- Anna Nicole Smith’s life was marked by exploitation, public scrutiny, and intrusion from toxic tabloids despite her fame in Hollywood.
- Smith blamed her mother for her traumatic childhood.
- Her strained relationship with her father, who had a criminal past, added to Smith’s struggle with her mental health and substance abuse.
Anna Nicole Smith catapulted to fame in Hollywood. She gained worldwide attention when she married 89-year-old billionaire oil magnate J. Howard Marshall in 1994. Following his passing, Smith engaged in a protracted legal battle with Marshall’s son over his fortune and estate.
The actress, model, and former Playboy Playmate’s life defied the typical rags-to-riches narrative. Instead of a story of triumph, it was an ongoing tragedy marked by exploitation, endless public scrutiny, and the intrusion of toxic tabloids.
On the surface, it might have seemed like Smith had achieved the life of her dreams. However, her controversial marriage overshadowed the most important parts of her life. In reality, she struggled with a traumatic childhood and a strained relationship with her father. These factors later contributed to her battles with depression and substance abuse.
Anna Nicole Smith Blamed Her Mother, Virgie Mae Hogan For Her Traumatic Childhood
Anna Nicole Smith grew up in Texas. She was brought up by her mother, Virgie Mae Hogan, who worked as a police officer, and her stepfather. As reported by The Guardian, Smith harbored resentment towards her mother, for trying to keep her away from her biological father. Their relationship was marred by frequent conflicts, with Smith claiming that her mother restrained her with handcuffs as a form of punishment.
In an article by E! News, Melissa “Missy” Byrum, one of Smith’s friend-turned-lovers, shared that Smith told her she was physically abused by her mother. In a clip from her Netflix documentary, Smith described her mother as “somewhat of a tyrant.” Pol’ Atteu, a designer and close friend of Smith, revealed with The Sun, “… She would always tell me she hated her mother… The only thing I knew Anna ever wanted was to not be like Virgie.”
However, Smith’s brother, Donald Hart, contradicted these claims of abuse against their mother. He described her as “a very sweet, loving person” and mentioned that, over time, they did maintain contact and cared about each other. Byrum also noted that the only consistent support Smith had, came from Hogan. She explained that because Smith’s mother was a sheriff’s deputy, they managed to avoid legal troubles on multiple occasions.
Byrum and Smith’s friendship started to go sour after she heard an interview in which Smith claimed to have run away from home after enduring repeated abuse. She was surprised to learn that Smith stole her tragic childhood story to make more money. Byrum knew this did not align with Smith’s actual childhood experiences, instead, it mirrored her childhood, which she had shared with Smith.
In archived footage of Smith’s documentary, her mother stated, “One time I asked her, ‘Why do you tell such lies?’ She said, ‘I wish you could understand that I make more money telling sad stories than I make telling good stories.’”
Inside Anna Nicole Smith’s Strained Relationship With Her Father, Donald Eugene Hogan
Anna Nicole Smith grew up without knowing her biological father, and she held her mother responsible for his absence, as revealed in the Netflix documentary, Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me.
After achieving recognition in Hollywood, Smith decided to hire a private investigator to locate her father. She then flew him and her half-brother to California for a long-awaited reunion.
Their meeting occurred around 1993, the same year when Playboy honored Smith as Playmate of the Year. The Netflix documentary includes home movie footage of Smith, as she eagerly anticipates her father, Donald Eugene Hogan, and her half-brother, Donnie, at the airport. Smith introduced them to the Playboy mansion, where Hugh Hefner threw a party in her honor. They also visited Disneyland for a family outing with Smith’s son, Daniel.
However, the reality of Hogan’s character did not align with the caring father Smith had envisioned. Donnie Hogan revealed in the documentary that he was afraid of his father, and he is not someone you’d want to be alone with. According to The Guardian, Donald Eugene Hogan, pleaded guilty to exploiting Smith’s aunt during her childhood, as well as another young woman. He served six months in prison for these offenses and faced accusations of other sexual misconduct.
Missy Byrum shared that Smith later confided to her that her father tried to make physical advances on her. Byrum stated that the revelation saddened her, considering how Smith had cherished idealized notions about her father and had high expectations for their reunion.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Ursula Macfarlane, the director of Smith’s documentary, admitted that she was blindsided by the allegation. She explained how this revelation sheds light on various aspects of Smith’s life, particularly the timing of her struggles.
Anna Nicole Smith Struggled With Her Body Image And Trauma Which Led To Her Addiction Issues
After several months following Anna Nicole Smith’s alleged assault by her father, the model was rushed to the hospital following an overdose of pills.
“I think it must have affected her,” Ursula Macfarlane told Vanity Fair. She also pointed out that Smith was searching for a father figure throughout her life highlighted by her controversial marriage to 89-year-old billionaire, J. Howard Marshall.
Macfarlane revealed that some of Smith’s substance dependency can be traced back to her botched breast enhancement surgeries, for which she was prescribed opiates to manage the pain. “She had a lot of different kinds of pain—back pain. I don’t think anybody really knew, but hours before she’d go on a red carpet, she was filling herself up with painkillers.”
In her final years, Smith’s life spiraled out of control. She was deeply affected by criticism about her weight and, despite believing that bad news translated into higher earnings, she was constantly hounded by paparazzi and the media.
Bonnie Gayle, the sister of Smith’s lawyer, Howard K. Stern also discussed Smith’s struggles with weight and body image. “Her weight swings were not just about greed or drugs. They were someone who was suffering from eating disorders, which is obviously psychological pain,” she stated in the documentary.
“She’s been criticized so much,” Macfarlane stated. “One thing to remember is that when she became famous, she was really young. She was trying to survive and keep her head above water. It doesn’t mean what she did was right, but it makes her more relatable. She lived her life large and in a complex way.”