It has been sixteen years since the passing of Anna Nicole Smith. The “Marilyn of the Nineties”, born Vickie Lynn Hogan, was found dead in a Florida hotel room in 2007 due to an overdose of at least nine different drugs. She was just 39 years old. In order to uncover the mysteries that remain about her life, a new Netflix documentary, You Don’t Know Me, directed by Ursula Macfarlane, is being released. The director, interviewed by People, said: “Anna Nicole’s life was consumed in less than fifteen years. She was always trying to be what she thought other people wanted her to be. I don’t know if she ever really knew who she was”.
It was in 1993 when Hugh Hefner named her “Rabbit of the Year”, a revenge for that beautiful but unfortunate girl who, as a child, was a victim of abuse and at eighteen she was already fleeing from her first violent husband, with a three-month-old son in tow. Vickie Lynn Hogan, this was her name on the register, never wanted to go back to the dust. So at the peak of success, she invested in the best (on paper) shelter: marriage to a billionaire. In 1994, at just 26 years old, Anna Nicole married 89-year-old oil tycoon James Howard Marshall II, whom she met in a club where she worked as a stripper. She became a widow after just a year and she got all of her husband’s fortune, more than 6 billion dollars. However, her late billionaire’s son dragged her to the Supreme Court (the dispute over the inheritance was only settled in 2011, when she was already dead).
The last years of Anna Nicole’s life were a vortex of decadence, between excesses, depression (after the death of her son Daniel, only twenty years old, from a suspected overdose), and countless cosmetic surgery interventions that caused her a severe dependence on painkillers. Sixteen years after her death, many mysteries still remain about her life that the new Netflix documentary is now trying to clarify through the testimonies of those who knew Anna Nicole well. According to their memories, not everything is as it seems. “She made up a lot of things,” says Melissa “Missy” Byrum bluntly. Missy, who met “Nicki” in a Houston strip club where the two worked in the early nineties, for example claims that Anne Nicole “was never a victim of abuse”. She simply told the story of the abuse actually experienced by Byrum as if it were her own. It seems that Smith’s mother, Virgie Mae Hogan, who died in 2018, once asked her daughter why she told so many lies. Anna Nicole answered her: “I make more money telling sad stories than telling happy stories. If the news is really bad, I make 50 times more than I make if the news is good”. In the new documentary, Missy also reveals that she and Anna Nicole had a “secret relationship” starting in 1992 and even “got married” in 1993. “She proposed to me. She gave me a ring and we got married in the backyard, near the pool, drinking champagne… She wanted me to have a baby with her,” Melissa told People. “But I knew it wouldn’t work because Anna Nicole would never settle down with one person”. Byrum moved away from Smith when her dependence on painkillers “became impossible to manage”: “Anna Nicole needed more love than any human being could give her”.
The documentary is now uncovering the truth about the life of Anna Nicole Smith, and it reveals that not everything is as it seems. With her parable consumed in less than fifteen years, many mysteries still remain about her life that the new Netflix documentary is now trying to clarify through the testimonies of those who knew Anna Nicole well. It seems that she was never a victim of abuse, she simply told the story of the abuse actually experienced by Byrum as if it were her own. It is clear that Anna Nicole was never able to find true happiness and contentment, and she was never able to find out who she really was.