Just months after giving birth to a baby girl, reality TV star and former Playboy Playmate of the Year Anna Nicole Smith was found dead in February 2007. Smith had died from an accidental prescription drug overdose, leaving behind her five-month-old daughter, Dannielynn.
Before her death, scandal and controversy had surrounded the 39-year-old. Many speculated her 1994 marriage to 89-year-old petroleum tycoon and billionaire J. Howard Marshall was motivated by money.
The identity of Dannielynn’s biological father was also a hotly debated topic in the media, with Smith’s former and current boyfriends Larry Birkhead and Howard Stern, respectively, both fighting for parental rights. When a paternity test ordered by the court confirmed it was Larry Birkhead, he took rightful custody of his daughter and has been doing his best to raise her out of the spotlight ever since.
But back in February, 10 years after Smith’s death, Birkhead invited reporters from ABC News into their home outside Louisville, Kentucky, to give them a peek into Dannielynn’s life. There they met a very well-adjusted girl who looked just like her mother. And though Birkhead says she shares some of the same qualities as her mom, she has no interest in the media attention Smith craved.
“She is fearless like her mom. She’ll get on any roller coaster that you put in front of her,” Birkhead told ABC News. “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.'” But he adds that he’s determined to give her a different life than Smith’s.
“It’s just like any other kid who has lost a celebrity parent. They think that the child is automatically destined for the same path,” he said. “[But] she can work me like her mom could work people. She gets what she wants.” Watch their interview with ABC News in the video below.