What Life Is Really Like For Anna Nicole Smith's Daughter Now

Although Anna Nicole Smith lived a tumultuous and tragic life, she's best remembered by her loved ones as someone who "bravely fought to support her family" (via ABC News). The model and reality television star lived two different lives, her friends told ABC. On camera, she embodied the American media's ideal blonde bombshell: voluptuous, charismatic, and vulnerable. Off camera, "she was back to Vickie Lynn [Anna Nicole's given name]," said one of her closest friends, Frankie Rodriguez. "I [am] very fortunate to have met and gotten to know Vickie Lynn ... Whatever she was doing, it was making everybody watch."

Three days after giving birth to her daughter, Dannielynn, Anna Nicole's son, Daniel, died from an accidental prescription drug overdose (via The Seattle Times). Anna Nicole herself died from lethal prescription drug interactions just months after her son.

At 7 months old, Dannielynn was the subject of a contentious paternity case that concluded with a DNA test verifying that Anna Nicole's ex-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, was the baby's father and would be granted sole custody of his biological daughter (via People). From a deeply tragic beginning, Dannielynn Birkhead is now living a relatively normal life with her father and gradually getting to know her late mother through those who were closest to her.

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Larry Birkhead was elated to be Dannielynn's caretaker

Dannielynn Birkhead's biological father, Larry Birkhead, was overjoyed to be named as her guardian following her mother's death. However, Howard K. Stern was Anna Nicole Smith's partner at the time of her passing and Dannielynn's birth — and was even named as the baby's father on her birth certificate (via People). At the height of the battle right after Anna Nicole's death, Larry told ABC News, "I have the will power and the determination to know my daughter."

After the court ordered a DNA test, Larry was thrilled when the results affirmed that Dannielynn was his daughter. Larry stood outside the courthouse after getting the good news, telling reporters, "I hate to be the one who told you this, but: I told you so" (via People). "My baby's gonna be coming home pretty soon," he continued. In fact, just a month before the fateful results were announced, Larry had told reporters he was already setting up a nursery for his daughter.

Once Larry was declared Dannielynn's father, Howard made every effort to help him gain sole custody of his daughter. The two men regularly kept up with each other as Dannielynn grew. "The minute after the paternity test was over ... he's helping me change Dannielynn's diaper, [showing me], 'This is how you feed her,' ... it's been nonstop since then," Larry told interviewers with ABC News. Today, Dannielynn continues to enjoy the support of her father and her family.

At the age of 6, Dannielynn modeled for Guess, just like her late mother

Anna Nicole Smith's career kicked off in earnest when she began modeling for Guess Jeans — which surely contributed to her net worth at the time of her death. Shortly after her Playboy debut in 1992, Smith met with Paul Marciano, the founder of Guess, and landed a job as the new face of the brand's ad campaigns (via E! News). "I was crazy about shooting her. She had such a magnetic personality," Marciano said in a 2017 interview with Paper Magazine. Smith was even considered for the role of Tina Carlyle in 1994's "The Mask" — a role which ultimately went to Cameron Diaz.

At the age of 6, Dannielynn Birkhead followed in her mother's footsteps and modeled for Guess's children's line, helping to launch a Guess ad campaign that was the first of its kind. In a statement, Marciano said Dannielynn was "a second-generation Guess girl, which makes this campaign a first for us" (via USA Today) and that she "has the same playful spirit that her mother had on a set."

On "Good Morning America," Larry Birkhead addressed the criticisms regarding Dannielynn's involvement in the campaign (via ABC News). "Dannielynn has always looked up to her mom's image ... this is kind of Dannielynn's way of paying tribute to her mom in her own special way," he said, adding that, for Dannielynn, the shoot "might be her only connection with her mom."

Dannielynn stays out of the public eye

Larry Birkhead wanted to ensure his daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead, could live safely out of the public eye, something that had been detrimental to Anna Nicole Smith's mental health. After she modeled for Guess, Larry subsequently turned down all offers to Dannielynn for future modeling and acting gigs. "I didn't care about it, so I'd say no she's not interested. She's just a regular kid," Larry said on the "Today" show.

Larry and his daughter reside in Kentucky where they enjoy a quiet lifestyle. "I made a conscious decision a long time ago to move to Kentucky,” he said on "Today." He explained, "It takes away the chase, it takes away the curiosity, it takes away the false stories." In Kentucky, Larry experiences the same day-to-day struggles of getting his daughter ready for school as any other single dad (via Inside Edition).

Now in her teen years, Dannielynn makes the honor roll and plays the violin (via E! News). The major difference between Dannielynn and her peers, however, is her relatively limited online presence. Larry and Dannielynn have a shared Instagram account and greatly limit their public appearances. Larry told Us Weekly that the two have an ongoing discussion about Dannielynn wanting to start a YouTube channel like many of her friends. "If you have a YouTube account that's different, because people know who you are," he tells her.

