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Larry Birkhead on Daughter Dannielynn: She’s ‘Fearless’ Like Late Mom Anna Nicole Smith

Like mother, like daughter. Larry Birkhead spoke to 20/20 about his life with Anna Nicole Smith, 10 years after her death, and revealed why their 10-year-old, Dannielynn, constantly reminds him of the late pop culture icon.

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“She is fearless like her mom. She’ll get on any roller coaster that you put in front of her,” he told ABC News’ Deborah Roberts for a segment that will air in its entirety on Friday, February 10. “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.’”

The Louisville, Kentucky–based photographer also told Roberts that the iconic Guess and Playboy model longed to have a little girl years before she gave birth to Dannielynn. Smith was also mom of son Daniel with ex-husband Billy Wayne Smith. Her firstborn died of a drug overdose at age 20 in 2006, nearly one year before she too fell victim to a fatal overdose at age 39 on February 8, 2007.

Dannielynn Birkhead (L) and former model Larry Birkhead attend the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Dannielynn and Larry Birkhead attend the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2016, in Louisville. Gustavo Caballero/Getty Image

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“Anna always wanted a little girl, that was her dream,” Birkhead, 44, said. “She went from city to city, as far back [as] the ’90s, and she would collect outfits from all these road trips … and hope that one day that she could dress her in all these frilly outfits.”

Anna Nicole Smith poses at the after party for the Premiere of MGM's
Anna Nicole Smith poses at the afterparty for the premiere of MGM’s ‘Be Cool’ at the Hollywood Palladium on Feb. 14, 2005. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When it comes to discussing Smith’s death with Dannielynn, who was only 5 months old when her mother passed away, Birkhead told Roberts how he approaches the sensitive topic with the fifth-grader. “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 explained.

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Another subject that has been tricky for Birkhead to talk about with his only child is the past rumor that she could one day inherit millions of dollars from Smith’s late husband, billionaire J. Howard Marshall, even though the former Playmate’s lawyers lost the final request to obtain money from his estate in 2014.

“People think [Dannielynn] has got millions and millions of dollars,” he said. “She came home and asked me where the money was, and I said, ‘I’m still looking for it.’”

During a February 2 interview with Inside Edition, the single dad said that Dannielynn wanted to go on a shopping spree after watching an online video that incorrectly described her as one of the wealthiest children in the United States.

“We saw a video on YouTube that she was one of the 10 richest kids in America,” he said. “Then she wanted to go to the mall. And I’m like, ‘No, it’s not that. Trust me, it’s not that.'”

Watch a preview for Birkhead’s 20/20 interview above.


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