Now that Larry Birkhead is auctioning off Anna Nicole Smith’s belongings Saturday at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas (and online at juliensauctions.com), he is putting their daughter Dannielynn, 3, first.
Rummaging through the keepsakes of the late model and reality star wasn’t an easy task, but it was necessary as the single dad, 37, had ten storage bins filled with her items – and was paying $150,000 per year to insure and store her stuff.
“I had to use common sense,” he tells me. “I had to think ‘this is something I think Dannielynn would appreciate,’ ‘this is something I don’t think she would appreciate,’ or ‘this is something I hope she doesn’t appreciate.’”
He continues, “I am auctioning off some things that Anna Nicole’s husband, J. Howard Marshall, had given her, like a 1992 red Mercedes convertible’s in the auction. That’s in the garage at home, and we have our own cars. It’s backing up and seeing those cars every day, and moving them in the garage, and everything is cluttered. It’s like, ‘will Dannielynn really appreciate a 1992 car in the year 2025 when she’s driving?’ We might be driving spaceships by then.”
Other items fans will find include dresses, Marilyn Monroe memorabilia and Sugar Pie‘s dog bed.
In this interview, Larry opens up about their daughter, his relationship with Anna Nicole and her mom, plus life as a single dad in search of love.
What is life like for Dannielynn now?
Dannielynn is probably the funniest, craziest kid that I’ve met with the craziest sense of humor, just like her mom. She’s fearless and fun. You’d see her mom bungee-jumping, and Dannielynn, at her kiddie level, might jump off a couch. Anna loved scary movies, but Dannielynn might like scary cartoons — like Scooby Doo — that most 3-year-olds wouldn’t like. There are some of the same facial expressions, some of the same attitude sometimes when you want her to get up early – ‘waah’ – you see some of the scowls, and also the smiles. She has Anna’s smile, Anna’s mouth, and a lot of attributes that Anna has that she continues and carries on.
Tell me about her latest milestones.
Her imagination is going crazy with things. She pretends to be certain people. She loves Spongebob, so she pretends to be Spongebob and I have to be Patrick. She knows tons of letters, words and numbers. She’s always trying to experiment with different things. She’s super-inquisitive, she loves to learn. She’s always asking questions. She likes me to read her books.
And, what’s so funny is we have a house in California, we have a house in Kentucky and she has a house that her mother owns in the Bahamas. Geographically, she knows where she’s at at all times. She says ‘I like the Kentucky house because my room is bigger, but I like the Bahamas because I like to go to the ocean.’ She likes California because she likes her pink bedroom. She knows. For her age, which is pretty smart, she places herself in different locations. She’s ultra-aware of that.
The milestones are that she’s brilliant. She’s ultra-advanced. You see her around other kids her age, and it’s remarkable how she tries to become a nurturer to kids. She always asks kids ‘are you OK? do you need anything?’ She’s kind of a mother to these kids, and for not having a mother, and having that natural instinct, I think is special.
Could you share a precious moment you’ve had with her recently?
The other day she looked up to me and said ‘daddy, I really love you because you’re the most special daddy in the whole world.’ She says little things like that that pull at your heartstrings. Sometimes she’ll surprise me with some of the things she says, and I’ll think ‘where did she get that?’
And then, she’ll say things about her mom. We’ll ride on the plane, and she’ll say ‘can I get out and go in the clouds with mom because isn’t this heaven?’ and little things like that. Or, we’ll be watching Finding Nemo and something will happen to the mom, and she’ll say ‘that’s OK, Nemo, something happened to my mommy too.’ She has an understanding, sort of, but in a kid-like way. Little things like that.
There’s not a day that goes by when you don’t want to wrap your arms around her and give her a big hug and tell her how special she is. Every day is a precious moment.
What is her favorite toy and game to play?
She loves everything, but she got a Barbie Corvette for Christmas. She loves riding around in that. It has the radio in it, and it has shiny, rimmed tires and all the girly things. She’s just now learning. She’s hit my car a couple times, so I have to watch her. I take the keys away from her, and write her a ticket. But I impounded it because she scratched up the garage and the cars and stuff a couple times, trying to get out of the garage and go backwards. But that’s one of her favorite toys.
She loves Spongebob, so she has a Spongebob costume she gets in. She likes to dress in costumes, so she has a Supergirl costume.
She’s learned how to work the remote, so she’s obsessed with our theater at home. She tells anybody and everybody that will listen that she has her own movie, and she doesn’t have to go to the movies. So she goes down there, and she turns this button on. She knows how to pop in the DVDS in, so she puts her own movies on. She tells people now, ‘would you like me to pop you some popcorn?’ and she invites people over. She gets on the phone when people call, and says ‘would you like to come to a movie at my house?’ This is at the house in Kentucky. Every time they come over, even though they’ve been there a million times, she says ‘come look at our new theater.’ She loves watching cartoons and movies, and that’s one of her favorite things.
What will you tell her about her mother and brother [who died soon after her birth] when she’s older?
I don’t have all the answers to know what I’ll exactly tell her at the time. Right now we keep it kid-friendly, and tell her ‘mommy’s in heaven with Daniel.’ She’s been to the grave site in the Bahamas to visit them. I try not to push too much on her about that at one time, but I don’t want her to forget her mom or Daniel, so I keep a few pictures and trinkets around and she’ll ask questions, and I can tell a story here and there.
