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Thursday, 8 March, 2001, 01:08 GMT
Court rules against ex-Playmate
Anna Nicole Smith
Smith will now face a stronger challenge in California
A court in Texas has ruled that former stripper and Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith was not entitled to any money from her billionaire husband's estate.

Ms Smith, 33, had married oil tycoon J Howard Marshall II, when he was 89.

Anna and J Howard Marshall
Anna with her husband, 63 years her senior
When he died 14 months later, in 1994, she said he had promised her half of his fortune - estimated at $1.6bn - although she did not appear in his will.

Wednesday's ruling in Houston says that neither she nor her husband's elder son, J Howard Marshall III, were entitled to any of the estate.

The jury found that the oilman's younger son - E Pierce Marshall - is the sole heir.

Californian challenge

The five-month Houston case had become a battle between the two brothers, after Ms Smith dropped out.

However, the judgement will strengthen E Pierce Marshall's appeal against an earlier ruling in California, which awarded Ms Smith $475m in a federal bankruptcy case.

The Houston jury ordered J Howard Marshall III to pay $30m in damages to his brother and other family members for interfering with their inheritance rights.

Spoilt

Anna Nicole Smith met J Howard Marshall II in 1991, when he was wheeled in to the Houston strip club where she was working.

Anna Nicole Smith
Anna spent five days in court
At the time, the 22-year-old Ms Smith was a struggling single mother, trying to support a young son.

Three years later the couple married, and she developed a modelling career.

In 1993, she was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Year.

In the Houston case, she gave evidence for five days, telling the court that her husband had promised to adopt her son and leave her half his estate.

She produced no documentary evidence to support either claim.

On the last day of her evidence, she appeared in court wearing a top with the word "Spoiled" embroidered in rhinestones across her chest.

She said that her husband had always like to spoil her on Valentine's Day.

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See also:

28 Sep 00 | Americas
Ex-Playmate shares tycoon's estate
22 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Ex-Playmate sued for $4m
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