All About Anna Nicole Smith and Larry Birkhead's Daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead

Dannielynn Birkhead celebrated her 16th birthday in September 2022

Dannielynn Birkhead and Larry Birkhead attend the 148th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky
Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty

No Kentucky Derby is complete without Dannielynn Birkhead, 16, and her father, photographer Larry Birkhead, smiling in their race day finery. The two attend the event every year, travel the world together and share their adventures on their Instagram account.

Dannielynn's supermodel mother, Anna Nicole Smith, died from an accidental drug overdose in 2007, just five months after Dannielynn was born in September 2006. At the time of Dannielynn's birth, Smith claimed that Dannielynn's father was Howard K. Stern, the Playboy model's attorney and romantic partner. However, a court battle to establish paternity determined that Birkhead was Dannielynn's biological father in 2007. Birkhead was then awarded custody of his daughter.

Ever since, the father-daughter duo has traveled everywhere from Dollywood to Hawaii together with, of course, stops in Louisville, Kentucky, for the famous horse race.

But who is Dannielynn Birkhead? Read on to learn about Anna Nicole Smith and Larry Birkhead's daughter and how she's staying connected to her mother's legacy.

She was born in the Bahamas in 2006

Larry Birkhead (L) and Dannielynn Birkhead attend Beso restaurant at CityCenter for the World Hunger Relief fundraiser on October 11, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Denise Truscello/WireImage

Dannielynn was born Sept. 7, 2006, in Nassau, Bahamas, as Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern. Smith initially said that Stern was the father of her daughter, but Birkhead contested that claim and demanded a DNA test.

Smith passed away on Feb. 8, 2007, of an accidental drug overdose at age 39. In April 2007, a DNA test confirmed that Birkhead was Dannielynn's biological father. "I'm the father," he said. "Thank you for your support. Thank you for the people who got me this far. Thank you very much. My baby's gonna be coming home pretty soon. Things are moving quickly here, and we'll see what happens."

When the results came in, Stern was cooperative, hugging Birkhead outside the courthouse. "We're gonna do what we can to make sure that the best interests of Dannielynn are carried out," Stern said. "And I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure that he gets sole custody. Larry can come over to the house and spend as much time with [Dannielynn] as he wants to right now."

She had a brother

Prior to welcoming Dannielynn, Smith had one son named Daniel Wayne Smith. Three days after Dannielynn was born, 20-year-old Daniel died in Smith's hospital room of an accidental drug overdose. He had arrived that same day to visit his mother and meet his newborn sister.

She stays connected to her late mother

Anna Nicole Smith, Dannielynn Birkhead
Peter Kramer/Getty / Stephen J. Cohen/Getty

In February 2021, Birkhead and Dannielynn appeared in a 20/20 special, in which they traveled to Smith's hometown of Mexia, Texas. "When we talk about Anna Nicole, there were a lot of happy moments for her," Birkhead said. "There were a lot of highs before there were a lot of lows."

The special aired on the 14th anniversary of Smith's death. Dannielynn met her mother's childhood friends, who shared memories of the supermodel before she was famous, and Birkhead gave her some of Smith's belongings, including the wedding dress she wore to marry J. Howard Marshall II in 1994.

"Anna should be remembered as this larger than life figure that was really a caring, giving person," Birkhead said. "A beautiful lady who loved her fans and loved her family."

Her dad says Dannielynn reminds him of Smith

Anna Nicole Smith, Dannielynn Birkhead
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty / Michael Loccisano/Getty

"Today, I remember your heart, your soul and your beauty, both inside and out," Birkhead wrote on the 15th anniversary of Smith's death. "Your love is alive still to this day, in the form of a truly one of a kind teenager with her Mom's smile, beauty and courage."

Birkhead and Smith's relationship was the subject of an episode of Lifetime's Hopelessly in Love in 2020. In January 2022, Netflix announced an upcoming documentary about Smith's life featuring never-before-seen footage.

"She inspired a lot of people. I think she changed a lot of lives," Birkhead said on 20/20. "That's why I think, to this day, there's still a fascination about Anna Nicole, and I think there will be for a long time."

