Elliott Smith’s Girlfriend Cut Off

Elliott Smith’s girlfriend Jennifer Chiba has lost a California appellate court case where she claimed she was entitled to a portion of Smith’s estate “because they had lived together, shared equally their earnings and property and held themselves out to the public as husband and wife. Smith, she claimed, promised to support Chiba for the rest of her life.”

She also claimed she acted as Smith’s manager and agent, including booking gigs for him, and was entitled to 15% of all proceeds he earned. She sought more than $1 million.

Chiba was there when Smith allegedly killed himself, and admitted to police that she pulled the knife out of his chest. Chiba has maintained that she didn’t kill him: “It’s absolutely not my fault. I know that, and people close to Elliott know that.” Smith’s family, however, was not so sure

Elliott Smith and Jennifer Chiba


More from the Hollywood Reporter:

But the state labor commissioner and later the trial court ruled Chiba was not allowed to make a claim on the estate because she acted as an unlicensed talent agent under the state’s Talent Agencies Act.

In reviewing the trial court’s decision, the 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed 2-1 that while Chiba did have a “cohabitative agreement” with Smith, she also had a recording management agreement. Justices Fred Woods and Laurie Zelon ruled both of those contracts were “inextricably intertwined” and could not be considered as seperate agreements in the case.

But Justice Earl Johnson dissented, writing the two agreements were severable and Chiba could enforce her cohabitative agreement, known as the “Marvin arrangement” named after the infamous palimony case involving actor Lee Marvin.

MP3s from From a Basement on a Hill:

Elliott Smith – “Twilight”

Elliott Smith – “Memory Lane”

26 thoughts on “Elliott Smith’s Girlfriend Cut Off”

  1. This makes me cry, I wish that I could stab her in the chest. She deserves it more than any human I know of. I have hated her guts since the day he died when i was twelve years old, FUCK HER for trying to take money from him. Or ever having known him. I love you elliott.

    Peace to your beautiful soul.

  2. Jennifer Chiba did NOT kill Elliott Smith. He stabbed himself in the chest 2 times because he was suicidal (he tried overdosing on drugs, and he jumped off a cliff). He wanted to die. My mom met Jennifer and she used to have meltdowns when she talked about Elliott because she misses his beautiful soul. Fuck anyone who says she killed him. She is a sweet-heart. I’ll always love you, Elliott and i know you’re making beautiful music in heaven.

  3. I have always loved Elliott. ..I am also inflicted with mental disorders, have been a heroin addict and alcoholic, and have acne. I am always saying that I hate my face. So i really relate to him. About seven months ago Dusty, my Fiance /Love of my life, who was a musician, overdosed and died in my arms. His parents were really worried if we were married b/c it turns out he had a big inheritance. I never knew about it. We lived very poorly during our heroin years, but I was still so happy just to have him with me and cuddling all the time. He would give me sooo many kisses on my neck. No amount of money could make up for those times, or for his life. Money was the last thing I would think of when I lost him. I don’t blame Jennifer either though. When you are in love and loved, you want the best for each other. I know Dusty would want me to have everything of his, especially sentimental things. I feel for Jennifer because I relate. My Love’s mother Hates me and blames me. I don’t believe Jennifer killed him. I know that when I was High, my lover and i would fight sometimes because i was really needy. Anyway, I used to cut myself. I used a razor blade and went deeper than I realized or intended. One time I cut my arm so deep i could see my muscles and whatever. Now I have ugly ass scars all over my body. When your depressed and suicidal as Elliott and I were, then add drugs, It’s real easy to go too far when cutting or attempting suicide. Depression is powerful and it is all consuming. At least that’s how its been with me. I know that Dusty had a hard time dealing with me because he couldn’t understand why I would hurt myself. It’s not his or Jennifer’s fault.Or Elliott’s or mine, It’s sad but life isn’t fair. At least Elliott and Dusty are in heaven and no longer in pain, either physical or emotional. We’ll see them again when our time comes. The day Dusty died I made a promise to never touch a drink or drugs again, to honor him and respect him. Now I am going on one year sober, pretty much the first time sober in fifteen years. Yet I am completely destroyed by his death. The good news is that there are people like Elliott and Jennifer that i can relate to and i don’t feel so alone. And Elliott’s music give me comfort. Sorry so long- I just really felt inspired to share my story. Love to all…

  4. She did it.

    No other witnesses, and she would not talk to investigators afterward.

    Then she went after his money, posthumously.

    2 defensive wounds on arms

    No hesitation wounds in the autopsy report

  5. Yeah things can get out of control when you’re high and you can go too far, but try reading the coroner’s report – no drugs found in his body when he died. He wasn’t high, he was murdered. I bet she can’t sleep at night for the guilt, I hope they convict her soon.

  6. Who knows what happened..stop judging her, there is no proof to say that she definately did it. All i can say is that he must have been desperate if he stabbed himself in the heart.. twice. love you forever elliott.

  7. Who stabs themselves in the chest? Like f-ing twice! Cmon! Use your head! This chick got away with murder! I have thought about this for years. Pisses me off.

  8. Weird, autopsy report showed defensive wounds on the left forearm, but she said she didn’t…..so closed case right? What a money grubbing murdering cunt.

