In Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me, you quickly learn that while she was one of the most prominent faces of the late 1990s and early 2000s, her reputation didn’t exactly match who she was.
In fact, the documentary specifically challenges one of the many misconceptions about Anna Nicole Smith: that she married J. Howard Marshall, a billionnaire oil tycoon, for his money. You Don’t Know Me director Ursula Macfarlane doesn’t believe Anna Nicole was a gold digger at all. “If we can get to the point where people understand her better and just don’t judge her as much, then that will make me very happy,” Macfarlane recently told USA Today.
ICYDK, Anna Nicole married J. Howard Marshall, when she was 26 years old and he was 89. However, the model didn’t actually inherit any of his wealth. Here’s everything to know about Anna Nicole Smith’s net worth—and why she didn’t get anything from her late husband’s estate.
She had a very successful modeling career.
Anna Nicole dropped out of high school at age 14, but she was determined to build herself a career.
In 1992, she scored a modeling gig with Playboy magazine by mailing photos of herself to the publication. She was named Playmate of The Year the following year. Back in the day, the award gave the recipient $100,000, per TMZ, so it’s likely she earned some cash from the honor. Her connection with Playboy also gave her a contract to model with Guess. She soon became the most recognized face of the brand.
It’s not clear how much she made from her Guess campaigns, but it helped her live very comfortably. According to an interview with PEOPLE in 1993, she used money from her contract to buy a four-bedroom contemporary house in Houston, three horses, and two cars. It also helped her hire a nanny for her son Daniel.
She was also an actress.
In addition to her modeling, Anna Nicole also appeared in a few films, television shows, and music videos. Her most popular role was in Naked Gun 33 1/3. And she was also in talks to appear as Tina Carlyle in The Mask. However, Anna Nicole turned down a $50,000 salary for the role and it eventually went to Cameron Diaz, per USA Today. So it’s likely that she ended up making more for the gigs she did accept.
She didn’t inherit anything from J. Howard Marshall.
Anna Nicole is also remembered for her infamous marriage to oil tycoon Howard J. Marshall. The model met the billionaire while she was working as a dancer at a strip club in Houston, Texas.
Marshall was worth around $2 billion at the time of his death, but he never actually put Anna Nicole in his will. The model alleged that Marshall verbally promised her half of his estate, but she ended up receiving nothing. She did, however, spend a lot of his money while he was still alive—including racking up a $2 million bill on a single shopping trip, per PEOPLE.
She filed for bankruptcy.
In 1996, the former Guess modelfiled for bankruptcy in the state of California. This was a direct response to earning nothing from her late husband’s will. In her claim, the model said Marshall’s oldest son, Pierce, had “interfered” with her potential inheritance, per Forbes.
The court sided with the former Playboy model, and she was awarded $474 million. However, because shefiled for bankruptcy in California, and Marshall’s will was settled in Texas courts, the entire amount was appealed and reduced to $88 million, according to the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. The case of J. Howard Marshall’s estatewas fought for many years, and even made it to the Supreme Court twice, per PEOPLE.
However, legal proceedings surrounding the estate continued well after Anna Nicole’s death in 2007—and it doesn’t seem that any of this sum was added to her estate.
She was worth $1 million when she died.
The Naked Gun 33 1/3 actress was worth around $1 million at the time of her death, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Although legal proceedings for a cut of J. Howard Marshall’s estate continued after her death, Anna Nicolewas never awarded any money.
Her daughter is currently worth around $3 million.
Dannielynn Birkhead, the model’s only surviving child, is worth around $3 million (which is a combined net worth with her father Larry Birkhead). Dannielynn inherited the entirety of her mother’s estate and modeled as a Guess Girl in 2013, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Her father also works as a photographer, and a real estate investor, per The List.
You can learn more about the life and career of this 1990s It girl in Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me on Netflix.