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Anna Nicole Smith's daughter growing up in 'paparazzi-free zone,' says her dad

Nov. 11, 2013 at 11:18 AM ET

When Anna Nicole Smith died in 2007, the lives of her partner, Larry Birkhead, and daughter, Dannielynn, were thrown into chaos. Birkhead has spent the last six years largely keeping himself and their child out of the spotlight, but is now ready to share his side of the story, as he explained on a visit to TODAY Monday.

"It was nice to be able to tell my story in my own words, without it appearing on a Lifetime movie or the Anna Nicole opera," said Birkhead, referring to the E! special "Life After Anna Nicole: The Larry & Dannielynn Story," which airs Monday night. 

"My relationship with Anna has been misrepresented in different projects, books, and movies and things," he added.

His relationship with the model/actress, who died of combined drug intoxication with prescription medications on Feb. 8, 2007, was never a "fairy tale," he said. "It had its ups and downs ... some very highs, and very low lows."

Today, he's raising Dannielynn (who waited in TODAY's Orange Room for her dad during the interview, stroking a puppy) in his home state of Kentucky, which he calls a "paparazzi-free zone." He did allow the little girl to model in a Guess advertisement one day, noting that her mother had modeled with the company for years. But, he added, "Fifteen minutes after she was done with the Guess photo, she was back on book reports."

As for life in Kentucky, "It's a little bit more laid back," he said. "My family is there to support me and to help me with Dannielynn and so that's been a positive. I spend a lot of time with her every day. I'm being both parents, so I think that I just try to give her a good foundation and try to just be there for her at all times."

"Life After Anna Nicole: The Larry & Dannielynn Story" airs on E! at 10 p.m. on Monday.

The short, tragic life of the former Playboy playmate and model.


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