Anna Nicole Smith’s 5-month-old daughter and the baby’s purported father have reclaimed the Bahamas mansion where they lived before the former Playboy Playmate died last week, her lawyer said.
Not only is the paternity of Smith’s baby — who could inherit a fortune from Smith’s late husband — in dispute, but so is the Bahamas mansion where Smith had been living.
Smith, who died in Florida on Thursday, had claimed that a U.S. developer and former boyfriend, G. Ben Thompson, gave her the house. But Thompson said he had only loaned it to Smith — and on Friday had the locks changed.
Smith’s lawyer and companion, Howard K. Stern — one of three men who claims to be the baby’s father — had the locks changed again and on Sunday was once again at the gated waterfront estate, known as “Horizons.”
The baby girl, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, was also there, attorney Wayne Munroe told The Associated Press. An AP Television News reporter saw Stern’s mother enter the white house, as well. Another AP reporter saw Smith’s mother, Vergie Arthur, at the gates, but she did not go inside.
Munroe said he has filed a robbery complaint with police over computer equipment, drawings and paintings allegedly taken from the home, and authorities interviewed the housekeeper. Police said Sunday they are investigating.
Munroe said the house now belongs to Stern, Smith’s companion.
“Right now, Howard is very happy to be reunited with Dannielynn but extremely angry that somebody had the gall to break into Anna’s residence,” Stern’s spokesman, Ron Rale, said Sunday by telephone from Los Angeles.
Smith’s ownership of the mansion was the basis of her claim to residency in the Bahamas. In a lawsuit, Smith asked a court to recognize her as the owner and reject Thompson’s claim on the house in the exclusive neighborhood. The island chain’s Supreme Court has scheduled a Feb. 26 hearing on the matter, Munroe said.
Munroe said the process of authenticating Smith’s will could take from a year to 18 months and he declined to name the executor. He said he has not been advised of funeral plans, but that he expected Smith would be buried in the Bahamas alongside Daniel Smith, her 20-year-old son who died here in September.
It was not clear who would get custody of Smith’s baby girl, but Munroe said Sunday that she cannot be taken out of the Bahamas without Stern’s permission.
Munroe said Stern, who is listed on a birth certificate as Dannielynn’s father, was due custody. But two other men have challenged for paternity.
A former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, has filed a lawsuit claiming he is the father. On Friday, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, announced that he had a decade-long affair with Smith and he may be the girl’s father.
The New York Daily News also reported Saturday that a manuscript it obtained by Smith’s half-sister, Donna Hogan, says Smith froze the sperm of her late 90-year-old husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, before his death and may have used it to become pregnant.
Since Marshall’s death in 1995, Smith had been waging a court battle at her death over his estate. A federal court in California awarded Smith $474 million, but that was later overturned. But in May, the U.S. Supreme Court revived her case, ruling that she deserved another day in court.
Experts say the decision of who receives custody could determine the child’s inheritance.
Smith gave birth to Dannielynn on Sept. 7 in a Nassau hospital. Three days later, Daniel Smith died while visiting her in the hospital. A medical examiner hired by the family concluded that he died from an accidental combination of methadone and antidepressants, but results of an official autopsy have not been released. An inquest into his death is scheduled to begin March 27.