Anna Nicole Smith may have the last word yet — and her daughter Dannielynn may become one very, very wealthy girl. In fact, according to Forbes, the 6-year-old daughter of Smith and Larry Birkhead may soon be $49 million richer.
In a decision issued Wednesday, May 29, a federal judge in California put an end to the more than decade-long effort by Smith's estate to nab some of the massive fortune amassed by her unlikely and elderly husband, J. Howard Marshall II, who died just a year into their marriage. (Estimates of his worth range from $500 million to $1 billion.) But the judge also ordered sanctions against the estate of his late son, Pierce, for using delaying tactics in his case against Smith.
"Pierce's bad faith conduct was too pervasive and too egregious to be ignored, despite the fact that he has since passed away. It would promote disrespect for the authority of the federal courts to turn a blind eye to actions that so willfully and blatantly attempted to make a mockery of this justice system. Further, it would reward a party for win-at-all-costs tactics, to the deprivation of his opponent. Such behavior cannot be condoned," U.S. District Judge David O. Carter said. Though he didn't specify the amount in damages, Forbes reports that in March 2012, he estimated they could run up to $49 million.
Smith died of a drug overdose in 2007, but her estate's fight to claim an inheritance from her late husband, who did not include her in his will, has kept her in headlines posthumously. Her daughter Danniellyn had a taste of the spotlight herself when she followed in her late mom's footsteps and posed for Guess Kids. In November 2012, Birkhead appeared on Good Morning America to address critics of his decision to allow her to model.
"Dannielynn has always looked up to her mom's image and said her mom's an angel," Birkhead, a photographer, told GMA. "I think that this is kind of Dannielynn's way of paying tribute to her mom in her own special way. ... To see her mom's picture next to hers as a Guess girl and say, 'Hey, I was a Guess Kids girl, my mommy was a Guess girl,' that might be her only connection with her mom."