Anna Nicole Smith was a troubled, beautiful, influential star. She was most well-known for her Playboy and Guess modelling gigs, and later had her own reality show. Smith rose to fame when she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II. The starlet was just 26 at the time.
This wasn't her first marriage, however. At just 17 years old, the young teen married Billy Smith and gave birth to their son, Daniel. Anna and Daniel were extremely close, and they were both excited to welcome Anna's second child on September 7th, 2006. Dannielynn was welcomed into a loving family.
Immediately, there was controversy surrounding the identity of the new baby's father. Anna's ex-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead claimed paternity. Anna stated that her attorney, Howard K. Stern, was Dannielynn's father. He was the one listed on her birth certificate, and he and Anna held a private "commitment ceremony" which was not legally binding.
During the controversy of Dannielynn's paternity, Anna was struck with tragedy.
On September 10th, 2006, Daniel died of an apparent drug overdose at only 20 years old. Anna was inconsolable, and while she was grieving she was caught in a media frenzy surrounding the identity of her newborn baby's father.
On February 8, 2007, Anna Nicole Smith was found dead in her hotel room. The cause of death was announced as an accidental overdose, as Anna was on nine different types of medication at the time. Smith's death only heightened the search for Dannielynn's father, as that person would be taking full custody of the child.
In April 2007, it was determined that photographer Larry Birkhead was indeed Dannielynn's father. Howard K. Stern did not contest the findings, and legal custody was given to Birkhead. Birkhead, who makes a living through photography and occasionally real estate, took on the role of full-time dad with open arms, and chose to keep Dannielynn's life out of the spotlight. The occasional picture surfaces, but for the most part it's all private.
But according to Anna Nicole Smith's side of the family, it's more private than they'd like.
Birkhead and Dannielynn currently live in Kentucky, where the doting father is trying to give his daughter a normal life. Much of his family still lives in the state, and get to see Dannielynn on a regular basis.
"I think here in Kentucky is as normal as you can get," Birkhead told Inside Edition.
But according to Anna Nicole Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, Dannielynn is being kept from her mom's side of the family and has been for years. The heartbroken grandmother spoke to the Daily Mail about the exclusion. Arthur says that Birkhead sends updates and pictures of Dannielynn, but she hasn't seen the 10-year-old since 2010.
"I want to be part of Dannielynn’s life," Arthur said. "She is my daughter’s child and the only one left in that line of lives. [Anna's] daddy is dead, her husband is dead and her first husband is dead, his parents are dead. They have all passed away. [Dannielynn] never has got to know any of them. It’s not fair to her not to know her mother’s side of the family."
In a plea to Birkhead, Arthur told the Daily Mail:
"[Dannielynn] needs to know and one day, she will. One day, you will have problems with her and she’ll find where we’re at and she will come to find us to talk about her mother. That’s something you need to know, one day, she’ll come look for her mother’s people. Although you’ve never let us be a part of her life, we’re still here. And one day she will come to find us."
Birkhead, who stays out of the media as much as possible, called Arthur's claims "a bunch of lies."
"Anna's mom has seen Dannielynn, and she's seen her a few times," he told Inside Edition in 2017. "I say that only because I want the story to stop."
Arthur ended her interview with a message to her granddaughter.
"Dannielynn - meemaw loves you with all her heart. You have a lot of your momma in you and you have a lot of family here in Texas - uncles and aunts and cousins that you’ve never got to see. I hope that one day you will come find us, baby, and you can see how your momma lived and what fun she was. You can meet her brother, David, and her other brother, Donald Jr, and see what a great family she has. And that’s who she grew up with."