Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter is growing so fast.
Dannielynn Birkhead, the 12-year-old daughter of the late model and actress, made her annual appearance at the Kentucky Derby with dad Larry Birkhead this week. As the Daily Mail noted, the pair were photographed on the eve of the race attending a party thrown by Patricia Barnstable Brown, the daughter of former NBA player Dale Barnstable.
The soiree drew quite a few other celebrities, including Real Housewives of Dallas star Cary Deuber, actor David Alan Grier, and Olympic champion Bode Miller. But it was Dannielynn Birkhead who got the most attention. Anna Nicole’s daughter channeled her mom in a yellow dress emblazoned with pink flowers, and many noted just how much she now looks like her late mother.
Larry has kept Dannielynn mostly out of the spotlight as he raises her, with the exception of their annual trip to the Kentucky Derby, which always garners some attention for the 12-year-old, who is growing up quickly and looking more like her mother every year.
As the Daily Mail noted, Dannielynn was in the spotlight almost immediately after being born. Her half-brother, Daniel, suffered a drug overdose in the hospital while visiting and died just three days after she was born. Anna Nicole also died of a drug overdose just five months later.
That set off a controversy over the identity of Dannielynn’s father, who Anna Nicole originally claimed was her former boyfriend, Howard K. Stern. A number of other men also claimed they were the girl’s father, but a DNA test confirmed that Larry Birkhead was her real dad.
Headed to the 31st annual Barnstable-Brown Derby Eve Gala with Dannielynn, in her awesome dress by Junona. The start to an awesome weekend! #proudpapa #kyderby #KentuckyDerby2019 #BarnstableBrownGala pic.twitter.com/naIcJyOVpL— Larry Birkhead (@larrybirkhead) May 4, 2019
As the Daily Mail noted, Dannielynn still feels a close connection to her mom. When the young girl appeared with her dad on ABC’s 20/20 to talk about memories of the late model, Dannielynn shared that she feels reminders of her mom’s love from beyond the grave. Dannielynn shared a poem she wrote about the bond the two still have.
“Ever since my mother’s death, a friends of hers said she would send me pretty butterflies,” Dannielynn wrote of her mother. “So butterflies chase me everywhere, and I let the butterflies come out of my pencil and fly on my paper with their wings of love.”
Larry Birkhead said he was not present for Anna Nicole Smith’s pregnancy or Dannielynn’s birth, but the two got back together after the death of Anna Nicole’s son. Since her death, he retired from the public eye to focus on raising their daughter.