Anna Nicole Smith's daughter Dannielynn Birkhead and Larry Birkhead went down the memory lane recently to learn more about the late star's past.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 10, 2021. It has since been updated.
Model and actress Anna Nicole Smith's daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead, looks a lot like her mom. Unfortunately, she never got to spend much time with her as Smith died at the age of 39, a few months after Dannielynn's birth.
Dannielynn, who is now a teen, featured in a new 20/20 special, Tragic Beauty, about her mom. The 14-year-old (now 16) had a rough start after her mom's death when multiple men claimed to be her father even though her birth certificate had Smith's partner Howard Stern's name. Eventually, DNA tests confirmed the baby's biological father was Smith's former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, a California-based photographer, as per the Guardian.
"I'm the father. My baby's going to be coming home pretty soon. I'm going to the toy store," he had said after the Bahamas courts heard the DNA test result in 2007.
Now, years later, the baby is all grown up and seeing her mom with new eyes as she was shown old possessions of Smith for the first time. During the two hour special, Dannielynn and her father went to Mexia, Texas, where Smith grew up. She is getting to know her mother better.
"I thought why not go back to Anna's beginnings...It's keeping her memory alive for my daughter." Have you ever gone on a journey of discovery with your family, like Larry and Dannielynn? #ABC2020 https://t.co/DSRhLM9DDW pic.twitter.com/TwrFC4qASk— 20/20 (@ABC2020) February 6, 2021
When the father and daughter were in Los Angeles, he showed her some of the memorabilia from her life and career for the first time. "Dannielynn has no idea that she's going to see these things. All this is a surprise," Larry said in the special. "She has a big heart like her mom had, I think she could appreciate these things," he said, as per People.
Among the personal possessions were artwork, family photographs, and some of the memorable outfits, such as the dress she wore on her wedding to late oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II. "This is stuff that I've had for you for a long time. Do you want to see it?" Larry is seen asking his teenage daughter.
While in Los Angeles, Larry Birkhead prepares something special for his daughter. He shows Dannielynn personal belongings he's saved from Anna Nicole's illustrious life and career. It's the first time she's seeing these items. #ABC2020 https://t.co/DSRhLLS2Mo pic.twitter.com/9v9OayU70l— 20/20 (@ABC2020) February 6, 2021
Larry also showed his daughter a photo taken on one of their dates. "This is a Blondie T-shirt. We went on a date. Who's that cool guy?" he said while holding up a photo from the night out. "Please stop, like I already told you, please stop," Dannielynn said with a smile. "She thought I was cool," he added.
"When we talk about Anna Nicole, there were a lot of happy moments for her," Larry said. "There were a lot of highs before there were a lot of lows. Anna should be remembered as this larger than life figure that was really a caring, giving person. A beautiful lady who loved her fans and loved her family," he added.
During their Texas trip, the father and daughter met the former playboy playmate's childhood best friend, Jo McLemore. "You are your mommy. You look just like her," McLemore says to Dannielynn. They went to Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken, a local restaurant where McLemore worked with Smith. "I was working here and she would come in every day and she'd order a large drink, but she always looked really sad to me," McLemore recalled. "Once she started working here we immediately hit it off."
On one of the early stops on their father-daughter journey, Jo McLemore took Larry and Dannielynn Birkhead to Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken, where McLemore described working with Vickie Lynn Hogan as a teenager in Mexia, Texas. #ABC2020 https://t.co/DSRhLM9DDW pic.twitter.com/mApLC0jX9n— 20/20 (@ABC2020) February 6, 2021
"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," she added. "She was so perfect to me. Perfect face...and I would tell her, 'You are so, so pretty.'"
Larry spoke about the complicated life Smith lived. "When you talk about Anna Nicole and you talk about where she came from ... you talk about the court battles," he said, as per ABC News. "In between, there were a lot of happy moments for her. There was a lot of highs before there was a lot of lows."
One of her best friends Frankie Rodriguez said that the late star was "two people." One part of her was the sexy woman who an 89-year-old billionaire and the other was a small-town naive girl working hard to support her son Daniel, whose death shattered her. "There was Vickie Lynn Marshall and Anna Nicole Smith," he told 20/20. "Any kinda camera, you just yelled out her name, 'Anna Nicole.' When she turned around, it was on the spot; you saw Anna Nicole."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Peter Kramer (R)Michael Loccisano