Dannielynn attends the Kentucky Derby every year

The Kentucky Derby was a favorite event for Anna Nicole Smith. Dannielynn Birkhead and her father, Larry Birkhead, have made it a point to attend the Derby every year. In fact, it was at the famous Barnstable-Brown Gala where Larry, a photographer for the event, first caught Anna Nicole's eye. "She's waving at me and ... blowing kisses and I mean, she knew how to work the camera," he told ABC News. The two hit it off after their initial encounter and were in an on-again, off-again relationship for a few years before a pregnant Anna Nicole moved to the Bahamas with Howard K. Stern and gave birth to Dannielynn.

The Kentucky Derby is one of the few rare instances in which Dannielynn and her father make public appearances and interact with the media. The two share an annual tradition of matching outfits that began when Dannielynn was just 3 years old (via People). "She's my good luck charm," her father told E! News in 2015. "She picks all the winners."

Dannielynn and her father celebrate Anna Nicole's life

Larry Birkhead has kept Anna Nicole Smith's memory alive through daughter Dannielynn Birkhead since he first brought her home. In an exclusive interview with OK! Magazine in 2007 when Dannielynn was 7 months old, Larry said, "I show her pictures of Anna all the time, and she grabs them! I show her photos of Anna on my BlackBerry, and she kisses the phone and tries to put it in her mouth" (via E! News).

As Dannielynn grows, Larry finds different ways to celebrate her mother together. The father and daughter duo took a trip to the Bahamas for what would have been Anna Nicole's 50th birthday (via Us Weekly). On their trip, the two visited significant landmarks on the islands, such as Anna Nicole's grave, the hospital where Dannielynn was born, and the courthouse where Larry was determined to be her father. Larry told Entertainment Tonight, "We go back all the time and we go to [Anna Nicole's] grave. We visit and I tell Dannielynn stories about her mom."

Larry revealed that when Dannielynn, now in her teens, watches her mother's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" music video, "She'll shout to the TV, 'Slay, Queen, slay!'" (via E! News). Sitting in the teen's room is a painting that Anna Nicole made for her daughter. A message on the painting reads: "To my baby who is in my belly right now. Seven-and-a-half months. I love you. July 31, 2006" (via Inside Edition).

Dannielynn loves the performing arts

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Larry Birkhead and Dannielynn Birkhead opened up about her recent interest in theater. She had already been taking the class for about a year at the time of the interview. "I got an email from a teacher and she said Dannielynn gave one of the most believable performances of the whole, whole entire school," her father said. Dannielynn confirmed her enthusiasm for the subject: "It's really cool like to act as a character, not yourself. Portraying a new person is fun," she told the interviewer. In 2019, Larry surprised Dannielynn with tickets to see "Hamilton," indicating Dannielynn's great enthusiasm for the performing arts (via Twitter).

Whether or not she will pursue acting full-time after high school is up in the air. Larry still wants his daughter to live a mostly normal life and has continued to turn down offers for his daughter to appear in movies and modeling shoots after she participated in a Guess modeling shoot at 6 years old (via E! News). Now that Dannielynn is a teen, however, Larry is letting his daughter choose her own path. "If she wants to do something like that when she's older ... we'll see when we get there," he told the Daily Mail.

Dannielynn enjoys playing 'matchmaker' for her dad

Larry Birkhead has raised Dannielynn Birkhead as a single father since Anna Nicole Smith's death just five months after Dannielynn was born. At 7 years old, Dannielynn was already playing matchmaker for her dad. "Dannielynn tries to hook me up," the single dad told interviewers for E! News regarding a TV special he and Dannielynn starred in together.

In 2014, Larry appeared on an episode of "Millionaire Matchmaker," in which his love life was examined by Patti Stanger, the Matchmaker herself (via The Washington Post). Larry hadn't dated anyone since Anna Nicole, and the Millionaire Matchmaker asserted that the single father hadn't totally moved on. In the Birkheads' Kentucky home, Anna Nicole is everywhere. "I try my best to keep Anna Nicole's memory alive for Dannielynn so I'll have things throughout the house," he said on the episode. Larry admitted that it was difficult to maintain a balance between keeping Anna Nicole's presence in Dannielynn's life and moving on for himself.

Dannielynn continues to learn about her mother's early life

As the teenager becomes increasingly aware of her mother's legacy, Larry Birkhead has arranged to share major parts of Anna Nicole Smith's life with his daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead. In 2021, Larry took Dannielynn to Anna Nicole's hometown in Mexia, Texas, for a "20/20" special (via People). There, the father and daughter met with Jo McLemore, who was Anna Nicole's childhood best friend. The group visited a local restaurant with great significance to Anna Nicole: Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken. As teenagers, Anna Nicole and Jo worked at the restaurant together. "One of the memories I have of her is we'd sit here together and stare out the window and just watch traffic go by," Jo recalled.

Larry had a major reveal in store for Dannielynn as part of their visit to Mexia. For years, the single dad had been saving some of Anna Nicole's prized possessions in a storage locker for Danielynn. Amongst the heirlooms were family photographs, red carpet gowns, and the wedding dress Anna Nicole wore for her marriage to oil entrepreneur J. Howard Marshall II. In the "20/20" special, Dannielynn is surprised and overjoyed at the opportunity to feel closer to her late mother.

As the teenager continues to grow, Dannielynn keeps her mother's memory close to her through treasuring her belongings and engaging with the people who knew her mother best.