Anna Nicole Smith first gained some modicum of the notoriety as a model in Playboy magazine. She rose to the pinnacle of the Hugh Hefner universe when she was selected as Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1993. She modeled clothing and performed at a strip club in Houston, Texas called Gigi’s, and it was during one of her performances that she met J. Howard Marshall, a Texas oil magnate, back in October of 1991. They began dating and entered into a serious relationship.
Beautiful women often attract wealthy and powerful men, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that Anna Nicole would connect with someone like Marshall. The thing that was unusual about the relationship was that J. Howard Marshall was 63 years older than Smith. They got married on June 27 of 1994, and at the time Smith was 26 and Marshall was 89 years of age.
There were those who thought that Anna Nicole Smith married J. Howard Marshall for his money, and she always took umbrage with these assertions. People in the know say that the two never lived together, but they remained legally married for 13 months until Marshall passed away. The date of his death was August 4th of 1995.
Anna Nicole Smith and her stepson E. Pierce Marshall then began a long and protracted legal battle over the $1.6 billion estate of J. Howard Marshall. This issue brought more fame to Anna Nicole Smith than any of her previous career achievements, and it led to her being cast in a reality TV show based on her life and travails. At one point a bankruptcy court in California granted her around $450 million, but a Texas probate court ruled that she was entitled to nothing and this led to federal intervention in the case.
Since the battle began both E. Pierce Marshall and Anna Nicole Smith have passed away. But in June the Supreme Court ruled that Anna Nicole Smith’s estate was not entitled to any of the fortune left behind by J. Howard Marshall and the saga came to a close some fifteen years after it began.