There are very few people in this world who ever get the chance to truly live out the rags-to-riches lifestyle, much less who can remain true to themselves throughout their whole lives.
The life and times of Anna Nicole Smith (born Vickie Lynn Hogan) is a love story between the public and the princess, who fought against obstacles time after time to provide for her family, before eventually losing the battle against herself and her addiction.
The Playboy cover girl was born into poverty in Houston,Texas, but rose to super-stardom by taking advantage of the opportunities that came to her. She kept up her charm with every direction her life took, and it's these little quirks that we remember from her brief, but wondrous life.
Here are just a few facts about the model, actress, and TV personality who would have turned 50 today.
She Left High School Early
Anna Nicole Smith was born in Houston, Texas but moved to the small community of Mexia just as she was starting high school to spend more time with her aunt. It was supposed to have a positive effect on the young woman, however she ended up dropping out in her sophomore year.
She met her first husband, Billy Wayne Smith while working at Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken as a waitress. They were married when Anna was 17-years-old and the couple wasted no time starting a family. Daniel Smith was welcomed into the world on January 22, 1986, and would be the light in his mother's life.
The Playboy Breakout
Her first major success came when she appeared on the cover of the March 1992 edition of Playboy magazine. She had several other pictures make it into the esteemed publication before Hugh Hefner finally named her Playmate of the Year in 1993.
Despite her more plain upbringing, Smith adamantly says it wasn't until she had her son that she "blossomed" into her 36-28-38 form.
Guess Who's A Star?
Despite her initial wave of fame, it wasn't until she was introduced to Guess founder Paul Marciano that her career really took off.
She was actually bringing her son Daniel in for a photo audition for GUESS Kids, when she was spotted by Marciano.
"I said, 'Who are you?' She said she was a waitress at Red Lobster. Everything I asked her she called me "sir.'" said Marciano. "I had the kids' photographer shoot her on the spot."
It would be Marciano who would change her name to her famous moniker. "To me, she was Anna, but Anna Smith did not sound right so we did Anna Nicole Smith."
A True Monroe Fan
Smith made it no secret that she was a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe, and besides their looks, the two of them had an uncanny resemblance between their lives.
Both with humble beginnings, Smith had always aspired to one day be as famous as Monroe, and this followed her throughout her life.
She said she would always bring copies of Monroe films with her wherever she went, and even admitted on Live With Regis and Kathie Lee that she had brought four of them with her to New York for the trip!
Love & Other Drugs
The news of Smith's marriage to J. Howard Marshall hit the media like a bombshell, and it would ultimately be the cause of many of the problems later on in her life. Both her and Marshall said they were marrying for love, and that they were offering each other more than physical attraction and financial stability.
When Marshall died in 1995, Smith was not included in his will. However, she maintained that he had intended to set up a trust for her and her family, and so ultimately ended up suing for half of his $1.6 billion fortune.
For years the legal battle for this money would rage back and forth between Smith and the other heirs, causing her to file for bankruptcy, and end up in rehab following extended drug use to deal with the stress.
A Heart-Broken Death
When Smith gave birth to her daughter, Dannielynn Hope, her son came to see her and his new little sister. Unfortunately, tragedy struck and Daniel died three days later, lying next to her in her hospital bed at 19 years of age.
It was later found that he had succumbed to a drug overdose, and Smith was understandably beyond devastated.
Over the next few weeks she began taking more and more prescription drugs to mask the pain, eventually leading to her own overdose and death.
After her death, there was a brief custody battle due to the question of paternity of Smith's daughter, Dannielynn Hope. Larry Birkwood, her former partner emerged as the father, and has done all he can to ensure she stays healthy, happy, and out of the spotlight.