As a documentary film living up to its title in every way conceivable, Netflix’s ‘Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me’ can only be described as equal parts intriguing, bewildering, and haunting. That’s because it includes not just never before seen footage but also exclusive interviews with some crucial individuals to really shine a light upon the titular model-actress’ tragic life and death. Yet for now, if you wish to learn more about the enigmatic Howard K. Stern — her personal lawyer turned close friend turned domestic partner — we’ve got all the necessary details for you.
Who is Howard K. Stern?
It was reportedly back when Los Angeles native Howard was quite young that he first developed a keen interest in our judicial system, only for it to continue expanding as the years passed. He thus enrolled at UCLA Law to receive his Juris Doctorate as soon as he was done with his Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, enabling him to find his way to the State Bar by early 1994. Thus, of course, by the time he came across Anna for the first time in 1998 while she was battling for her late second husband J. Howard Marshall’s estate, he had enough experience to impress her.
Hence began their deep-rotted connection, only for it to gradually evolve from a friendship to a relationship — in fact, by the time Anna’s daughter Dannielynn was born in September 2006, he was believed to be her father. The truth is it was his name on her birth certificate too, but his partner’s ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead subsequently began claiming the child was his, which then led to a bitter legal feud for custody. The fact Anne passed away from an accidental drug overdose mere months later didn’t help his situation either, especially as people began wondering if he had anything to do with her demise.
It was strange for Howard to be on the other side of the law with cases against him, but he definitely knew what he was doing. For starters, he didn’t appeal for custody even once when DNA testing confirmed Dannielynn was actually Larry’s. Then, in 2009, alongside two of his late partner’s doctors, he pleaded not guilty to conspiring to illegally provide her with controlled substances using fake names or false pretenses. This matter was hence taken to the County Courts, only for it to ultimately be dismissed (in early 2011) since there were absolutely no signs of deliberate foul play or even suicide in Anna’s demise.
Where is Howard K. Stern Now?
If we’re being honest, not much is known about Howard’s current standing since he has preferred to keep a large majority of both his public as well as private life well away from the limelight since 2011. Though we do know he’s managed to remain in contact with Dannielynn despite Larry having sole legal custody — as the executor of Anna’s estate, he has been able to converse with her without any issues regarding her mother. Plus, in 2020, when he planned to let go of the storage unit that had been housing several of Anna’s belongings owing to the expenses, he gave everything to a then 13-year-old Dannielynn.
As for Howard’s professional standing, it appears as if he is still in the legal field and has been actively working with the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office since 2019. We should also mention that the attorney has reportedly never remarried or had any children, so the old claims he was simply with Anna for name, fame, and money do seem moot.