He had aced the biggest science test of his life, and Larry Birkhead was finally in a position to crow about it: “I hate to be the one who told you this, but I told you so,” he said, raising his arms like a triumphant prizefighter outside a courthouse in the Bahamas. Since Anna Nicole Smith gave birth to Dannielynn on Sept. 7, the 34-year-old California photographer has insisted that he was the father—despite opposing claims by Smith’s longtime adviser Howard K. Stern, among others. But only with the results of the DNA test on April 10 could he claim his prize.
So yet another mystery in the months-long saga of the late Smith, who died Feb. 8 of a lethal mix of prescription drugs, has been solved. But more questions remain. Birkhead has yet to gain custody of the little girl—a hurdle complicated by a claim made by Anna Nicole’s mother, Virgie Arthur. There is also the question of whether Birkhead, as Dannielynn’s biological father, is now in a position to take up Smith’s battle over a piece of the estimated $1.6 billion estate left by her second husband, Texas oilman J. Howard Marshall II. Though legal experts see potential for both Birkhead and Stern—Birkhead as the father of Anna’s surviving child, and Stern as the executor of Smith’s yet-to-be-filed will—the Marshalls have vowed to fight back vigorously.
And what kind of future lies ahead for Dannielynn? Birkhead has stocked up on baby clothes and spruced up his one-bedroom townhouse in Burbank as well as garnered promises from his sister to help out with the child rearing. He is also said to be weighing a move with his daughter to his more sedate home state of Kentucky. Smith may have coveted the limelight, but, says Birkhead friend Ford Shelley, “He doesn’t want the child in all the glamour and glitz. He wants the child to have a good upbringing.”