Weird Celebrities

Anna Nicole Smith – The Mexia Years

posted by Chris Valentine

Mexia, Texas

  • Anna Nicole Smith was originally born as Vickie Lynn Hogan on November 28, 1967 in Houston, Texas. She was the only child of Donald Eugene Hogan and Virgie Mae Tabers, although she did have half-sisters and half-brothers. Virgie Tabers was only 16 when Vickie was born.

    donald hogan
    Donald Hogan
  • Half-sister Donna Hogan lived in Splendora, Texas. She recently wrote a book entitled Train Wreck: The Life and Death of Anna Nicole Smith which will be released on April 17th, 2007. She was recently reported as saying “What a freaking waste of a human being, my sister is.” Half-sister Amy Hogan was reported to be homeless in 2004 (unconfirmed).

    Dark Roots
  • Mom and dad divorced 2 years later and Vickie Hogan was raised by her mother and maternal aunt, Elaine Tabers. Virgie Tabers subsequently married Donald R. Hart (1971), Joe D. Thompson (1987), James T. Sanders (1996) and James H. Arthur (2000). After Tabers married Donald R. Hart, Vickie Hogan changed her name to Nikki Hart.

    Virgie Arthur
    Virgie Arthur, Vickie’s Mom – Married 5 times
  • In the 9th grade, Nikki Hart moved to the city of Mexia, Texas to live with her Aunt Kay Beall., whom she called “Mama II”. “Anna was my pet,” says Beall, a former attendant at a state school for mentally ill children. “She used to come over and stay with me and clean my house. I’d give her five dollars of my food stamps to let her go to the store and get some candy.”

    Mexia
    Mexia
    Photos of Mexia, TX
  • At Mexia High School she failed her freshman year, and dropped out of her sophomore, never progressing past an eighth grade education. The school barely remembers her.

    Nikki Hart Yearbook
    Nikki Hart Yearbook Photo, 1985
  • While working as a waitress at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken in Mexia, she met Billy Smith, who was a cook at the restaurant. The couple married in 1985 – she was 17 and he was 16.

    “He was sweet and he was so cute back there, cookin’ chicken,” said Anna Nicole.

    The next year, she gave birth to their son, Daniel Wayne Smith. She and Billy separated in 1987 and she moved to Houston with one-year-old Daniel.

    Jims Krispy Fried Chicken
    Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken – Highly recommended for good cheap eats
    312 E Milam St
    Mexia, TX 76667
  • Billy Smith still lives in Mexia. The town barely remembers her.
  • Once home to 35,000 residents after a 1920s oil boom, Mexia’s older neighborhoods are now a mix of clapboard houses and mobile homes. Its largest employers are Mexia State School, a facility for the mentally disabled; the hospital and school district. The median income for a family was less than $30,000, compared to nearly $46,000 statewide, according the 2000 U.S. Census. One of every five families lived below the poverty line.
  • Interviews in Mexia:

    Nan Capers, a special education teacher at the high school, stopped in for dinner and said she remembered Ms. Smith. “She stood back, not one who would really strike you,” Ms. Capers said, adding that Ms. Smith did not participate in band or any other extracurricular activities. “I never got on to her for anything. She was very much a loner.” “Way back when she was being famous, she kept saying Mexia was her home,” Ms. Capers said. “I guess she felt like this was more home than anywhere else she’s been.”

    Bob Crider, a retired biology teacher at Mexia High School, said he taught Ms. Smith in 1984. “She was tall, she was skinny, and she was a brunette at that time,” he said. “She was an average student.” The thing he remembered about her, he said, was that she wouldn’t dissect a pig for biology class and told him she wasn’t going to “poke that pig.” Mr. Crider said she didn’t run around with any particular group. “It’s always been peculiar to me why she called Mexia home,” he added. “I just assumed she had two good years here.”

    No one answered the door at the home of ex-husband Billy Smith, whom Mr. Crider described as a recluse.

  • Interview with Steve Hughes, owner of Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken:

    A tall, skinny teenager, Ms. Smith was nice and unassuming, Mr. Hughes said. Nothing, including her brunette hair and average bust-size, revealed a glimpse of the ersatz Marilyn Monroe she became. “She was just another teenager working in a fast-food restaurant,” Mr. Hughes said. “Only a handful of people in this town really knew her.”

    Mr. Hughes, a trim and youthful 44, bought the restaurant from his father, an Air Force veteran, in 1986. Already a popular restaurant, it became even more so late last week. Media vans and trucks jammed the perimeter of the property along U.S. Highway 84, also known as East Milam Street, the main business route through town.

    By Friday morning, Mr. Hughes was on guard to keep the media cameras at bay, permitting only a Fox TV crew in the door. But his face and voice betrayed his tension when he was asked yet again what Ms. Smith’s life was like when she worked at Jim’s.

    “Take a look around,” he said. “She was a teenager like everyone else in here.” Then he added: “She had nothing and nobody really. She didn’t have any roots here.”

    The phrase “She had no roots here” was often repeated around Mexia.

    Ms. Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, had asked her daughter why she overstated her small-town roots in Mexia.

    “She said, ‘Mom, nobody wants to read books or see people on TV concerning, you know, middle-class girl found a rich millionaire and married him. There’s not a story in that,’ ” Ms. Arthur recalled on Good Morning America. “She said, ‘The story is I come from rags to riches, and so that’s what I’m going to tell.’ ”

Coming Up: Anna Nicole Smith – The Houston Years

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