  9. the bitch did it. no doubt about it. elliott had problems as we all do, but he was someone special. someone the world needed a little longer, and she took that away from all of us. shes a fucking psycho, and now shes after his money. what a bitch, if anyone out there knows her seriously punch that bitch in the cunt for me.

    RIP Elliott, you are missed more then you know.

  10. Hey everybody, it’s fine to have an opinion about what you think happened, but can we try to stop with the personal attacks and name calling? It doesn’t do anybody any good.

  11. I truly think we should all take the opinion of someone who has a mother that told her she met the person who caused the death of Elliott. You were not there, neither was your mother. You did not know Elliott. Why don’t you ask one of Steve’s family members for their opinions?

  12. People do stab themselves in the chest…yes all by themselves. I know someone who did. In a park…sitting alone…stabbed himself and died.

    Knowing Elliott’s history of wanting to leave this planet he more than likely stabbed himself.

    Prior to his death, had Jennifer behaved as though she were interested in his assets there might be reason to believe she had something to do with his death but she didn’t.

    Life is hard and often basically sucks so a few years down the road I can totally see someone wanting a piece of his estate, especially having lived with him.

    Do the people who control his estate now deserve to control it?…sounds like to a large degree his parents were responsible for a lot of his hell.

  13. No, please… I had enough of this!!
    HE WAS THAT SAD-SACK GUY ALL THE TIME
    PLEASE, STOP
    DO YOU GUYS REALLY BELIEVE HE WAS THE ~MOST SAD~ PEOPLE IN THE FACE OF THE WORLD??
    C’MOM, PLEASE, STOP!!
    HE WOULD NOT END HIS LIFE IN THAT WAY!!

  14. Lorne, his stepfather was horrible, his mother did nothing to protect him from his step father , at least his biological father was there for him later on but it’s terrible that he had to live in such a bad environment until he was 14 or 15

  15. As difficult as it sounds, I believe he could’ve stabbed himself in the heart twice. What doesn’t make sense to me is, why would she pull the knife out? Anyone knows you don’t pull an object that is deep in the human body because it could cause more damage, sever blood vessels and bleed him out. LAPD should have considered negligent homicide just for that act of stupidity.

  16. Unfortunately many people have forgotten this…I haven’t. Jennifer Chiba lives and touts herself as an art therapist, he is dead. We all know that no one misspells their own name in a suicide note…and to sue his family after for a percentage of his estate?? No one who actually cared would even remotely do that – I’m a strong believer in karma but since she clearly has not gotten hers and still tries to profit off his estate over 10 years later I’ve lost all my faith…

  17. I would assume she would have blood on her but if she removed a knife blood could have gotten on her anyway. I think it’s tragic when someone is accused of something they didn’t even do, especially regarding the death of a BELOVED in which she was a candidate for children with and I’m sure she participated in the impeccable feeling of sitting on the couch and eating ice cream with. The truth always prevails. Blowing a bullhorn in an emotional display of lack for better terms an INNOCENT person walks the streets still a therapist for the love of others.

  18. The answer is in the “suicide note.” That it states “God forgive me” is evidence it was not composed by Elliott. According to my research about Elliott Smith he did not believe in God, but he did believe in hell. This is a glaring contradiction to his personal philosophy. Why would a brilliant writer contradict himself on a subject so important, deep and personal in the very last thing he would ever write?

    It has been over 14 years since we lost Elliott. Will this case ever be closed?

    Also, I am horrified at the reported frequency that “psychiatrists” were willing to throw prescriptions at Elliott for his emotional difficulties. This is negligent and dangerous to take so many and often counteractive pharmaceuticals at once. This part of our system failed Elliott. If anything, he needed DMT, THC, and psilocybin to hasten healing.

    Isn’t it ironic his father is a psychiatrist?

    I LOVE YOU so much Elliott Smith. You are the musical love of my life.

    Peace to all!

  19. Correction to the previous post. It has been11 years since Elliott has passed.

    I read that Elliott once turned blue and passed out at his show from malnourishment. It is so sad that a true genius who could probably afford the finest food in town was eating double rainbow ice cream and perishing for lack of real food. He could have grown strong off the fat of the land. I wish a true professional had been looking out for his well being when he needed help so dearly. He had too much freedom when a schedule or some kind or regiment he must commit to may have saved his life.

    It is baffling how vulnerable people are. Perhaps the greatest musician of all time was a victim of his own past and choices. What can be done to protect artists, famous people, or anyone who has so many options for pain or pleasure?

    If only Elliott had that one constant in his life. A place of unconditional love, nurturing and healing where he could always land. Maybe he had such a place, but resisted that option for a darker path.

    Is it possible to heal such deep suffering and apparent brokenness?

    One of the sweetest hearts to ever beat on this earth was broke by bad love, broke by life and then broke with a knife.

    Mercy.

  20. While it is cathartic to post an opinion on this site, I am appalled by the anger and violence fanning the flames of our pain. We are hurt by losing Elliott and react with that pain. This is violent and counterproductive. Regardless of the events that took place around Elliott’s death, we must take a breath and lead with compassion.

    Selfishly, I wonder what was next in Elliott’s musical development. He seemed to be coming into his own and his style evolved incrementally over time.

    If you went to one of his shows you are damn lucky!
    I never had the privilege of going to an Elliott Smith show.

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