She and her father spend lots of quality time together

Larry and Dannielynn Birkhead
Larry Birkhead Instagram

Birkhead and Dannielynn make regular appearances at the Kentucky Derby — where Birkhead and Smith first met. They always attend the Barnstable Brown Gala the night before the race. At the 2022 gala, Dannielynn wore an outfit purchased at a charity auction that Janet Jackson wore to the same event in 2003.

The pair are huge Jackson fans and attended Jackson's concert after the derby and in Cincinnati in July 2022. "Heading out to Dannielynn's second Janet Jackson concert (my millionth 😂) in Cincinnati as we sit here arguing which one of us is the bigger Janet fan," Birkhead posted on Instagram. "It's going to be 'Nasty' outside in the 100 degrees weather, but we are looking forward to it." After the show, they got to meet the iconic singer.

She celebrated her 16th birthday in 2022

Dannielynn turned 16 on Sept. 7, 2022, and Birkhead posted a sweet birthday tribute for her on Instagram. Alongside a collage of photos of Dannielynn from when she was younger, the proud dad wrote, "Sixteen years ago my beautiful baby was born. That's if you want to feel really old. Many people thought the odds were stacked against you, but maybe that was geared more towards me than you. Through tragedy, turmoil and a couple of baby tantrums-today you shine bright and are so accomplished. So proud to be your Dad!"

He also shared a funny exchange between him and the birthday girl, saying, "When I told Dannielynn what a great baby she was when she born, she shot back in true Dannielynn style … 'How do you know you weren't even there?' 😂 Ouch. I told her 'maybe not, but I have been there every day since I brought you home.' "

Birkhead closed the caption by writing, "Mom is looking down!"

Birkhead saved Smith's clothes for her

Birkhead put all of Smith's clothing in storage after she died — anticipating that Dannielynn would eventually want to wear items from her mom's wardrobe.

While chatting with PEOPLE in May 2023, Birkhead revealed that Dannielynn has already pulled a few items from the archive.

"There's some T-shirts and different things she fits in, but there's also some things that she'll say, 'Dad, no thanks, that's not my style,' " he said. "There's also some things that would have to wait till later. Some things are a bit more revealing and low-cut."

She and Birkhead attend the Kentucky Derby every year

Birkhead: Photo. Larry Birkhead/Instagram
Larry Birkhead/Instagram

In May 2023, the father-daughter duo attended the 149th annual Kentucky Derby. Dannielynn dazzled in a sunflower-print ball gown and jewelry from Smith's archives.

"To be honest, the dress was so big I had to drive it from Florida. It was too big to go on the plane and check it in. This was a full-on production," Birkhead told PEOPLE ahead of the horse race.

She paid tribute to Smith at the 2023 Barnstable Brown Gala larryanddannielynn's profile picture Verified More Barnstable-Gala pre-party pics. Can’t believe Dannielynn is almost 17. Time for a great Derby weekend #barnstablebrowngala #kentuckyderby #noImNotKeithUrban 26m
Larry Birkhead/Instagram

At the 34th annual Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Eve Gala, Dannielynn paid tribute to Smith by wearing a blouse featuring photographs from her mom's famous Guess campaign. Birkhead accompanied his daughter to the event and wore a tie that matched her blouse.

The Barnstable Brown Gala was where Smith and Birkhead first met in 2003.

"It's funny how one event can change your life. And that's what this party did for me. If I had not been there that night and had that connection, how different my life would have been if I hadn't met Anna and had our daughter," he told PEOPLE.

She's an excellent student

Dannielynn's senior year of high school is right around the corner. And with plans to attend college, she's taken her studies seriously.

In June 2023, Birkhead bragged about his daughter on Instagram after she made the honor roll, yet again.

"Dannielynn finished 11th grade and maintained honor roll through some challenging times we had taking care of my Mom before she passed away," the doting dad wrote. "I am so proud!"

During a previous interview with PEOPLE, Birkhead said Dannielynn is considering a career in forensics.

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