But as far as the way that they died, that is something that I’ll have to find out later how to tell her. It might be a cautionary tale when she wants to go out one time with friends. I might say ‘hey, this is something we need to discuss.’ Or it might be something that I sit down with an expert, and say ‘can you help me here? Paging Dr. Phil.’ You don’t really know everything that you’ll say, but I have so many years right now to wait for that where I can let her be a kid for now.
What’s the biggest misconception about you and Anna Nicole?
The misconception about our relationship is that I came into the spotlight after she had given birth, and people didn’t know who I was. They don’t know the length of our relationship. We dated over two-and-a-half years. Even during the paternity battle, publicly we were at odds with each other, but I would show up at a courthouse on one date, and then I’d go and have a phone call twenty minutes later and she’d be talking nice to me. The next minute, our attorneys would go out there and battle it out. There was much more to it than people knew.
About Anna, I think there’s so many negative things about the way she passed that people want to focus on, but Anna was a charitable person, she loved children, she loved pets, she loved life, she loved her son Daniel. And she was down-to-earth. There was so much about her – she loved presents and surprises. You could surprise her with a trinket like a Powerpuff Girl t-shirt or one of the Marilyn purses that she collected – people think that she always wanted diamonds and the finer things, and she did like those things, but she wasn’t all about those things.
That’s what you’ll see in the auction when you see the small little things to the fine arts and the paintings.
How involved is your family in her life, as well as Anna Nicole’s mom?
My family is ultra-involved in her life. We left Kentucky to come here, and she’s been playing with my nieces and nephews and her cousins. She looks up to them because they’re older, so a lot of times, she role plays that she is her cousin. And sometimes I use that to my advantage because if she won’t eat a certain vegetable, I’ll say ‘your cousin does it, why don’t you do it?’ ‘OK.’ So she might try something.
As far as Anna Nicole’s mom, right now, at this time, she’s not involved. That’s all I’ll really say about that. She’s not involved with her.
Is that your decision or her decision?
I think it’s both. I gave her the opportunity for visitation, and I think that she saw her once. She hasn’t requested visitation again from me. Instead, we’re locked in a court battle in two different jurisdiction where she’s suing me in Texas for something I actually had nothing to do with. I don’t really like to talk about that. It’s so touchy.
I hope maybe someday she might put our best interests in front, and want to see her, and things will calm down as far as the tension between the two of us, but at this time, I try to keep out all the negative energy, and to me, that was getting too negative.
What is life like for you as a single dad?
It’s hectic. You don’t really get many breaks, and you don’t get as much sleep as you need. You don’t get to get out there and date. I haven’t been on a date. I don’t do a lot of social things. It’s difficult because whereas John Doe might take his baby to the grocery or might take his baby across the street, there’s interest, people follow us, there’s cameras, there’s also criticism. People want to criticize you for things based on what she’s wearing or what I’m wearing or weird things. Or ‘why is she doing this or doing that?’ Or ’why isn’t she doing this or doing that?’ I don’t know specifics, but it seems like people always have an opinion. I’ve learned over the last few years that you can’t let that dictate your life. You have to do your thing, and do what’s best for your daughter. That’s been my motto.
I have a lot of supporters, too. I have a lot of people who come up to me and say ‘what a great dad you are, you inspired me to fight for my daughter.’ And I have a lot of ladies that pinch my cheeks in the grocery store and in the toy store, and tell me how they followed the whole situation.
It’s different. There’s interest in the whole thing and how it turned out. I’m happy that the biggest compliment I’ve gotten is that they think I’m a great dad, and I think that’s probably the best compliment I’ll ever get in life.
Why haven’t you dated? I’m sure there’s tons of interest.
Actually, I haven’t been on a date because I haven’t a) had time, and b) it’s a little emotional now just to think about dating. I spent the last four months going through storage bins doing this auction stuff, so the memories are so fresh. That, coupled with the fact I don’t have time. And also, girls don’t come up to me a lot and approach me. I’ve had girls say ‘well, how do you fill Anna Nicole’s shoes?’ They’re intimidated because they think you have to have an Anna Nicole-type. That’s not always the case.
And on the flipside of that, I’ve had girls who have shown interest, but I think maybe they want to be in the spotlight.
Quite honestly, I have a little bit of a struggle in my head having Dannielynn call somebody else ‘Mom.’ I’m working through that, and I’m hoping to get out there.
With this auction and some of the things I’m doing, I’m hoping to get some finality to some things and try to move on, and try to do some things professionally and personally for myself.
What qualities would you look for in a woman?
I’m not real picky, but probably the looks of Halle Berry. Drama-free, pretty on the outside, but pretty on the inside as well. And someone that cares for children, first and foremost, and also a girl that can put up with the craziness in my life.
These days, anybody with two arms who can help me take care of Dannielynn. [laughs] I’m not really sure. As long as she’s someone who’s caring, loving to Dannielynn and not interested in all the craziness, but interested in me for me. She’ll care for children. She doesn’t have to fill Anna Nicole’s shoes – because she was a size 10, so that’s hard to fill. [laughs] But just be her own self and be comfortable in her own skin.
Do you plan to raise Dannielynn in Kentucky?
That’s my plan for right now. We travel back and forth to different places quite a bit, but that’s hopefully going to be home base. And then we’ll take off from there.
She’s registered for school in September there. It took me two years. I served as a contractor on my own house that I built back there. It’s taken me two years from start to finish to complete it, and we put water in the pool last month.
Hopefully in Kentucky because there’s such a support system there. That seems like the better plan.
Here’s another pic of the daddy-daughter duo:
Head to juliensauctions.com to place a bid on Anna Nicole Smith’s items.