Netflix’s latest documentary, Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me, explores the turbulent rise and fall of the late Hollywood star. The film uses exclusive footage and interviews to unpack the events that led to Smith’s untimely death in 2007.
In her heyday, Smith was known for her modeling campaigns and highly publicized relationships. In 1994, she married J. Howard Marshall, a wealthy oil tycoon. Their union sparked a media frenzy, as people judged their age difference—Smith was 26, while Marshall was 89—and the legitimacy of their union.
But to the surprise of many, this was not Smith’s first marriage. Before becoming a household name? The model, born Vickie Lynn Marshall, married Billy Wayne Smith at 17 years old. Here’s everything we know about her elusive first husband.
Who is Billy Wayne Smith?
Billy Wayne Smith is Anna Nicole Smith’s first husband, and the father of their son, Daniel Wayne Smith. The pair met in Mexia, Texas, years before she became a household name. Smith’s mother, Virgie Mae Hogan, told the The Daily Mail, that Billy was “a sweet young man, very timid and shy.” As the story goes, Billy wasn’t initially charmed by Smith. According to Hogan, that upset Smith because he “didn’t pay attention to her.” Looking back on their relationship, Smith once said, “He drove me crazy. I chased him the way young girls do until I finally got him and married him. By then, of course, I wasn’t interested.”
How Did Billy and Anna Meet, and When Did They Marry?
Billy and Smith met while working at a fried chicken shack. Anna was a waitress, while Billy was a fry-cook. He was a year younger than Anna, and they both got jobs at the restaurant after dropping out of high school. From there, the young couple eventually dated for a few months. According to People, they married on April 4th, 1985, when Anna was 17 and Billy was 16. After their wedding, they moved into a house behind the chicken shop.
When Did Billy and Anna Have a child?
Anna gave birth to their son, Daniel Wayne Smith, on January 22nd, 1986. Daniel tragically passed away from a drug overdose on September 10, 2006. At the time, he was visiting his mother in Nassau, Bahamas, following the birth of her daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead.
Why Did Billy and Anna Get Divorced?
Smith and Billy’s union was short-lived. They separated in 1987, but didn’t officially divorce until 1983. Per The Daily Mail, Anna claimed Billy was too controlling. “I wasn’t allowed to go out of the house or go to the store,” she said. “He was so jealous.”
In 2017, Anna’s mother told The Daily Mail that after Daniel was born, Anna began working at Red Lobster. She then quit and became a stripper at Houston’s Executive Suite Club. It was there that she met her next husband, the wealthy oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall.
Associate Staff Writer
Bria McNeal is a Manhattan based journalist who is patiently awaiting B5’s revival. When she’s not writing about all things entertainment, she can be found watching TV or trying to DIY something (likely, at the same time). Her work has appeared in NYLON, Refinery29, InStyle, and her personal newsletter, StirCrazy.