Netflix continues to lead the way with their documentaries reevaluating the cultural impact and personal lives of controversial blondes (“Britney v Spears” and “Pamela, A Love Story“). Their latest is director Ursula Macfarlane’s “Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me,” which seeks to tell the real story behind the voluptuous blonde bombshell who died of an accidental drug overdose in 2007.
The documentary reveals that Smith was no angel, whose excesses ended up putting her on a path of destruction. In comparison to their previous documentaries, it’s easily one of the more negative and pessimistic explorations of femininity and fame. But for those looking for something new about Smith’s life it has its share of shocking new revelations. Below are five new discoveries revealed in “Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me.”
Anna Nicole Smith had a longtime lesbian lover.
A close friend of Smith, referred to only as Missy, lays out a friendship that started when they both worked together as exotic dancers in 1986. Missy explained how she fell in love with Smith and, at some point, she admits the relationship turned sexual. She said she was the first of Smith’s female lovers, though it’s never stipulated whether Smith was a bisexual or engaged in any other same-sex affairs.
J. Howard Marshall wanted to adopt Anna Nicole Smith’s son.
It’s impossible to talk about Smith without discussing her marriage to Texas oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall. The pair met while Smith was working as an exotic dancer and Marshall funded much of her lifestyle as she was launching her career in Hollywood. At one point in the documentary, it’s revealed that Marshall asked an attorney to formalize paperwork to make Smith’s son from her previous marriage, Daniel, his son. Footage of young Daniel Smith shows him calling Marshall “Dad.”
As Smith’s attorney, Kelly Moore, says in the film, she broached the subject with Marshall’s attorneys, who rolled their eyes and never followed through. Daniel Smith never became J. Howard Marshall’s adopted son and, as the doc implies, it drew a further wedge between Marshall and his biological son.
Anna Nicole Smith’s biological father allegedly attempted to sexually assault her.
Smith never knew her biological father growing up. After appearing in “Playboy” and becoming the model for Guess jeans, Smith hired a private investigator and reconnected with her biological father, Donald Hogan. The documentary shows footage from the family reunion, with an eager Smith happy to finally meet her father and half-brother.
But as Missy details in the doc, after that initial meeting, no one ever saw Hogan again. Missy reveals that Smith claimed her father tried to have sex with her. Smith’s half brother, Donnie, then explains how his father was a “monster” who detailed raping his wife’s sister. While Donnie is initially skeptical of Smith’s story, he does admit there could be truth to the claim.
Anna Nicole Smith never wanted Larry Birkhead to raise her daughter.
In the wake of Smith’s death, a contentious custody battle played out in the press regarding who would raise Smith’s infant daughter, Dannielynn. Photographer Larry Birkhead claimed he was the biological father of the child, while Smith’s attorney and friend, Howard K. Stern also came forward.
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The doc alleges that Smith and Birkhead had separate bedrooms and only engaged in a relationship because Smith wanted to have a baby. It’s said that Smith didn’t want Birkhead to have custody of the child and that she wanted Stern to raise the baby. After Smith’s passing, DNA testing would prove Birkhead was Dannielynn’s father and the child has been raised by him ever since.
Anna Nicole Smith allegedly plagiarized stories of childhood abuse and rape.
The doc’s final revelation comes in the final few minutes, with Missy watching TV and hearing Smith finally discuss her childhood. Smith claimed that she came from an abusive household, filled with “whippings” and “rape.” As Missy hears the story she realizes that Smith took Missy’s stories of her own childhood abuse and passed them off as her’s.
This is seconded by Smith’s biological brother who claims their mother, Virgie Smith, never abused her. Recordings from Virgie Smith are then played as she claims to have asked Smith why she tells lies about her childhood. As Virgie says on the tape, Anna Nicole responded, “I make more money telling sad stories than I make telling good stories.”
“Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me” streams on Netflix May 16.