ABC News revisits Anna Nicole Smith's death 10 years ago
'20/20' profiles lives of Larry Birkhead, Dannielynn Smith
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – It's been 10 years since Anna Nicole Smith was found dead in a South Florida hotel room. Now, a decade after the former Playboy model and actress died of an accidental drug overdose, ABC News is catching up with Smith's then-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, and the father of her daughter, Dannielynn Smith.
Smith was 39 when she was found dead on Feb. 8, 2007, in room 607 of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood. After an extensive investigation, Broward County's chief medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper, announced that Smith died of "combined drug intoxication" with the sleeping medication chloral hydrate as the "major component."
Born Vickie Lynn Marshall on Nov. 28, 1967, Smith grew up in Texas and dropped out of high school to become a model. She quickly ascended to superstar status, becoming Playboy's 1993 "Playmate of the Year." When Smith married oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall in 1994, she became the subject of tabloids proclaiming that the then-26-year-old married Marshall, 89, for his money. Thirteen months after marrying Smith, Marshall died, cutting Smith out of his will.
Smith fought for years to make a claim on his estate, reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, but in the end she was shut out.
Dannielynn was just 5 months old when her mother died. Birkhead, who spoke to ABC News reporter Deborah Roberts in an interview for Friday night's "20/20," said Dannielynn reminds him of Smith more and more every day, but he's determined to make sure their daughter doesn't endure a similar fate.
Birkhead has worked hard to keep Dannielynn out of the spotlight, something her mother embraced.
"It was almost like a split personality because, when the camera was going, she was a whole different thing," Birkhead told Roberts.
However, Smith struggled with prescription medication, Birkhead admitted. He said he was ready to leave her, until she told him that they were going to have a child.
Smith gave birth to Dannielynn in the Bahamas in September 2006, but tragedy befell her when her 20-year-old son, Daniel Smith, died in the hospital room while visiting her and his half-sister, the result of a lethal combination of antidepressants.
Birkhead said Smith was inconsolable in the months thereafter.
After Smith's death, Birkhead was involved in a bitter custody battle for Dannielynn until a paternity test proved that he was the father. The ongoing legal battle made international headlines.
Birkhead and Dannielynn are now living near Louisville, Kentucky.
"So many people have wondered about the millions and millions of dollars that Anna Nicole fought for," Roberts told Local 10 News during a satellite interview Friday afternoon. "Did they receive any of that money? You'll find out tonight on '20/20' what kind of a life they are living."
"20/20" airs Friday at 10 p.m. on Local 10.
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