Even as the E! network was hiring überfitness trainer Tony Little to get the increasingly plus-sized Anna Nicole Smith into shape, her lawyer and companion, Howard K. Stern, was already brokering a deal with TrimSpa, Little tells TV Guide — an arrangement which would have netted Stern a lot of cash.
"I was brought in as a trainer, to get her to drop the weight and get her motivated," Little recalls. But, as others who tried to help Smith found, the bombshell wasn't particularly interested in helping herself. "She was a very tough case."
Little helped install a home gym and tried to get Smith to begin a regimen, in the hopes that she'd lose weight in a healthy way. "I'm a high-energy motivating guy," he explains. "If you could get her to smile and joke it was cool, but all of a sudden she would zone off. She was so depressed and so medicated, it was an impossibility for me to conquer."
Smith's lack of motivation may have been due to the fact that Stern "was already trying to negotiate a TrimSpa deal, because they were going to pay him a lot of money," Little says. Little did his best to convince Smith that as a trainer, he was certain she could lose the weight and keep it off through dieting and exercise. "'Pills wouldn't give you the results,'" he recalls telling her, "but she said she needed the money, and it was a good endorsement deal."
With Smith's lack of interest and motivation — combined with "Howard Stern in the house, there every second, and [son] Daniel, who seemed to be just as depressed as his mom" — Little found it a beyond-daunting task. Daniel "was very sad," the trainer remembers. "I can't remember him saying two words or lifting his eyes from the carpet."
The entire situation was "sad," Little says with a sigh. "There's nothing worse that can happen than losing your child, and she no doubt felt terribly sad. She had such a hard time in her life. If she was depressed before, after Daniel died she had to be beyond depressed."
Little concurs with many of those on the periphery of Smith's life, saying, "She was on medication to handle it." He then shrugs, "I don't know the Howard K. Stern angle. It's a very strange thing, how he was there every second of every minute of every day in every area. It was a very hard situation."
Anna Nicole "was truly sweet, but beyond loss," Little says in conclusion. "If you add depression and you add medication.... It wasn't a good environment. She did beat [early] adversity, but she seemed to be making the wrong decisions."
The TV Guide Channel looks back at Smith's rise and tragic fall with Anna Nicole: An Unfinished Life, which retraces her career from her emergence as a top model to her courtroom battles to her reality-TV comeback. Also examined: her last months, her unresolved lawsuits and her final legacy. Check local listings. Revisit Smith's life in pictures in our photo gallery.
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