The Supreme Court set to hear Playboy model Anna Nicole Smiths claim at a piece of the fortune of her 90-year-old late husband, Huston oil tycoon.
The court said it would hear arguments early next year as part of Smith's effort to collect as much as $474 million from the estate of J. Howard Marshall II. The oil tycoon married her in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26.
The case promises to be the sexiest of the nine-month term which begins next week.
"She's very excited. She will be attending arguments, there's no question about that," Smith's lawyer, Howard K. Stern, said in a telephone interview from Vermont where the television reality star is filming a movie.
At issue for the Supreme Court is a relatively mundane technical issue: when may federal courts hear claims that are also involved state probate proceedings. But the facts are eye-catching, reports the AP.
Ms Smith, now 37, met her husband, a crippled, frail billionaire who nevertheless still delighted in the company of buxom women young enough to be his grandchildren, when she was a stripper at a nightclub in Houston. Mr Marshall was a frequent visitor.
They married three years later in 1994, with an age difference of 63 years.
It was a union that produced one of the most startling celebrity photographs of the 1990s: Ms Smith, 26, her chest recently enlarged to an eye-catching 36-inch DD, passionately kissing her betrothed, the grey-skinned, wheelchair-bound Mr Marshall, a man who was to live less than a year.
Since his death in 1995, Ms Smith and Pierce Marshall have battled fiercely over the estate. Despite not being named in his will, Ms Smith, whose real name is Vickie Lynn Hogan, claimed that Mr Marshall promised her half his fortune if she married him. But a Texas probate court ruled that the son was the tycoon’s sole heir, and owed Ms Smith nothing.
Meanwhile, Ms Smith continued to spend wildly. Tax bills also mounted up for the tenacre Texas ranch that Mr Marshall bought her, informs Times Online.