Larry Birkhead Admits ‘I’m Not the Best Dad,’ but Tries to Keep Anna Nicole’s Memory Alive for Daughter

09/12/2016 at 02:25 PM ET

Larry Birkhead Dannielynn
Michael Loccisano/Churchill Downs/Getty Images

It’s been nearly 10 years since Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental drug overdose. And Larry Birkhead is determined to keep her memory alive as he raises their 10-year-old daughter Dannielynn.

“I’m not the best dad — I have my faults — but I do the best I can with what the situation is,” he told Natalie Morales during a Today show segment aired on Monday.

“We make the best of it, and I think Dannielynn’s best days are still to come. She’s got such a bright future in front of her, and I try every day to keep a little bit of the memory alive of her mom.”

Dannielynn was just 5 months old when Smith was found unresponsive in a Florida hotel room. And Birkhead, 43, says he still gets emotional about the death.

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“There’s things left unanswered, things that I didn’t get to say to her, and it’s tough when you go to school and you’re filling out the forms. It gets me every year. And you have to put ‘deceased’ on her mom’s information,” he says.

“There’s days that if I stop and think about it, and you ask me about it, you will see a tear, but every other minute of the day you will see a smile. That’s just how it goes.”

Dannielynn Birkhead
Gustavo Caballero/Getty

He says he decided to raise the little girl in a small Kentucky town to shield her from the spotlight. But that hasn’t kept the unwanted attention away.

“People call me all the time and say, ‘Can she be in a movie? Can she model?’ ” Birkhead says. “I didn’t care about it, so I’d say, ‘No, she’s not interested.’ ”

He adds that Dannielynn is just a “regular kid.”

“She’s into technology now and she’s into games and these YouTube videos,” Birkhead says.

The 43-year-old says Dannielynn has suggested that he get back out into the dating ring, but he’s focused on raising his daughter.

And much to Birkhead’s delight, he says of the late Smith, “I think she would probably think I’m doing a pretty good job.”

— Char Adams

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Showing 28 comments

Stella on

How refreshing! Here is someone who is not looking to exploit his child, his own personal tragedy, or Anna Nicole’s death to make a buck. It sounds like she has a healthy, loving family and a normal life. Best wishes to them both.

Anonymous on

I think you are doing a great job. Lucky little girl.

Lisa on

Good dad. I knew he would do the right thing by that little girl, and I’m sure Anna is somewhere feeling proud of both.

Just Sayin' on

Perhaps you didn’t actually read the article but John Smythe, you attitude sucks.

Rose on

Raising a child is not about how much money you have, it’s more about the unconditional love and understanding. I admire how he is raising his little girl. She knows about her mom, but she gets to be a kid for as long as she wants because her dad it protecting her from the vultures! Way to go dad, your are a #1 dad.

cj on

Keep up the good work Larry. The pain will never go away but you seem to have a level head on your shoulders and your little girl is very lucky to have you.

Sara on

I think he’s doing a commendable job, and for some reason this story holds a soft spot in my heart. Anna’s death was such a tragedy and their gorgeous little girl looks so much like both Mom AND Dad. Blessings to Larry and Dannielynn.

Misfit on

Did I misunderstand? This guy is a media whore. His link to the media is a little girl.

Reine on

He is level headed & he seems to be doing a great job raising her.

YES on

That’s all you can do. Always do your best. That’s all she needs.

Theresa on

I think that can be said for anyone. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. We are all doing the best we can. I am glad he is raising her to have a normal life. I am not sure her life would be as normal if her mother was raising her..

JanM on

Except she did model for Guess.

Rachel on

Media whore? Really? I feel like I see maybe one interview from this guy a year and a picture of him and his daughter around Derby time. He’s not out there pimping out his daughter for money so I’d hardly call him a media whore.

maggie on

Wow, she has changed! Looks mostly like her dad now.

victoriaJ on

What a beautiful girl and how nice to see a little girl look like one. She’s obviously his princess and I have no doubt her mum is watching and is proud of the father he is and the daughter he’s raising!

Alf on

How in heaven’s name is this man a media whore? He appears to be a great dad doing the best job he can raising his daughter. As someone else said, there is probably one photo of him and his daughter a year and that is around Derby time. You want to see a media whore you look to people like the Kardashians, Kristin Cavillari or now Chrissy Tiegen.

trish on

Good job!!

KeepingItClassy on

@JanM, it seems like that was a one-off thing, and only because of the late Anna-Nicole’s connection with the brand (she was the iconic “Guess girl” in the 90s). That campaign was several years ago, and I haven’t heard of her modeling since then. Larry seems like a loving dad, and he’s keeping Dannielynn’s exposure to a minimum and letting her have as normal of a childhood as is possible under the circumstances.

peds nurse on

So glad he is letting her be a regular kid and isn’t letting Hollywood ruin her like it has so many others. Larry, if they ever come to you wanting a reality show, run fast in the other direction and tell them no. That would be the un-doing of your years of hard work! Glad you both are doing well.

Best wishes! on

I hope and pray that he can keep that innocent child out of the spotlight and away from the media as long as he possibly can. However painful it may be for his daughter, I’m sure the day will finally come when she learns of her mother’s rather “wild” past, of posing nude, using drugs, etc. but deep in her heart, I’m sure Anna Nicole deeply loved her children.

Me on

That child looks exactly like her Dad!

Jill on

I am so glad Larry turned out to be the father. I feel as though Howard would have exploited Dannielynn.

NicoleAnnaSmyth on

I think he is doing a fabulous job raising Dannielynn. She seems like a great kid.

Anonymous on

@Misfit…it said nothing about a media whore. He is rarely in the news, papers etc.

Mommmmo on

Great job! You go dad! 🙂

Hope on

No mention of Dannielynn’s brother who died while visiting Anna Nicole in the maternity ward? I remember that whole period of time being a whirlwind of drama and heartbreak. Awful. I hope she has a happier life than what she came from.

L on

Nice to see he does not use his little girl for money

Anonymous on

Too bad she has to grow up in a Trump Presidency. Too bad for all of us.