And though Birkhead has raised her as a single dad and the father-daughter duo look very much alike, “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,'” he says.
Birkhead — who had a romantic relationship with Smith — says the late star “always wanted a little girl.”
Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.
“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,” he says.
Birkhead, 44, now works as a photographer and flips houses for a living, and he’s largely raised his daughter out of the Hollywood glare.
“People think [Dannielynn] has got millions and millions of dollars,” he says. “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.”
20/20‘s special, Anna Nicole Smith: Beauty Lost airs on Friday, February 10 on ABC.