Anna Nicole Smith is gone, and now so are her riches.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling Thursday denying the descendants of the ex-Playboy Playmate the $89 million-plus judgment previously awarded to her from late oil baron husband J. Howard Marshall's estate.
So what does the decision mean exactly? In a word, nada, as in, that's what Smith's infant daughter and sole heir, Dannielynn, will be getting now that the highest court in the land has weighed in.
In a 5 to 4 vote, the justices sided with the Marshall clan which claimed that Smith was entitled to not one penny of Marshall's $1.6 billion fortune. The verdict caps a 15-year legal battle that began in 1996, when the blonde bombshell sued her stepson Pierce Marshall for half his father's millions, claiming the elder Marshall promised to leave her $300 million.
Smith met the oil magnate in 1991, when he was 85 and she was a 25-year-old stripper then known as Vickie Lynn Hogan. Despite their 63-year age difference, they tied the knot in 1994 after Hogan changed her name to Anna Nicole Smith and became known internationally as a Guess model and Playboy pinup. Fourteen months later, Marshall was dead and left Smith out of his will, prompting her to sue for half his trust.
After hearing oral arguments from both sides, the Supreme Court backed a March 2010 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which concluded that the bankruptcy judge that awarded Smith $89 million essentially lacked the constitutional authority to do so.
That figure stemmed from a $474 million judgment the former E! reality star received prior from a California bankruptcy court that was later reduced on appeal in 2002.
The 9th Circuit first vacated the award in 2004, stating the bankruptcy court overstepped its bounds when it overruled a state court in Texas, which decided that the elderly Marshall was of sound state of mind when he made his will and did not include Anna. The matter, known as Marshall v. Marshall, ended up before the Supreme Court which gave Smith another shot at making her case at the federal level.
Believing she didn't deserve a dime, Marshall's family continued the fight, even after Pierce passed away unexpectedly in 2006 and Anna herself died from a drug overdose the following year.
Revisiting the case, today's Supreme Court ruling effectively puts a limit on bankruptcy courts' jurisdiction in state court matters.
Lawyers for Smith's estate could not be reached for comment.