Plus: A judge in California orders Smith's DNA samples to be tested
Anna Nicole Smith wished to be buried in the Bahamas, next to her son, Daniel, according to her companion Howard K. Stern – whom Broward County Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin decided is within his legal rights to seek custody of the former Playmate’s remains.
“Anna was very firm. The Bahamas was her home. That’s where she wanted to raise [her daughter] Dannielynn, and she wanted Daniel to be near her,” Stern said during a hearing in a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., courtroom Tuesday over who will get custody of Smith’s remains and where she’ll be buried.
Stern also said that his relationship with Smith turned intimate in 2000 – though, he also acknowledged, she did see other men. Stern, one of at least three men claiming paternity of Smith’s daughter, lives in the Bahamas with the 5-month-old baby and told the court that he and Smith were set to wed this month, reports CNN.
“She was my best friend, my lover, the mother of my daughter. She was everything to me, literally everything. My whole world,” he said.
Arguing against Stern’s being given custody of Smith’s body was the former model’s estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, who stakes her claim on the fact that her daughter and Stern were not married, making her the next of kin.
Shown in court Tuesday was interview footage of Smith verbally criticizing her mother, whom Smith accused of “beatings and whippings” when she was as old as 21, FOX News reports.
In the video, which came from Entertainment Tonight, Smith said Arthur did not know her or her son and would never know her baby daughter.
Also seeking custody of the body was Richard Milstein, a Miami lawyer appointed last week to represent the interests of Dannielynn.
In seeking the right to choose where Anna Nicole would be buried, Stern said that among the discussions he had with Smith following the death of her 20-year-old son Daniel last September (three days after the birth of Dannielynn) was about burial plots.
“She talked about death really from the time I met her,” Stern said in court, FOX News reports. “Anna always thought in a way that she was going to die young. She thought she was going to be like Marilyn Monroe, she thought she would die at the age of 36 or 37.”
Among the prospective sites was in Westwood, Calif., near the grave of Marilyn Monroe, said Stern. But that was before Smith came to decide the family should be buried in the Bahamas.
“It was never, ‘Where is Daniel going to be?’ ” said Stern, according to CNN. “All of the discussions were always in the context ‘where are we all going to be?
“Then she wanted me to look into how secure the ground plots were and whether bugs could get to a body, because both she and Daniel were afraid of bugs,” he said. “And once that concern was alleviated … she picked out two double plots side by side that Daniel is currently resting in and where she wants to be as well.”
According to Stern: “Anna and Daniel were inseparable. Daniel was without question the most important person in Anna’s life. From the time I met her, everything was for Daniel.
“I would say that physically, she died last week, but in a lot of ways, emotionally she died when Daniel died,” he added.
Also in the Florida courtroom was Smith’s ex-boyfriends, Larry Birkhead, who also claims to be the father of Smith’s daughter.
Meanwhile in a California court, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Schnider ruled on Tuesday that the Florida coroner must allow Birkhead’s experts to test the DNA samples that were already taken from Smith’s body to determine paternity of Dannielynn.
Birkhead’s attorney Debra Opri has also filed papers asking Schnider to order Stern to submit Danielynn’s DNA. Birkhead had originally asked Smith to submit herself and her baby. Now that Smith is dead, Birkhead is asking that Stern arrange for the baby’s testing.
A hearing on the matter is set for next month.