03/04/2006 07:09 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Anna Nicole Smith Announces Engagement to John Paul Stevens

Actress, exotic dancer and Playboy Playmate (Miss May 1992) Anna Nicole Smith today announced that she is engaged to be married to Justice John Paul Stevens, the senior member of the Supreme Court, who celebrated his thirtieth year on the Court last December. Stevens, who will turn 86 in April, said "It was love at first sight." That first sight came last Wednesday, when Ms. Smith appeared at the Court for the oral argument in Marshall v Marshall, in which she was suing the son of her late husband Howard Marshall for half of his $1.6 billion estate. The 26-year old Smith had met Marshall in 1994 when the 89-year old oil billionaire came into the strip club where she was dancing. He died the following year. Smith's legal name is Vicki Lynn Marshall.

Smith's appearance at the Supreme Court caused ripples of excitement from one end of the bench to the other. Clearly making a reference to her, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. noted that the case "involved a substantial amount of assets." Smith was dressed demurely in all black, "Just like the nine Justices," she said. She asked to meet Stevens afterward, and in her words, "Sparks just flew." Asked about the age difference, Smith said, "When I met Howard, there was a 63-year age difference; this time it is only 47 years. What's the problem?"

When news of the engagement reached her adversary in the lawsuit, E. Pierce Marshall, he angrily demanded that Stevens recuse himself from the case. Smith dismissed the demand, saying "Pookie [her nickname for Stevens] has complete integrity, and there is no rule requiring him to drop out." Questioned by reporters, Smith admitted that she and Stevens have settled on a prenuptial agreement if she does win the case.