When model and personality Anna Nicole Smith died in 2007 from combined drug intoxication, it had only been five months since she had given birth to her daughter, Dannielynn Smith. Anna Nicole's public life was always fraught with scandal — she married her first husband, billionaire J. Howard Marshall, when he was 89 years old, and he died a year later. There was speculation that she married him for his money, which she denied, though she petitioned for half of his estate when he passed away.
When Anna Nicole announced her pregnancy in 2006, it soon became clear that there was a question as to who the baby's father was. Multiple high-profile men, including Anna Nicole's "husband" (the two never legally wed) Howard K. Stern, Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, and a then-unknown Larry Birkhead claimed they were the father.
After Anna Nicole's death, a paternity test proved that Larry was the father of Dannielynn. In the years since, Larry has documented his journey as a solo parent and the ways he still honors Anna Nicole.
Where is Dannielynn Birkhead now? Read on to find out what the now-teen is up to, and to learn about her life away from the spotlight.
Where is Dannielynn Birkhead now?
When Dannielynn Hope was born in September 2007, she was thrust into the spotlight for more than one reason. Her older half-brother, Daniel Wayne Smith, passed away from a drug overdose while visiting newborn Dannielynn just three days after her birth. Anna Nicole — who essentially raised Daniel by herself — was devastated at this loss. After Anna Nicole died a few months later, inside sources said that she had really died when Daniel passed away, and it was revealed she had even tried to get into his coffin to be with him.
Once Anna Nicole died, the question over Dannielynn's paternity became all the more crucial, as the father would have to step in and raise her. Though Larry had asserted from the start that he was the father, many wrote him off because they thought he was trying to get his 15 minutes of fame, and because he was a member of the paparazzi. Anna Nicole had also never confirmed she was seeing Larry.
But the paternity test proved that Dannielynn was Larry's daughter with 99.9 percent certainty.
"I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I told you so. I'm the father. My baby's going to be coming home pretty soon," Larry said outside of the courthouse in Nassau, Bahamas after the DNA result test came back in April of 2007.
Though Dannielynn's early months were fraught with publicity, she and Larry have led a relatively normal life in the years since he gained custody of her. Dannielynn is now 14 years old and is growing up in Kentucky. As per a tradition that Anna Nicole enjoyed, Dannielynn and her father attend the Kentucky Derby every year.
The father-daughter duo always poses for the Derby's red carpet, and Dannielynn often wears the pink hat that her mother wore.
Larry said that Dannielynn is taking after her mother in certain ways.
"She is fearless like her mom. She’ll get on any roller coaster that you put in front of her. I could stand right next to my daughter and we could look like twins, and the first thing they’ll say is ... 'spitting image of the mother,'" Larry said in an interview with 20/20.
Dannielynn didn't inherit her mother's desire for the spotlight, though. After modeling in a Guess campaign in 2012 (a gig which reportedly earned her $10,000), Larry later said that Dannielynn was not interested in leading a public life.
"I've had companies call me since and ask for her to model, and that answer’s no,” Larry said to 20/20. "She doesn’t show any interest in it. She wants to be a kid."
Does Dannielynn know how her mother died?
As Dannielynn has grown up, Larry admitted that she's asking more questions about her famous mother. Larry told 20/20 that he has tried to explain Anna Nicole's death in a delicate way to Dannielynn.
"The way I've told Dannielynn in the past is that, 'Your mom took some medicines and she ... might not [have] taken them correctly or the right way, and the doctors couldn't help her, and they tried,'" he said.
Though Anna Nicole wasn't around for more than a few months of his daughter's life, Larry claimed that she was always eager to have a daughter.
"Anna always wanted a little girl, that was her dream. She went from city to city, as far back [as] the '90s, and she would collect outfits from all these road trips," he said. "And hope that one day that she could dress her in all these frilly outfits."
14 years after the model's death, A new 20/20 special features a teenaged Dannielynn visiting some of the most influential places in her mother's life for the first time, accompanied by her father. "Dannielynn's a teenager now, and she doesn't really know a ton of things about her mom," Larry says in a voiceover during the trailer for the special. "As a dad who has a child whose mom's passed away, I thought, 'Why not go back to Anna's beginnings?'"
In the special, Dannielynn and Larry meet one of Anna Nicole's friends from high school and visit several sentimental locations. Dannielynn also sees some of Anna Nicole's memorabilia from her life and career which has been kept in a storage locker since her death.
Larry and Dannielynn's episode of 20/20 airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.