Anna Nicole Smith’s Estate Loses Its Court Battle For Her Late Husband’s Millions
Years before she tragically died, Anna Nicole Smith (née Vickie Lynn Marshall) was the wife of J. Howard Marshall, a Texas oil man, to whom she was married 14 months. Many questioned the validity of this May-December romance, but Anna claimed the two had real-deal love. But then he died leaving millions of dollars to his son from a former marriage, not Anna Nicole. Anna wasn’t having it—she claimed Marshall promised her a $300 million share of the pie—and the case has been snaking it’s way through the courts for over a decade. According to CNN:
The estate of the late actress Anna Nicole Smith has lost a Supreme Court appeal in a longstanding fight to secure a share of her deceased husband’s fortune.
The 5-4 ruling Thursday was the latest chapter in a tedious legal soap opera…
Court records shows she had already received about $7 million in cash and gifts during their brief union.
Smith, a onetime Playboy and jeans model, reality TV star and diet company spokeswoman, went to both state and federal courts to press her claims.
The Supreme Court did not delve into matters raised in past legal proceedings: whether document tampering happened, whether Smith was kept from her husband’s bedside as he was dying, and how the money should be divided.
Howard Marshall, a Yale-educated businessman, was 89 in 1994 when he married the then-26-year-old Texan. They had met a few years earlier at a strip club where she worked.
Smith died of a drug overdose in 2007, leaving behind a young daughter from a later relationship. That has created the unusual scenario of executors of competing estates fighting over still-frozen assets.
State and federal courts have disagreed over the years on whether Smith should receive any part of the money. A U.S. bankruptcy judge initially awarded her $474 million, which later was reduced to about $90 million. A federal appeals court has since twice dismissed Smith’s case. A state probate court also dismissed her claims, saying Pierce Marshall was the sole heir.
Leading the fight on behalf of Smith is Howard K. Stern, her attorney and onetime boyfriend. Stern was cleared of criminal charges by a judge earlier this year in Los Angeles. He had been accused conspiring to feed Smith’s drug addiction and using false names to obtain the drugs. He and two doctors charged as co-conspirators had denied wrongdoing.
Pierce Marshall’s wife, Elaine, is the key party on the other side.
J. Howard Marshall & Anna Nicole Smith