What Genuinely Transpired with Anna Nicole Smith? Her Extravagant Life: The Loves, Lies, and Lies (Exclusive)

For three years, Anna Nicole Smith was widely known. She was well-known for 12 years until passing away in 2007 after an accidental overdose.

The Texas native attained the pinnacles of fame during that time before falling repeatedly. Now, a new Netflix documentary called Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me (streaming May 16) looks at her life and exposes some of the secrets she kept about her loves and falsehoods.

According to the director Ursula Macfarlane, “She was this icon of female perfection,” PEOPLE’s cover story this week claims. She simply tried to be what she believed other people wanted her to be throughout her life. I’m not sure if Anna Nicole had a solid sense of her own identity.

Smith’s exceptional beauty propelled her in 1992 from a small-town fried chicken restaurant server to the Playboy cover and the face of Guess jeans. She received pay for appearing in films like The Hudsucker Proxy and Naked Gun 33 1/3. She blazed from billboards, charmed late-night presenters like Jay Leno and Arsenio Hall, and walked the Oscars red carpet.

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What genuinely transpired with Anna Nicole Smith? Her Extravagant Life: The Loves, Lies, and Lies (Exclusive)

She wed the 89-year-old billionaire J. Howard Marshall in 1994, but she soon lost him to illness and later lost his fortune in a Supreme Court dispute with his son. She battled terrible drug addiction, was taken advantage of by people who claimed to love her, claimed that her mother had raped her, and most certainly had her father sexually abused her as an adult.

She was a frequent (and lucrative) subject of paparazzi attention. Smith used to say, “It’s terrible the things I have to do to be me,” and he passed away at the age of 39. “You’ve got to give people what they want, baby!” She thus made the decision to spill everything to a reality show’s cameras in 2002. She was, in fact, as outrageous as the song on The Anna Nicole Show’s theme tune proclaims: “Anna, Anna, Anna, really truly outrageous.”

George Beall, Smith’s uncle, recalls that as a girl, she aspired to be a comedy actress like Carol Burnett and claims that “Hollywood put her in the fast lane.” “I believe it destroyed her more than anything else,”

However, there are still some unanswered queries regarding Smith. Missy Byrum, a close friend of hers, said plainly, “She made a lot of stuff up.”

Byrum, 55, and “Nicki” met while working at a Houston strip club in the early 1990s. Smith, who went by the stage name Nicki, wasn’t like many of the dancers. Byrum claims, “We were all victims of abuse in some way, and we talked about it. She had nothing like that in her past.

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What genuinely transpired with Anna Nicole Smith? Her Extravagant Life: The Loves, Lies, and Lies (Exclusive)

Sad stories equal attention, therefore solving the emotional algebra. Byrum was horrified to learn that Smith had claimed to be the victim of Byrum’s abuse.

“Nicki adapted to get what she needed,” claims Byrum. Years before Paul Marciano, the designer of Guess, gave her the name Anna Nicole, “she started to manifest the character of Anna Nicole.” She discovered while stripping that men tend to think you’re foolish if you’re so attractive. It takes a smart person to be truly foolish, she used to say.

To become Anna Nicole Smith, one had to put in some effort. Byrum claims, “She underwent a variety of cosmetic procedures.” To make her teeth bigger, they sliced her gums. She had a cosmetic surgeon remove all the skin from the area around her areolas because she had stretch marks on her breasts after having Daniel. She suffered from chronic agony. Her four breast augmentations were done. Byrum, who has had personal experience with substance abuse, claims that this is where her painkiller addiction started. I’ve never seen anyone quite like it. She could consume alcohol on top of taking 12 Valium and 15 Klonopin.

Smith had a relationship with Marshall when she first gained notoriety; the two had met while dancing. He gave her security and provided her and her son Daniel with a house, jewelry, and a car.

Beall claims, “She really loved him.” She cared deeply for him because of the way he looked after her and protected her. She didn’t want others to believe she was after his money. We both replied, “If you love him, to heck with what people think,” including [her] Aunt Kay.

He also had an open mind. Byrum claims that Mr. Marshall “was a very intelligent man.” He was aware of her youthful age and the needs she had. He gave her access to her boy toys and other things.

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What genuinely transpired with Anna Nicole Smith? Her Extravagant Life: The Loves, Lies, and Lies (Exclusive)

According to Byrum, everyone fell in love with Smith. “I did, too,” Byrum claims that Smith proposed to her in 1993 after the two started dating in secret in 1992. We were married in the backyard by the pool with champagne after she handed me a set of rings.

She desired for us to become parents together. She would never, ever settle down with just one person, so I always knew it wouldn’t work out.

Byrum claims that she left Smith when his addiction became too much for her to manage. She needs more affection than any one person could possibly provide.

Simpon and Pol’ Atteu, two of Smith’s closest friends, maintain that Anna Nicole was a fictional figure. The couple, who run an atelier and a reality series called Gown and Out in Beverly Hills, grew close to Smith during her final years.

Atteu claims, “She was portraying Anna Nicole.” There were two distinct individuals.

One was a well-known television personality and celebrity. Over the top, a stupid blonde, she was what people wanted her to be and what would pay the bills.

Deeply human was the other. “The personal, genuine Anna Nicole. He refers to a woman as “the shrewd businesswoman” who struck deals with paparazzi and informed them of her movements in order to profit. Whoever realized that negative articles about her are compensated better. even if they don’t belong to her.

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What genuinely transpired with Anna Nicole Smith? Her Extravagant Life: The Loves, Lies, and Lies (Exclusive)

Producer of the documentary Alexandra Lacey observes: “We idealize these types of celebrities, typically women and frequently blonde. Then they expose our weaknesses and, in her case, a great deal of emotional and bodily suffering. Then all of a sudden, we are not interested in knowing them.

Smith’s deceased mother, Virgie Mae Hogan, once questioned her daughter about why she lies so often. In the documentary, Hogan recounts this incident and Smith’s retort, saying, “I earn more money telling sad stories than I make telling nice stories. I make money every time my name appears on the news. I earn 50 times as much if it’s horrible, something really bad as if it’s excellent.

Even after Smith’s passing, the “sad stories” persisted. After Smith’s funeral, Larry Birkhead and her lover Howard K. Stern fought in court for months over who the father of Smith’s daughter Dannielynn should be before Birkhead was finally recognized as her father.

Today, it’s clear that her family members still want Anna Nicole Smith to find peace, but it’s also plain that they understand her.

Byrum recalls that after she passed away, “there was such a circus.” She would have cherished it. She’s going to pass away exactly as she lived, I reasoned. She will be the center of attention. She also did.