Photo Credit: BuzzFoto
Anna Nicole Smith spent the last 15 years of her life embroiled in a legal fight for a share of deceased husband J. Howard Marshall's fortune. Unfortunately for Smith's young daughter, the battle may have been in vain: A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that elderly billionaire Marshall never intended to leave Smith an inheritance.
Smith, who died of a drug overdose three years ago at age 39, was survived by one child: Dannielynn Birkhead, now three years old. If her estate had prevailed in the lawsuit, sole heir Dannielynn would have inherited over 300 million dollars. Smith claimed that her oil tycoon husband had verbally promised her that amount when they were married in 1991; however, the court has chosen to honor Marshall's written will, which leaves his entire estate to his son.
So where does that leave Dannielynn? Since her mother filed for bankruptcy in 2000, we can assume that Smith didn't leave her much in the way of assets. The good news is that her biological father Larry Birkhead (who won a contentious custody battle against Smith's boyfriend Howard K. Stern in 2007) appears to be giving the little girl something even more valuable: a stable home life.
Birkhead recently moved with Dannielynn to his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where they can escape the glare of the paparazzi and be closer to Birkhead's family. But a wiley photographer did manage to snap their photo during a visit to L.A. last week, as father and daughter rode the slide together on the playground, looking happy as can be. Dannielynn may just have better odds at a healthy childhood -- and adulthood -- without those millions.
Plus: Was Anna Nicole Smith Plotting a Murder?
Do you think Anna Nicole Smith's estate is entitled to Marshall's millions? Chime in below!