The service was delayed by last-minute legal bickering. The deceased’s mother was heckled. And the frilly pink casket cover had a smiley face made from Swarovski crystals. So went the surreal funeral of Anna Nicole Smith, who died Feb. 8 and was buried 22 days later alongside her son Daniel in the Bahamas. “I hope there was some closure,” says Smith’s friend and TrimSpa CEO Alex Goen, “but my sense is there may be more to come.”
After a hectic week of hearings to determine where Smith would be laid to rest, around 100 guests gathered inside the Mount Horeb Baptist Cathedral in Sandyport—but not before Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, tried one last time to stop the funeral and have her daughter’s remains sent to Texas. A judge denied her petition, and the funeral, 40 minutes late, got underway. (Onlookers booed Arthur outside the church.) “It was wickedness to say you love somebody and then fight until the body is almost decomposed,” says the Rev. Lloyd C. Smith, who presided over the funeral. Then Smith’s longtime companion Howard K. Stern attacked “so-called family members” during his eulogy. So much for closure.
Harsh emotions eased later at a reception, where guests signed photos of Smith to be given to her daughter Dannielynn when she grows up. Stern and photographer Larry Birkhead, who also claims to be Dannielynn’s father, even “showed a spirit of cooperation,” says Goen, who feels they may work out an arrangement that includes them both.
All the while, 6-month-old Dannielynn was just a few miles away in Smith’s home in the Bahamas, oblivious to the upcoming inquest into Daniel’s death (set for March 26), imminent autopsy results for Smith and the ongoing paternity dispute. “She has Anna’s smile,” says Smith’s friend and Dannielynn’s nanny Gerlene Gibson. “She’s rolling over and trying to pull herself up and playing peek-a-boo. She’s a good baby who sleeps through the night.” In this sad, strange saga, that sort of peace is hard to come by.
Get the latest news on Anna Nicole Smith and the battle over her baby at PEOPLE.COM/ANNA_NICOLE_SMITH