Anna Nicole Smith may have passed away more than six months ago, but her surviving friends and family members aren't getting any rest. Or peace.
Just a week after Larry Birkhead publicly defended himself against unspecified though supposedly "explosive allegations" that cost him his exclusive make-nice deal with OK! magazine, the father of Dannielynn is again on the defensive, this time against salacious claims of a more detailed—and disturbing—nature.
In Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith's Death, a new tell-all tome by former MSNBC talking head Rita Cosby released Tuesday, the cable-news pundit launches a series of potentially reputation-damaging allegations against both Birkhead and onetime paternity challenger Howard K. Stern—allegations against which Birkhead has already threatened legal action.
According to a statement released by the book's publisher, Hachette Book Group's Grand Central Publishing, the in-depth account of Smith's death and the players surrounding it will include revelations by Jackie Hatten, a woman who touted herself as Smith's best friend while making the media rounds in the wake of her death earlier this year, about the nature of the men's relationship.
Per a press release sent by Grand Central Publishing, "eyewitnesses say they were caught in a compromising position."
Lest readers worry that the tease is just that, the New York Daily News, which claimed to have received an early copy of the full tome, identified Hatten as the eyewitness.
"Their bodies were intermingled," she told Cosby in the book, adding that she caught the men shirtless and with their pants around their ankles in a Los Angeles home. "It was obvious what was happening."
Both Birkhead and a lawyer for Stern, who has kept a relatively low profile since the paternity battle played out last spring, have come out swinging, adamantly denying not only the same-sex allegations but a slew of other reports in Cosby's book.
"If she printed that, then she is really getting sued," Birkhead told the Daily News. "My attorneys are going after her, and that is absolutely false. And I am sure Howard and the estate and everyone else involved is going to sue her, too. This is just nonsense...None of it is true."
Stern's lawyer, Lin Wood, said that Cosby's allegations were "false and defamatory" and that she "has taken the coverage to a disgusting new low, for which she will be held legally accountable."
"Mr. Stern and I are in the process of reviewing and evaluating Ms. Cosby's book," Wood said in a statement. "It appears that Ms. Cosby has joined the ranks of sleazy tabloid journalists who are willing to publish the print equivalent of sewerage to engage in character assassination for profit."
Per Grand Publishing, which by now is likely good and lawyered up, Blonde Ambition will also delve into "private deals" hashed out between the two men and "how they cut a secret deal which was financially advantageous to both parties, without regard to little Dannielynn."
Cosby writes in the book that Stern was using a "secret" he learned about Birkhead against the Kentucky-born photographer to "suddenly cut a deal with Stern"—which included Birkhead getting custody of Dannielynn and Stern being named executor of Smith's estate—"and dramatically turn his back on Anna's mother, Virgie Arthur."
Cosby also alleges that not only did Smith have "no intention" of staying with Birkhead after getting pregnant by him but she called into question Birkhead's feelings for her, claiming his association with the former Playmate was "based on his desire for celebrity, not love."
Though while the book's publisher apparently has no problem throwing its weight behind the allegations by Cosby—who reportedly introduced Birkhead to his first and subsequently former lawyer Debra Opri—other media outlets aren't so keen on the association.
According to TMZ, Cosby scheduled appearance on Today this week to promote the book was nixed after the morning show received a legal warning from Wood that threatened to hold NBC responsible for any false utterances that emerged from Cosby during the sit-down.
Similar allegations are also reportedly set to hit the newsstand this week, with OK! magazine making good on last week's announcement that it has canceled an exclusive-coverage deal with Birkhead in the wake of "shocking and potentially incriminating" allegations the magazine claims to have unearthed.
"It makes it impossible for OK!, in good conscience, to promote this family's highly questionable relationship in our pages," the magazine said in a statement last week.
"It's unfortuntae," the mag's editor, Sarah Ivens, said, "but at the moment, my biggest fear is that Larry and Howard may have tricked us all."
Speaking to E! Online in the wake of the magazine's cryptic announcement, Birkhead called the rag's reaction "sour grapes" after OK! caught wind that rival tabloid Us Weekly had expressed interest in its exclusive cover subject.
Whatever the reason, Birkhead said he planned to file suit against the magazine for "alluding to the fact that I'd be involved in anything unethical or immoral with my daughter."
The new issue of OK! hits newsstands Wednesday.