Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Anna Nicole Suffering from Lupus?

A man who said he was a longtime friend of Anna Nicole Smith said the ex-Playmate suffered from the autoimmune disease lupus. "I never told anyone this," Frank Rodriguez told "The Insider" in an exclusive interview. "She asked me to swear I would never, ever ever tell anybody." Rodriguez said he is speaking out now because he doesn't like people calling the late starlet "a drug addict."

"She had a very serious condition, and I think people are entitled to know the truth," he said. Rodriguez said he met Smith and her late son, Daniel, at Disneyland in 1996. He was working for guest relations at the time and was her tour guide on more than one occasion. "We had a very special friendship," he said.

Several people have appeared on news programs claiming to have had a friendship with Smith. But Howard K. Stern, Smith's lawyer and companion, told "The Insider" that Rodriguez was a friend and part of Smith's "inner circle." Smith revealed to Rodriguez that she had lupus in 1998.

"Her whole body would ache," he said. "She would just shut down basically, she would sleep for days on. … She pulled me aside and she told me that she was on medication for it."

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