Book shows Anna Nicole Smith's early years

March 21, 2008 8:08:05 AM PDT
It's been more than year since Houston native Anna Nicole Smith died of a drug overdose at a Florida hotel. And she is still making news.

Earlier this month, a California court awarded the rights to her estate to her daughter, Dannielynn. And now, we're getting an exclusive look at a part of Smith's story you haven't heard and pictures you've never seen.

The author of a new book says she knew Anna Nicole long before she was famous and was with her as she rose to the top.

"The face, she was exquisite," said Missy Bynum of Smith.

It was 1987 and Missy was working at the Executive Suite, a topless bar on Houston's north side.

"Take me back to when you met Vickie Lynn Hogan," we said.

"She walked into the Executive Suite to apply for a waitressing job and I was working as a dancer at that point," said Missy. "We became friends almost immediately."

As Missy and Vickie's friendship took off, so did Vickie's career.

"Her clothes changed, her makeup changed. She adapted very, very quickly to the dancers lifestyle," said Missy.

Vickie's name changed, too.

"Do you think that was the beginning of Vickie Lynn Hogan becoming Anna Nicole Smith?" we asked.

"When I met, her she was the most self-assured person that I had ever met," said Missy. "She believed that her dreams were going to come true and eventually they did."

And Missy went along for the ride.

[SEE PHOTOS FROM THE BOOK]

Helping her friend she now knew as Nikki at photo shoots from Playboy to Guess.

"There was always something different about her, something special and she knew it," said Missy.

Anna Nicole also knew about Missy's longtime battle with drugs.

"Ironically enough, it was her who pulled me back," said Missy.

"So she got you off your addiction?" we asked.

"She took me to a place where being lucid was so much more exciting and it was like, why do you want to waste your time being on drugs."

"Do you think she saved your life?"

"Oh absolutely."

Missy says she's been clean now for fifteen years and most know the ironic twist the story takes from here.

In September of 2006, Anna Nicole's son, Daniel, died of a drug overdose.

"At that minute, I knew it wasn't going to be long," said Missy. "I just knew she was going to go after him."

"Because his death would affect her so greatly?" we asked.

"Yeah, yeah, people can't live without a heart," said Missy.

Five months later, Smith died of a drug overdose in a Florida hotel.

"I'm still angry because that wasn't the plan, was for her to get rich and famous and help all the other struggling young mothers," said Missy.

"What do you think she would think of all of it?" we asked.

"The thing that really stands out in my head is, my God. She's dying just like she lived. Chaos, utter chaos," said Missy.

Missy says that chaos is what drove her to write about the young woman she knew.

"Why did you decide to write this book?" we asked

"The biggest one to clear up the lies," she said. "I've watched seven million things on her on TV and I'm going, that's not what I witnessed. That's not what I saw. The big thing for me is her mother."

After the death of Anna Nicole, Virgie Arthur practically became a household name during legal battles over where to bury Smith's body and who would get custody of Smith's infant daughter Dannielynn. Arthur lost both court battles.

We asked if she thought Virgie got a fair shake.

"Absolutely not," she replied. "And let me make it clear there was a point in time when Virgie and I were not friends. I watched this woman back when there was no money to be made helping Nikki or Daniel and come to their rescue time after time after time."

We asked if she was concerned that people will say oh here's another person trying to cash in on the life of Anna Nicole Smith?"

"Yes, if money was my only objective I have stuff I could sell right now probably but I chose to keep them because once upon a time she was my best friend and I loved her," she said.

While their friendship faded years ago, Missy still wears a necklace Anna Nicole gave to her.

"She broke it in half and said here put this on your chain," Missy said.

Missy Byrum says the words in this book are her final goodbyes.

"I want them to know that she was beautiful and I'm not talking about what she looked like," she said.

Missy's book, "When You Wished Upon a Star" hit store shelves this week.

We contacted Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, about the book. She confirms her daughter was good friends with Byrum and says her story is credible.

Read an excerpt from the Ann Nicole Smith book called When You Wished Upon a Star by Missy Byrum.

- Headlines at a glance


Load Comments