Anna Nicole Smith, the late Playboy and Guess model turned billionaire’s wife turned reality show star, is being remembered by her family as “truly one of a kind.”
“Still remembering this one 15 years after her death,” Larry Birkhead wrote Tuesday on the Instagram account he shares with Smith’s 15-year-old daughter, Dannielynn.
“She was truly one of a kind,” he wrote about the larger-than-life star who was 39 at the time of her accidental drug overdose. “She struggled for love and acceptance. Just when she found a little piece of one or the other, life seemed to sabotage.”
Larry, who dated Smith on and off for approximately two years, wrote to the late star, “Today, I remember your heart, your soul and your beauty, both inside and out. Your love is alive still to this day, in the form of a truly one of a kind teenager with her Mom’s smile, beauty and courage.”
He ended by writing, “Thanks to Anna’s fans for helping keep her memory alive. We love you Anna Nicole.”
Larry, a Louisville-based freelance photographer, met Smith while she was shooting the Anna Nicole Show at a Kentucky Derby party in 2003. She flirted with him and later hired him to photograph her. Larry eventually moved to Los Angeles, where Smith was based with her odd hodgepodge of hangers-on, as they began a tumultuous romantic relationship. Smith — who long struggled with substance abuse — told Larry she was pregnant in early 2006. However, Smith abruptly ran off to the Bahamas, along with her ever-present attorney Howard K. Stern, and gave birth there in September 2006. She claimed publicly Stern was the baby’s father.
Things only became more tragic. While Smith’s 20-year-old son, Daniel, visited her in the maternity ward, three days after the star gave birth, he fatally overdosed and died in Smith’s hospital suite. Five months after that, a heartbroken Smith then fatally overdosed herself in a Florida hotel room — on Feb. 8, 2007 — with nine different prescription drugs in her system. Most of the pills were prescribed to Stern, not her. In the wake of Smith’s death, a paternity case resulted over baby Dannielynn — with even more potential fathers coming forward in a true circus event — and DNA tests proved that Larry was the father. He’s been raising her ever since.
There’s now an Anna Nicole biopic, Hurricanna, in the works, reportedly looking at Smith’s tragic final days — which she spent at a Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Fla. Holly Hunter is in talks to appear in the film, which will be directed by Francesca Gregorini. It was briefly reported that Betty Gilpin, 35, was in talks to play Smith but there was a scheduling conflict.
The film centers on Smith’s therapist, Khristine (Hunter), who tries to save her client’s life, setting off “a 36-hour odyssey in which she unknowingly delivers the fatal blow,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. Smith is likened to a hurricane-like force, which ultimately destroyed everything in her path — not to mention that this all played out when celebrity coverage was vicious, especially to women in the limelight.
In the wake of Smith’s death, her psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich and attorney Stern were charged in 2009 with giving thousands of prescription drugs to Smith in the years leading to her overdose. They were convicted in 2010. The following year, all the convictions against Stern were tossed out. Eroshevich had one remaining, but it was later reduced and she had no jail time.
Larry previously told his story of his hot and cold love affair with Anna Nicole in a Lifetime documentary called Hopelessly In Love: Anna Nicole Smith and Larry Birkhead.
As for Dannielynn, the teen lives largely out of the spotlight with her dad. Each year they attend the Kentucky Derby party where Larry met Smith. Last year, in an effort to teach Dannielynn more about her famous mom, Larry took her to Smith’s Texas hometown and old L.A. haunts.
“She has a big heart like her mom,” Larry said about Dannielynn. “I look at her and she’s my everything. When I see how big she’s become, I’m just so proud of her… She reminds me so much of her mom and as she gets older, and her features are changing, it’s just like having a little miniature Anna Nicole running around in so many ways.”