Born on January 22, 1973, in Louisville, Kentucky, photographer Larry Birkhead was romantically tied to the late waitress turned Playboy pin-up/model turned heiress Anna Nicole Smith. After much legal dispute, a DNA test proved that Birkhead is the father of Smith's daughter, Dannielynn. Having full custody, the single dad is now encouraging his daughter to follow in her mom's modeling footsteps.
Meeting Anna Nicole Smith
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 22, 1973, freelance photographer Larry E. Birkhead met Anna Nicole Smith at the 2004 Barnstable Brown Gala, a pre–Kentucky Derby fundraising party for diabetes research. Smith was already famous worldwide for being a onetime stripper and Playboy's 1994 "Playmate of the Year," and for, at age 26, marrying 89-year-old Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II. (She failed to get any of her husband's estate but made plenty on her own through modeling and starring on reality television.) Birkhead and Smith were once quite serious, according to him; he claimed they lived together and were involved during her pregnancy. But Smith spun a different tale to the press.
On September 26, 2006, Larry Birkhead was caught off-guard when Smith publicly proclaimed that the father of her daughter, Dannielynn (who was born 19 days earlier), was her lawyer and close confidante, Howard K. Stern. Certain that Dannielynn was his, Birkhead filed a formal paternity suit on October 2, 2006. The legal case, Birkhead v. Marshall (Smith's real last name), continued even after she tragically died of an accidental drug overdose on February 8, 2007. Two months after her death, DNA tests substantiated Birkhead's claim. Eventually, Stern and Smith's mom, Virgie Arthur, acquiesced, as did Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, who also believed he might have been Dannielynn's dad.
Celebrity Single Dad
Today, Birkhead is raising his daughter in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. She'll be 7 in 2013. Dannielynn inherited a substantial estate from her mom; some experts estimate the youngster's worth at around $10 million. Birkhead may boost Dannielynn's financial status even more with certain parenting decisions. In 2012, he had her modeling for Guess—a move garnering public backlash as being exploitive since her mother had modeled for the same company in the 1990s. A defensive Birkhead explained that it was a way for his child to connect with her deceased mom. The single parent has insisted that he's devoted to giving his little girl a "normal life."
In recent years, Birkhead's story was written into the biopic The Anna Nicole Smith Story, airing on the Lifetime Movie Network in 2013; model/actor Donny Boaz was cast as the doting dad in the film.
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