Although Anna Nicole Smith sought the spotlight for much of her life, toward the end she remained in the shadows.
"Entertainment Tonight" reporter Mark Steines interviewed Smith numerous times throughout her career. He talked to Smith and her companion, Howard K. Stern, in the Bahamas just days before her death. It was Smith's last television interview.
On "Good Morning America," Steines shared what Smith told him on and off camera.
"Everyone in my life has stabbed me in my back," she said in the interview with Steines. "My whole life, it's just been rough for me...it's always a battle. I feel strong. I'm tired. But...I'm not going to stop fighting."
Steines said that despite her vow to keep fighting for her well-being, Smith didn't seem like her usual self during the last interview. Still, he didn't think her death was imminent.
"I knew that she still wanted to fight, but I could tell during the interview that she wasn't the same," he said. "She still had a lot to live for, she still wanted to live...I just didn't think this kind of end was so close for her."
Sources told "Entertainment Tonight" that Smith was suffering from flu-like symptoms upon her arrival at her Florida hotel on Monday, but her fever had broken by Wednesday. That afternoon, she fell in the bathroom and hit her head. She said she was feeling fine, had a meal and went back to bed.
On Thursday, she retired to her bedroom to take a nap. When she did not wake after a few hours, she was checked on and found to be unresponsive.
From Clowning Around to Under the Influence
Prior to their interview, Steines spent time with Smith and Stern. He said that during the day, Smith seemed happy.
"Earlier in the day, we went to the house she was moving into with Howard...and she was so happy to be there," he said. "She was clowning around, joking...[but] later in the day...she seemed to be very under the influence of something."
Compared with their past conversations, Steines felt that Smith wasn't very lucid.
"She didn't seem as attentive as she had in the past," he said, adding that she didn't seem fully alert off-camera either. "She still was very fragile...at times she would seem coherent, she'd have a conscious stream of thought, and later she would ramble."
Having seen Smith during good times and bad, Steines hopes she's remembered for her successes.
"I felt like Anna Nicole was somebody who really wanted the spotlight...but sadly her life ended pretty empty," he said. "She had very few friends in her life...I hope she's remembered for all the good things she had."
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