Anna Nicole Smith's death was a tragedy, made even more sad by the fact that she was leaving behind a young daughter. Dannielynn Hope was famous before she could even open her eyes, as there was a custody battle surrounding her, as well as a paternity test. It was a long, drawn out process, but ultimately photographer Larry Birkhead was proven to be the father of the young girl, and he kicked it into dad mode.
While Birkhead likes to keep his life with his daughter relatively private, the duo has appeared together at the Kentucky Derby for the last 10 years. It's one of the few times we see how Dannielynn is growing up.
"Larry met Anna Nicole at the party years ago. They come every year and it's become an annual tradition," Chris Barnstable-Brown, of the Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Gala, said. "Larry was a photographer and guest and had been covering the party and met her there. He is from Louisville and they started dating. After Anna passed away, every year they come back to the party. Larry has brought Dannielynn for years. She's a beautiful young girl now and becoming a young woman."
Birkhead posted two pictures of him and Dannielynn on his Twitter page, and the 12-year-old girl is looking more and more like her mom every day.
"Kentucky Derby time once again," Birkhead wrote one of the photos. "Dannielynn looks pretty in pink in her dress by Junona and her Mom's hat from her unforgettable appearance at The Kentucky Derby in 2004 #KentuckyDerby2019"
"Headed to the 31st annual Barnstable-Brown Derby Eve Gala with Dannielynn, in her awesome dress by Junona," he wrote on the other. "The start to an awesome weekend! #proudpapa #kyderby #KentuckyDerby2019 #BarnstableBrownGala"
Birkhead has admitted in the past that it can be tricky raising a child who was the centre of controversy, when he himself isn't in the Hollywood life.
"People think [Dannielynn] has got millions and millions of dollars," he said in an interview. "She came home and asked me where the money was, and I said, "˜I'm still looking for it.' If Dannielynn is to inherit anything via her mom that she was entitled to, so be it, but it's not like we're sitting around waiting for one thing to happen."
Despite not knowing her mom, Birkhead says Dannielynn is just like her.
"She is fearless like her mom. She'll get on any roller coaster that you put in front of her," Birkhead admitted. "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.'"
Dannielynn is lucky to have a father who is so protective of her and how she's brought up, and you can tell she's going to have a great head on her shoulders.