix, sheds some light on their relationship. The marriage and his subsequent death spiraled into countless headlines, speculations, and prolonged lawsuits over Marshall’s estate.

Anna Nicole Smith’s Inheritance Battle 

After his death, Anna Nicole did not inherit any money from Marshall’s estate directly. Despite not being included in Marshall’s will, Smith claimed that he verbally promised her half of his estate, which mainly comprised a 16% stake in Koch Industries, valued then at $1.6 billion.

This claim was contested by Smith’s stepson, E. Pierce Marshall. Unexpectedly, Smith formed an alliance with another of Marshall’s sons, J. Howard Marshall III, who had been disinherited after attempting a takeover of Koch Industries. He, too, claimed verbal assurance of inheritance from his father, similar to Smith, though he was also excluded from his father’s will.

In 2000, a Los Angeles bankruptcy judge awarded Smith $449,754,134, which was the rise in value of Marshall’s stake in Koch Industries during their marriage. However, this was overturned in 2001 by Judge Mike Wood of Houston, who ruled Smith had no entitlement and ordered her to pay over a million in legal costs to E. Pierce Marshall. This clash between Texas and California court rulings led to a federal court dispute.

The U.S. Supreme Court took up the case in 2005. Paul Clement, the United States Solicitor General, was directed by the George W. Bush administration to intercede on Smith’s behalf.

The court conceded to Smith unanimously in 2006, affirming her right to seek a portion of her husband’s estate in federal court, though no share of the estate was granted. 

Anna Nicole’s Untimely Death 

Anna Nicole Smith was found dead in her room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, on February 8, 2007. She was just 39 years old. 

Following a seven-week investigation, the Broward County, Florida, medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper, concluded that her death was due to an accidental drug overdose. She had taken a lethal combination of prescription drugs, including the sedative chloral hydrate in conjunction with other controlled substances.

Her weakened physical condition, likely caused by a viral, flu-like illness and possible infection from injecting medications in her buttocks, also contributed to her death.

The Question of Anna Nicole’s Inheritance

Anna Nicole Smith’s unexpected and tragic demise at the age of 39 left many questioning who would inherit her fortune. With her will remaining unclear on the beneficiaries, the situation quickly took a complex turn. 

Despite the controversy surrounding her life, Smith was the loving mother to a baby girl named Dannielynn. Keeping the cloud of rumors and speculations aside, she took immense pride in her motherhood.

However, Smith’s untimely death occurred when Dannielynn was merely five months old, transforming the baby girl into an unintentional heir to Smith’s contested estate.

This sudden development sparked another controversy that rocked the media waves – a legal tussle over Dannielynn’s custody. After Smith’s passing, an array of men came forward claiming to be Dannielynn’s father, intensifying the spotlight already on the infant.

Compounded by the fact that Dannielynn was now the potential heiress to Smith’s fortune, it turned into a complex, dramatic custody battle, unraveled in the public eye. Eventually, celebrity photographer Larry Birkhead was determined to be the child’s legal father. 

Dannielynn Birkhead leads a life much more private than her late mother. Now a teenager, she lives with her father, Larry Birkhead, and although she occasionally partakes in public appearances, she mostly enjoys a normal adolescent’s life, away from the media’s spotlight.

The life of Anna Nicole Smith and her husband was truly intriguing, filled with glamour, controversy, and consequential legal battles. For more exciting stories behind the rich and famous, check out the Celebrity Stories collection available in the Blinkist app.

For those seeking to quench their thirst for knowledge, this app offers short, digestible summaries of over 4000 non-fiction books. Try our free 7-day trial to start your journey towards embracing a wealth of diverse knowledge. Leave no story unheard, no tale untold with Blinkist!

Start your free 7-day trial

Facebook Twitter Tumblr Instagram LinkedIn Flickr Email Print