What Was Anna Nicole Smith’s Real Name?

Late model and reality television star, Anna Nicole Smith, is one of many celebrities best known by a stage name. But she also used a couple of other monikers. What name was on the late star’s birth certificate? And how did she come up with her showbusiness name?

Anna Nicole Smith in red, lying on a bed in front of a portrait of her late husband, J. Howard Marshall II
Anna Nicole Smith | Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic

Anna Nicole Smith was a stage name

Smith is best known by her stage name, Anna Nicole Smith, which she chose at the outset of her modeling career. According to her, she used help from a famous friend in finding a designation that had the right ring.

“Anna Nicole came from Guess Jeans. Paul Marciano and me and one of his friends, we were sitting around coming up with a stage name, and that’s where that came from,” Smith told CNN’s Larry King in 2002.

But the last name Smith was not hers at birth. “That’s my other married name,” she explained. “That’s my first married name.”

Anna Nicole Smith’s birth name was Vickie Lynn Hogan

Before she took the last name Smith, she was born Vickie Lynn Hogan in Texas in 1967. She came from harsh impoverishment but had dreams of being Marilyn Monroe.

In the CNN interview with King, the host mentioned that Smith dropped out of school after completing the eighth grade. Following that, she went to work at a local restaurant and met a cook named Billy Smith. At 17, she became a teenage bride, then gave birth to their son, Daniel, in 1986.

But Smith’s first marriage didn’t work out and she was eventually a single mother. Before finding modeling success, she worked at Wal-Mart and Red Lobster. But she told King she “couldn’t make ends meet” in minimum wage jobs.

Eventually, she decided to go to work in what she called “gentleman’s clubs” to make more money. “And it was really horrible for me,” she told King, adding that the establishments were “dark.”  

However, she ultimately met her second husband, J. Howard Marshall II, while dancing in a club. And she said he “saved her” from the line of work.   

Vickie Lynn Smith became Vickie Lynn Marshall 

Marshall was an ultra-wealthy oil tycoon. Smith was in her 20s when he was in his 80s, so some outlets accused her of gold-digging. However, she told King that her second husband adored and cared for her in a way no one else ever had.

According to Marshall’s one-time driver, his staff worried about him before he met Smith in 1991. Dan Manning told New York magazine that his boss was in a state of terrible mourning. So, he suggested “it might be time for a new young lady.”

Marshall agreed and they went to the club where Smith was a dancer. Manning shared that Marshall might have been in love by the next day. Smith later told King that the billionaire proposed to her a week after they met but she turned him down. “I said that I had wanted to try and make something out of my life …,” she explained.

But Marshall was persistent. The two were married in 1994 and Smith became Vickie Lynn Marshall — the name she used to contest her exclusion from part of his fortune after his 1995 death. The legal battle turned Smith into a long-term tabloid target until the time of her own death on Feb. 8, 2007.

Of note, she reached legendary fame for her figure, her love life, and her signature blonde hair — much like her idol, Monroe. A sad similarity is how close they were in age at their times of death. Monroe died when she was 36 and Smith when she was 39 — and both of overdoses, tragically.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

RELATED: Fans Demand Justice For Anna Nicole Smith After Clips From ‘The Howard Stern Show’ Emerge on Social Media