A former model, who married an 87-year-old Texan oil billionaire when she was 26 and became a widow 14 months later, has been awarded $449.7 million after a four-year legal battle with his family.
A federal bankruptcy judge said that her claim to half of J Howard Marshall’s vast wealth had been justified. He concluded that Mr Marshall’s son, E Pierce Marshall, had “deprived Smith of her expectancy of an inheritance”.
The oilman met Smith in Rick’s Cabaret strip bar in Houston when he paid for her to dance topless on his lap. Despite his age he was renowned as a “ladies’ man”. After their first meeting, a smitten Mr Marshall spent millions of dollars on presents for Smith, buying her jewellery, clothes and cars.