Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter Dannielynn Birkhead is all of nine years old and making her red carpet appearance with dad Larry Birkhead at the Kentucky Derby. She looks so much like her mother, some fear she may take the same road to fame and potential tragedy followed by Anna Nicole. Is this too much too soon?
Anna was a Texas swimsuit model and had just been named Playmate of the Year in 1993 when she married billionaire J. Howard Marshall.
She was 26 and he was 89 and wheelchair bound when they tied the knot in 1994. Marshall died three months later touching off an epic legal fight.
Smith claimed half of his estimated $1.06 billion estate, despite never consummating their marriage. Son E. Pierce Marshall contested the claim, sending the case all the way to the Supreme Court–twice.
During that time, she landed some high-profile modeling contracts with such brands as Guess, H&M, Heatherette and Lane Bryant. But she became better known for her excessive lifestyle, bouts of public intoxication and tabloid sex scandals.
Larry Birkhead 43, grew up in Louisville, Ky, and was a regular at Kentucky Derby parties when he met Smith in May 2004 at the Trish Barnstable Brown Gala, according to local reports.
He became her partner and one of several lovers, both male and female. Anna Nicole was already in a downward spiral when she gave birth to Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern in Sept 2006 in Nassau, Bahamas.
Anna Nicole’s only other child, son Daniel Smith, 19, died from a drug overdose three days after Dannielynn’s birth.
Within six months, Anna also died from a drug overdose. She passed on Feb. 8, 2007, leaving Dannielynn as the only heir to a potential fortune valued then at $400 million. The amount was still contested at the time, turning Dannielynn’s paternity into a heated legal battle.
Birkhead and four other lovers made similar claims. But genetic testing proved Birkhead the father. He obtained sole custody of Dannielynn, changed her last name and raised her in Kentucky, largely out of the spotlight.
However, when she was six, she appeared in campaign for a Guest Kids, a childrens’ line, largely as a tribute to her mother. She appeared again in the brand’s Spring 2013 campaign, essentially turning pro.
Birkhead has taken his daughter to every Kentucky Dirby since gaining custody. They appeared together today (May 7) on the race day red carpet at Churchill Downs.
Dannielynn’s clearly resembled her late mother.
She wore a pale green dress adorned with pink petals, along with a floral headband and pink shoes. Larry wore a matching pale green suit jacket with a pink bow tie, white shirt and white trousers.
The legal case is long settled and Dannielynn’s net worth has been estimated to be less than $10 million. As she nears her teens, concerns are rising that she may be entering her most vulnerable years. Pressure to pursue a modeling career like her mother could make her a tabloid obsession.
Check out her photos and some classics of Anna Lynn. Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest celebrity news.