Vanity’s NFL Ex-Husband Was Sentenced To Three Life Terms In Prison For Unspeakable Crime

Posted On : February 12, 2021
(L) Former Vanity 6 singer, Denise “Vanity” Matthews; (R) Vanity with her then husband/retired NFL player, Anthony Smith, on their wedding day

Anthony Smith (53), ex-husband of late ex-Vanity 6 lead singer, Denise “Vanity” Matthews, is currently serving three life sentences after being convicted of three horrific crimes. Aside from being Vanity’s ex-husband, Anthony is the former star NFL defensive end for the Oakland Raiders (from 1991-1997). He later signed with the Denver Broncos, before suddenly walking away from that contract and retiring from the NFL altogether. That’s when life begin to spiral out of control for Anthony. His friends and family say he had two personalities- a short tempered man who can be cold at times; and the 6’4″ 320 pound gentle giant, with very polite manners. For Vanity, he seemed to be a nightmare…and the man who helped save her life at one point. Details below…

Why Vanity’s Ex-Hubby Was Convicted Of 3 Life Terms

In 2016, Anthony was convicted of three consecutive life sentences, without the possibility of parole in a Lancaster, Ca. court forĀ  the 1999 murders and kidnapping of brothers/business owners, Kevin and Ricky Nettles; as well as the 2001 murder of Dennis Henderson. Smith might also be re-tried in a fourth murder case for the 2008 shooting death of Maurilio Ponce, a 31-year-old auto-mechanic. That particular 2012 Ponce case ended in a mistrial after the jury was deadlocked.

The Nettles brothers’ bodies were found with their heads wrapped in duct tape. Henderson was found stabbed and brutally beaten to death in the back of a rental car.

Former NFL player, Anthony Smith

Love At First Sight For Vanity & Smith…They Married QUICK

It was during Anthony’s stint with the Oakland Raiders that he and Vanity had a short marriage…and an even shorter courtship. Word on the old school curb is that Vanity met Anthony — who was eight years her junior — and she actually proposed to him THREE DAYS later. They wed in 1995.

Sadly, Their Marriage Wasn’t All Good…It Was Reportedly Violent

Denise “Vanity” Matthews with then husband/retired NFL player, Anthony Smith

Here is what was reported by GQ Magazine about their tumultuous relationship:

Vis GQ: After reading an article about the young Raider, Denise Matthews, a.k.a. Vanity, now a born-again Christian, arranged a meeting with Anthony. Three days later she proposed to him, and one month after they met, he made her his second wife. … But this new marriage, too, quickly turned to dust, recalls Dwayne Simon, a friend of Anthony’s from that time. Dwayne remembers one uncomfortable team-family breakfast before a Raiders game when Denise said or did something that made Anthony furious. “He grabbed her by the arm, made her sit down,” says Dwayne, a producer with the L.A. Posse and Def Jam who arranged music for Raiders games. “She tried to get up, but he snatched her back down: ‘Get down!’ I was really scared for Vanity. I thought he was going to break her friggin’ arm.”

At the same time, Smith was telling one of his rich-white-businessman friends that he had helped Denise get a kidney. (Her body was hard hit from years of drug use before she swore off that life and turned to God.) What a good guy. What an angry one. Was one of those Anthonys more true than the other? Or had he just become a violent man who knew how to shine?

Denise “Vanity” Matthews and Anthony Smith eventually divorced in 1996.

Smith’s Next Wife & Friends Reportedly Stopped Showing Up For Him After He ‘Changed’

Anthony Smith during his trial

Anthony married his third and current wife, attorney Theresa White, in 1997. Theresa previously supported Anthony during his past trials, but for his most recent murder trials, there was no one in the courtroom for him, except his defense attorney. However, the families and children of the murder victims were constantly present.

Loved ones of Anthony Smith reported that he’d changed a lot, and isolated most of them from his life, befriending gangsters instead.

More Legal Trouble For Anthony Smith

In 2003 Anthony had a heated argument with a female owner of a furniture store in Santa Monica, CA over money. Soon after the argument, that store was set on fire using homemade firebombs stuffed with a bunch of mail from Anthony’s home – his name and his address were on the mail.

Prosecutors were confident that case was a for-sure win. However, the ex-NFL’er was tried twice for arson in the case and both times the jury deadlocked. Interestingly, throughout the Anthony’s arson trials, several of his friends — alleged gang members, – sat in court every day and stared down the jury. It’s still unclear if the ‘gangster stare-downs’ invoked fear in the jurors, or if the jurors sincerely believed Anthony didn’t commit the arson.

Fast forward to today’s times, and Anthony Smith is still serving three life terms without the possibility of parole for the three aforementioned murder convictions. His attorneys say they plan to appeal the decision.

CTE, Or Simply Deranged?

After learning the details of Anthony’s self-destructive story, the film, Concussion — which highlighted the often violent mental condition, CTE — comes to mind.

Maybe he simply became a violent man on his own…or maybe he could be affected by CTE, just like we’re now seeing with several other ex-NFL players. Who knows? The downfall with diagnosing CTE is that there is no way to determine this, until after a player’s death.

Nevertheless, if Anthony committed those crimes, he deserves to do the time. We wish peace and comfort over the families of the victims.