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Stern: I Didn't Want to Be Known as Gold-Digger

2/20/2007 4:36 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Howard K. Stern told the court that he didn't want to get formally married to Anna Nicole Smith because he didn't want to be perceived as a gold-digger, even though it was Smith's wish to marry. Stern said he referred to Anna as his wife, and Anna referred to him as her husband. But he acknowledged that their marriage wasn't legally binding.

He also said they were scheduled to get married again this week. Stern added that Anna told him she could not put her son Daniel in the ground unless he (Howard) and Anna "were together."

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