Virgie Arthur

Kelly Owen/ZUMApress.com

With all the things written about Anna Nicole Smith and her family in recent years, the only truly surprising news would be that the late model is resting in peace.

Smith's mother and would-be custodian of Dannielynn, Virgie Arthur, has sued her daughter's former companion, Howard K. Stern, and celeb-gossip site TMZ.com for defamation, alleging they ran with a salacious false story in an attempt to damage her reputation.

The purportedly bogus rumor in question appeared in a TMZ item, dated April 19, 2007, entitled "Virgie Has Son with Her Stepbrother."

"Their goal was simple and straightforward—to 'destroy' anyone that was opposed to Howard K. Stern or his interest," stated the lawsuit, filed Monday in Texas state court, in reference to Smith's longtime lawyer turned lover, who at the time was still reportedly reeling from Smith's sudden death that February. He was also fresh from dealing with Arthur's bid for custody of her daughter's remains and battling Larry Birkhead for guardianship of Smith's daughter, Dannielynn.

After much hemming and hawing on grandma's part, DNA testing proved Birkhead's paternal rights, and he was allowed to leave the Bahamas, where Dannielynn was born, with baby in tow on May 1, 2007.

Arthur's suit also names TMZ managing editor Harvey Levin as a defendant. Reps for the site and Stern couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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