What turned out to be a life-long struggle with prescription pill abuse began after Smith had breast enhancement surgery in the 1980s, Missy recalls, the then-aspiring model having said that she felt the only thing holding her back from stardom was her boobs being too small.
“Valium, Xanax, Lortabs, Vicodin and the Klonopin,” Missy says. “From that time on, she was always taking them. There was nothing she could do to stop it.”
In a TV interview from the 1990s shown in the film, Smith laments all the tabloid attention paid to her, protesting, “I’m just one little person and I’ve got 50 things thrown at me, and I’m like, you know, what did I do? What did I ever do, but, you know, take pills? [Laughing] Well, take pills and drink alcohol. But I’ve never hurt anybody!”
Missy says that Smith was also under a lot of stress at the time because she was trying to hide her drug use from Marshall, who was back home in Texas while his young wife was working in L.A.
“I’m starting to notice changes in her personality,” Missy recalls. “She’s getting to where she’s no longer grateful to Mr. Marshall. She’s really treating him like an ATM kind of now.” Marshall’s credit card had an “ungodly limit,” she adds, and Smith “maxes it out.”
The film includes snippets of answering machine messages Marshall, who died in 1995, left for his bride, saying things like, “Please call your man, I love you,” and “this is your man, trying to find his lady fair.” One recording has her picking up, and he tells her he had a dream that he was put on earth to “try to make life better for you than when you were young.” She replies, “I know, honey. Tell me tomorrow, I’ll forget tonight.” He tells Smith, “Take care, precious package.”