Love Triumphs: Anna Nicole Smith’s Former Flame Wins Custody Battle and Protects Daughter from the ‘Dark Side’ That Claimed Her Mother

Dannielynn, the daughter of Anna Nicole Smith, lost her mother tragically when she was just five months old. The untimely demise occurred in a hotel room when Anna Nicole Smith was 39 years old.

Following Anna Nicole Smith’s passing, photographer Larry Birkhead came forward, claiming to be Dannielynn’s father. He engaged in a custody battle with Anna Nicole’s former partner for the custody of the young girl. As a single father, Larry has been dedicated to shielding his daughter from the negative influences that surrounded her late mother.

Anna Nicole Smith at the Las Vegas Convention Center on July 11, 1993 | Source: Getty Images

Despite being hailed as an “icon of female perfection,” Anna Nicole Smith faced various challenges in her life. She underwent multiple cosmetic procedures, including four breast augmentations, and lived with chronic pain, which led to her reliance on pain medication. In a vulnerable moment, the Playboy Playmate confessed the extreme measures she took to maintain her image and the toll it took on her well-being.

In addition to her public persona, Anna Nicole Smith was a savvy businesswoman who enlisted the services of lawyer Howard K. Stern. He served as her legal counsel and business manager, ensuring her affairs were well taken care of. However, their professional relationship took an unexpected turn when Anna Nicole couldn’t contain her feelings for Stern and impulsively kissed him, signifying a significant shift in their connection. Reflecting on that pivotal moment, Anna Nicole expressed, “I knew I was in love the first time I kissed him.”

Anna Nicole Smith at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on July 21, 2005 | Source: Getty Images

On September 7, 2006, Anna Nicole Smith gave birth to her daughter, Dannielynn Hope, who bore a striking resemblance to her. She publicly stated that Howard K. Stern was the father, leading them to hold a commitment ceremony in the Bahamas. Although their union was not legally recognized as marriage, they exchanged vows, solidifying their bond as a family on September 28, 2006.

Stern considered Anna Nicole Smith as his “entire world.” Under different circumstances, their relationship could have marked the beginning of a joyful family life with their daughter. However, tragedy struck when 39-year-old Anna Nicole Smith met her untimely end in her hotel room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in the Bahamas. On February 8, 2007, at 2:49 a.m., she passed away due to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. The autopsy report revealed a fatal combination of sedatives and potent painkillers in her system, shedding light on the tumultuous struggles the TV star faced throughout her life.

Anna Nicole Smith and Howard Stern at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on February 28, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

In the wake of the tragic event, Anna Nicole Smith’s devastated partner found himself unable to articulate his grief. He took immediate action by urgently seeking paramedics, rushing from their room to the hotel front desk. Witnesses observed him in a state of frantic distress. “She was my best friend, my lover, the mother of my daughter—she was everything to me, my entire world,” expressed Howard, who now faced the daunting task of caring for their five-month-old baby, Dannielynn.

However, shortly after Anna Nicole Smith’s heartbreaking demise, Howard Stern faced accusations of assisting his beloved partner, who held immense significance in his life, in obtaining prescription drugs through illicit means. He was arrested and, despite pleading not guilty, had to face the legal consequences. Eventually, the felony charges against him were dismissed by the judge.

Howard K. Stern at Mt. Horeb Baptist Chruch on March 2, 2007 | Source: Getty Images

Unexpected revelations emerged when entertainment reporter and photographer Larry Birkhead came forward, claiming to be the biological father of Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter, Dannielynn Hope. Birkhead asserted that it was Smith herself who had informed him about the paternity and that he had supported her during her prenatal appointments.

According to Birkhead, after the baby’s birth, Smith became distant and withheld information about their daughter’s arrival. Undeterred, Birkhead fought for the return of the baby girl from the Bahamas to California to undergo paternity testing. The period following the birth was described as tumultuous by Smith’s friend, characterized by complicated circumstances and emotional turmoil.

Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter Dannielynn at the “The Simpsons Ride” launch on May 17, 2008 | Source: Getty Images

The truth is, Anna Nicole Smith and celebrity photographer Larry Birkhead crossed paths at the Barnstable Brown Gala in 2003, a memory etched vividly in Birkhead’s mind as if it had happened just yesterday. Carrying his camera bags, he hoped to capture some decent shots. Little did he know that the event would also introduce him to the enchanting Hollywood beauty. Birkhead expressed his gratitude for that fateful night, as it marked the beginning of his journey as a father to Dannielynn.

Two months after the tragic loss of Smith, a DNA test conclusively established Birkhead as the father of her seven-month-old daughter. Sole custody was granted to him, and as he left the Bahamas court, the photographer proudly declared, “I’m the father. I’m going to the toy store.” With a sense of triumph, Birkhead and his infant daughter relocated from the Bahamas to his home in Kentucky. Observers spotted him carrying Dannielynn in a green blanket during their first flight, which she handled with ease.

Larry Birkhead at Broward County, Florida courtroom on February 20, 2007 | Source: Getty Images

Since then, the father-daughter duo has led a quiet life together in a small town. From the very beginning, Birkhead couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblance between Dannielynn and her late mother. He revealed that his daughter possesses the same kind-hearted nature and selective eating habits as Smith. “It’s been a constant struggle since she was little,” confessed the single father, who has had to supplement her meals with vitamins to ensure a balanced diet. Dannielynn, like her mother, isn’t fond of meat or many vegetables but adores pasta and pizza with generous servings of sauce.

Anna Nicole Smith and Larry Birkhead at 2005 MTV Australia Video Music Awards | Source: Getty Images

Not only does Dannielynn bring joy to her father’s life, but she also seeks to make a difference. During a swim party they attended together, with Birkhead being the only dad amidst the moms, he felt somewhat out of place. It was at this moment that his 11-year-old daughter did something heartwarming. She suggested that her dad should get to know one of the moms. “It’s adorable when she tries to encourage me to go out, date, and have fun,” shared her 50-year-old bachelor father. Nonetheless, Birkhead is immensely grateful for his daughter, who has blossomed into a 16-year-old young lady.

Larry Birkhead and daughter Dannielynn at the New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Lakers game on November 8, 2009 | Source: Getty Images

Recently, the protective father made the decision to remove all their family photos from his social media account, opting instead to share a photograph of ocean waves crashing against a pier. This symbolic gesture may represent his temporary break from posting pictures, as he captioned it, “Waiting for some of the waves to pass… then will return.”

The father’s choice to ensure a private life for his daughter garnered immense praise from numerous fans. They hailed him as an “excellent” dad and even referred to him as “the best father any daughter could wish for.” Appreciative comments poured in, acknowledging his steadfast commitment to protecting his daughter from the dark side of Hollywood, which tragically took her mother’s life.“You’ve done an amazing job at protecting her and pulling her away from the toxic environment and dark side of Hollywood (the media, love of money, & drugs and alcohol) that killed Anna Nicole…”

Larry Birkhead and daughter Dannielynn at the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2016 | Source: Getty Images

Larry Birkhead’s decision to prioritize her well-being over publicity demonstrates the importance of parental love and protection in the face of adversity. Birkhead’s dedication to providing a stable and private life for his daughter is commendable and serves as a moral lesson in putting family first and safeguarding loved ones from the dark side of the world.

Related Posts