We can’t believe this year will mark the 10-year anniversary of Anna Nicole Smith‘s death.
In an exclusive interview with In Touch, the fomer Playmate’s ex-boyfriend Mark Hatten opens up about what he believes killed her — which he says is “a broken heart” after she lost her son, Daniel, to a drug overdose.
“When I heard Daniel died I knew she wouldn’t last long. I’ve seen people pamper their kids but he was literally her world. She died of a broken heart,” he explains.
Keep scrolling to read more from his exclusive interview.
In Touch: Tell me when you first started dating Anna Nicole.
Mark Hatten: Just a little pre-info on that, my sister Jackie Hatten had been her best friend since the Playboy days, like 1992 or something like that. Jackie had always known Anna and always told me she knew Anna Nicole and I was like, “She is my favorite!” I was married to someone else at the time, the mother of my kids, but things didn’t work out down the line and I ended up getting a divorce. I was introduced to her on the telephone in 2000 and I was pretty rude to her because I didn’t believe it was actually her. We decided to go out for Italian food because that’s what she wanted. The first time I saw her she looked at me and said, “Oh my God, I want to have a baby with you!” We didn’t really need an introduction because we had already talked on the phone and she just said she wanted to have a baby, a baby girl specifically. Then she even said she wanted to name the baby Nicolette, but then when she actually had a little girl she named her Dannielynn because of her son. We dated from January 2000 to March 2002. We were living together.
In Touch: Take me through your breakup with Anna Nicole.
Mark Hatten: Well we had drama when her husband died because Howard K. Stern never wanted me to been seen with Anna. Her attorney had to advise her accordingly and said it weakened the case because she was trying to play the part of the grieving widow and if she’s in the tabloids it looks like she didn’t want that guy. I got really tired of her sneaking around. She would come and see me — she would see me if Howard didn’t know about it or Daniel didn’t know about it because she didn’t want to hear anything from Howard. She would sneak and see me and I got sick of living like that. I moved to Arizona and was coaching my kids’ little league team. I still had a house full of my personal property at Anna’s house — one thing, in particular, that was of high value was an NBA Chicago Bulls championship ring, game number five — the roman numeral V. She wanted that because her real name is Vicky and she kept it, but I wanted my ring back.
(Photo Credit: In Touch)
In Touch: Tell me about your story and how you ended up in prison.
Mark Hatten: You know everything I testified to came to light and came to be true. My sworn testimony was that Anna Nicole was going to die of a drug overdose. Howard K. Stern was giving her drugs and I tried to stop it. I watched Anna have what’s called a “grandma’s seizure” just from drinking bottles of stuff that Howard would bring to her. Phenergan, cough syrup, Terpin hydrate cough syrup — and she would drink it and get a good buzz, she would be fine and gelled out, but then all of a sudden she would turn gray and turn on her side and vomit all over herself. It was sad and very disturbing to me. I did everything I could to get Anna off drugs and help her live her life. I was set up. I contacted Pierce Marshall’s office to let them know that Anna was getting loaded on meds and using drugs, and when she does she changes. She had a split personality going on and she kept asking me to get rid of Pierce Marshall, to kill him. She even showed me where she had a cat in the hat, and in there was a gun and a knife. She wanted me to find and kill Pierce. From the first time I met her when she saw him in the newspaper, she said that Pierce was the devil and he needed to die. I was afraid that, because there were a lot of electronics in her house that I didn’t understand, I thought that something was recording our conversations and I didn’t want to be arrested for conspiracy to commit murder. If the conversations of her asking me to kill Pierce Marshall, who ended up dead while I was locked up — if that conversation was recorded I wanted to make it clear — look, I told Anna I would handle it but then I woke up and was like “Oh my God.” I called my dad and was like, “What am I doing?” I never had a felony or been arrested so I wanted to straighten it out. I called the office to tell him what happened and said, “If anything happens to you I don’t want to be held accountable, she has asked me to murder you when she gets loaded.” I never killed him or would ever think to do that! No way!
From that, the FBI wanted me to wear a wire and I disappeared on the FBI. I was supposed to meet them but I didn’t go. I was living at her house at the time, and I didn’t go back there. When I didn’t show up and follow through to wear the wire after the FBI bugging the phone call and me calling and talking to her — they tried to convince me, they said, “Listen she’s on so many drugs.” They said, “You have to save Anna’s life.” I said I wanted to help but I didn’t want her in jail. But then I said maybe jail would be okay if it would straighten her out. I agreed to do it, but then I talked to my attorney and he told me that if I wear the wire and if it’s recorded of her to ask you to kill anyone, then it’s murder for hire and she will get life with no parole.
(Photo Credit: In Touch)
In Touch: What exactly were you arrested for?
