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Anna's Mom: Howard Drove Anna and Me Apart

2/21/2007 12:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Virgie Arthur, Anna NIcole Smith's mother, took the stand just a few minutes ago to testify in the hearing concerning the burial of Anna's body, and told the court that her relationship with her daughter deteriorated once she met Howard K. Stern.

"We were close -- we got our nails painted together," said Arthur, who added that she lost touch with Anna when Smith began to abuse drugs. When asked what regrets she had concerning her relationship with her daughter, Virgie said, "I would've kidnapped her" when she began her downward spiral into drug abuse. Arthur also told Judge Larry Seidlin that when she visited Anna Nicole during a health crisis, her minders told her that they had been informed that her mother was dead, which wasn't true.

Howard K. Stern returned from the Bahamas to appear this morning, and the judge asked him to give the court two hours' notice before he decided to fly back to Nassau so that he might be questioned again.

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