St. Clair/Winslow/Splash News Online
Howard Breuer
June 20, 2007 08:15 AM

On Tuesday, a court named Larry Birkhead guardian of Dannielynn, his daughter with the late Anna Nicole Smith – but he has for months been building a life for himself and the baby.

Birkhead and 9-month-old Danielynn recently moved into Smith’s Los Angeles-area home, made famous on The Anna Nicole Show. Over the weekend, he celebrated his first Father’s Day with his daughter.

“I spent lots of time with her,” Birkhead said after Tuesday’s hearing. “Just private time. We had a great day.”

Birkhead and Howard K. Stern, who once fought bitterly over Danielynn’s paternity but have set aside their differences for the baby’s sake, arrived in Los Angeles a few days ahead of the hearing. Stern even helped Birkhead settle into the two-story stucco house Smith had shared with son Daniel, who died at age 20 three days after Danielynn was born.

“Honestly, for me, it was really hard,” Stern told PEOPLE. “I was with her when she picked out that house, and for me, pretty much every item brings back memories. And I’m still having problems even accepting the fact that Anna and Daniel are gone. Anna Nicole was my whole joy in life, my whole reason for being.”

Both men agree that the house and its contents will go to Dannielynn. Birkhead told reporters outside the hearing that he and Dannielynn will try to stay in L.A. – if they’re left alone. A paparazzo recently almost ran him off the road trying to get a photograph, he said.

“If all you guys are nice to me, I might stay,” said Birkhead, who joked that he’s become too high-profile to return to his old job photographing celebrities (which is how he met Smith – as a photographer at the Kentucky Derby). “My daughter’s security comes first. Right now, we’re trying to manage and adjust.”

Stern, who for now is staying with family in the L.A. area, said Dannielynn is “the most famous baby in America,” but he hopes the attention will cool off: “Hopefully you will give her some respect and allow her to lead a normal life, or at least as normal of a life as possible.”

He added that he’ll see Dannielynn as much as Birkhead allows. Birkhead said he has no problem with Dannielynn spending time with the people who were in her life before her mother’s death in February.

“Dannielynn seems just as happy as can be,” Stern said. “I wish that Anna could see her now. It’s just horrible that she can’t.”

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