Mark Hatten: I was at Anna’s house with a photographer, David Lowell. I knocked on the front door, Daniel and Kimberly Walters came to the front door, Anna was in the bedroom. I was told to go around the back like always and that’s what I did. Renee Navarro, a neighbor of hers, came over and tried to throw me off the property. He started getting rough with me, tried to grab a hold of me. I ended up getting elbowed in the eye — I could have beat the crap out of this guy if I wanted to; I’m 6 ‘6, he’s only 5’5. I was charged with a battery on the neighbor. Here are my charges: battery on the neighbor, a criminal threat against Renee Navarro (the neighbor) because I picked up a cinder block and said, “Don’t let your pit bulls on me.” Then I was charged with a great bodily injury to him because he said I kicked him in the thumb. What actually happened was that he pushed his way through the wooden gate on her property and it snapped back on his thumb. He ended up suing Anna Nicole for getting hurt on her property. He tried to end up the hero but then ended up suing Anna Nicole. I was charged with great bodily injury when he went and got a carpal tendon surgery on his thumb, but he was a metal polisher and in business for 25 years! In my opinion, it was a repetitive motion. So I was charged on three things for Renee Navarro and two for Anna Nicole — one was a criminal threat for allegedly saying that I was coming over and “packing my stuff” when “packing” supposedly meant a firearm. I didn’t even own one! Then there was a count of stalking on me because Howard K. Stern called 911 on me. Anna never called 911 on me, he did. I have the tape! He set me up as good as he could. He had a lot of juice with the DA in LA, he’s an attorney, he knows the Jewish mafia, I’m a big Viking guy. I was acquitted of the stalking charge and the criminal threat against Navarro. I was convicted of a threat against Anna Nicole for saying, “I’m coming over and packing my stuff,” and I was convicted of the battery and injury from Navarro.
(Photo Credit: In Touch)
In Touch: So you spent time in jail for something you didn’t even do?
Mark Hatten: Six years, eight months of my life and got two strikes in CA for a misdemeanor battery.
In Touch: Do you blame Anna for that?
Mark Hatten: Actually, I blame myself for really not taking the deal and for firing my attorney, Peter L. Knecht. He could have easily handled this. I blame myself for not listening to Anna. She did what she felt was right at the time and what she had to do to keep peace with Howard. If she had not gone against me at that point, then she could have opened herself up for a giant lawsuit. I’ll tell you this, Anna Nicole agreed — and the DA came to me and said Anna did not want to go forward with the case against me. She was willing to drop all cases against me as long as I pleaded guilty to the battery with the Renee Navarro on her property. She didn’t want to go to trial, just have me plead guilty with the case with the neighbor.
In Touch: Did she ever apologize for you ending up in prison for so long?
Mark Hatten: Not to me personally, no. I never spoke to Anna after I went to jail.
(Photo Credit: In Touch)
In Touch: When you were together, how often was she getting messed up?
Mark Hatten: She was taking pills daily. When she was soliciting murder from me is when she was drinking this stuff out of a bottle. I think Anna lost a lot of her soul along the line. Drugs change people. There was a lot of money involved too, a $2 billion motive in her mind. If Pierce would have just died, she thought she could just get the money. She just wanted that money. She hated Pierce because she married J. Howard Marshall, the billionaire, and Pierce, the stepson, according to Anna Nicole, forged or made J. Howard Marshall sign the documents under duress. I believe they were forged. In other words, J. Howard Marshall died broke. She went off to California — she left him crying in a wheelchair the day of her wedding. He never had his wedding. They thought she was a gold digger, a stripper, white trash — all of that. They found it very hard to believe she actually loved J. Howard Marshall. To further that, right after he said “I do,” she told him that she got a phone call and was going to France with her bodyguard because she had to do a photo shoot for her modeling career. He was like, “But you’re a billionaire-ess, you don’t need to work, stay here with me.” She just kept saying she wanted to go because she wanted to be famous. So she went with the black bodyguard, which you know back in those days, it’s Texas — he was very embarrassed and she left him crying in his wheelchair when they were supposed to be going on the honeymoon! Then after that, she would pop in occasionally to see her husband and then go off to California to work on her career. He gave her money and she bought Marilyn Monroe’s house. J. Howard Marshall’s own son didn’t even inherit a penny from the estate. The son, his biological son, was disinherited. Pierce Marshall, his stepson, inherited all of it.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
In Touch: How would you describe her as a mother to her son?
Mark Hatten: Wonderful. She was overprotective. I’ll mimic her “Daniel, what do you want to have to eat? Do you want to have some Popeye’s Chicken? Whatever you want sweet, little Daniel!”
In Touch: So anything he wanted, she would give him?
Mark Hatten: Oh yeah. That’s an understatement.
In Touch: Did she do drugs around him?
Mark Hatten: He was always concerned about his mother’s drug use. He never did any drugs in any capacity, he never drank, so I was shocked, shocked when I heard he died of a drug overdose. He was a good boy.
In Touch: Was she ever on drugs in his presence?
Mark Hatten: Yes.
In Touch: Was it bad?
Mark Hatten: I remember that she would take her prescribed medications and she would pass out. I recall two or three times the “grandma seizure” where she would turn on her side and throw up. One time she was on her way to Fashion Island to get a boob job and she told Howard that “nothing better happen to Mark, he better be here when I get back.”
In Touch: When you were dating her, were you concerned she would die of an overdose?
Mark Hatten: Absolutely. Anna was obsessed, I don’t say this lightly at all, she was absolutely convinced that she was going to die of a drug overdose like her idol Marilyn Monroe. She said, “I just know it’s going to happen.” I was in prison when she turned 38 years old and I was so relieved, but it didn’t last very long. When I heard Daniel died I knew she wouldn’t last long. I’ve seen people pamper their kids but he was literally her world. She died of a broken heart.