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Larry Birkhead talks life after Anna Nicole

When Larry Birkhead took his 3 year-old daughter Dannielynn to the Kentucky Derby this year, it was life coming full circle because in 2004 he met the toddler's mother, Anna Nicole Smith, at the famous horse race.

Now, as he prepares to sell her memorabilia at an upcoming auction in Las Vegas, Birkhead hopes he can begin to put some of the past behind him and move forward with his life.

"When Anna first passed away, I had to take every single thing out of the house and put it away in storage," he told Reuters. "It was too hard emotionally for me to be around those memories."

At first, when Smith died in 2007 of an accidental drug overdose, Birkhead said he never thought he could sell her things, but as storage fees and his own home came to look like something of memorabilia museum, he decided to let go.

"I don't know that my daughter is going to need every single thing that was her mothers. Maybe it's right to share some of Anna's legacy with her fans."

The items will be sold by Julien's Auctions at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on June 26 in Las Vegas. Going under the hammer will be much of Smith's furniture, wardrobe, artwork and even a car.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Jessica Rinaldi / X01704

    Celebrity Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia High School year book under the name, Nikki Hart, in Mexia

    Anna Nicole Smith

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

  • Celebrity Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia High School year book under the name, Nikki Hart, in Mexia

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Texas teen -

    Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia (Texas) High School yearbook under the name Nikki Hart. School officials say Smith went by the name Nikki Hart during her brief tenure there.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    Short, tragic life -

    The cover of the June 1993 Playmate of the Year issue of Playboy magazine featured Anna Nicole Smith. Smith, the pneumatic blonde whose life played out as an extraordinary tabloid tale -- jeans model, Playboy centerfold, widow of an octogenarian billionaire, reality-show subject, tragic mother -- died Thursday, Feb. 8, 2007, after collapsing at a Hollywood, Fla., hotel. She was 39.

    Playboy / Playboy
  • Smith & Her License Plate

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    She had drive -

    Smith holds a Texas license plate that reads "PMOY 93" (Playmate of the Year).

    Time & Life Pictures / Time & Life Pictures
  • ANNA NICOLE SMITHⓡ HOWARD MARSHALL    after his death, anna nicole smith fights

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Happy husband -

    Millionaire J. Howard Marshall II made headlines in 1994 when he married Smith. She was 26 and he was 89. He died Aug. 5, 1995, when he was 90. Smith and Marshall's son, E. Pierce Marshall, battled over Marshall's estate. The boy next to Marshall is Smith's late son, Daniel.

    Sipa Press / Sipa Press
  • NICOLE SMITH

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Daniel's short life -

    Smith and her son Daniel, 13, leave a federal courthouse in Los Angeles on Oct. 27, 1999. His body was found in the Bahamas on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006. A coroner's report ruled the death was caused by an overdose of anti-depressants and methadone.

    AP / AP
  • MARSHALL SMITH STERN

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Fighting for her share -

    Smith listens in court in Houston with her attorneys Tom Cunningham and Howard Stern on Monday, Oct. 2, 2000. Sixteen jurors, four of them alternates, were seated to hear the lawsuit where Smith laid claim to a share of the oil fortune of her deceased husband, J. Howard Marshall II. Smith married the Texas oil tycoon in 1994 and he died the following year. Stern later reportedly married Smith and claimed to be the father of Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern.

    Pool via AP / Pool via AP
  • SMITH

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Back to work -

    Smith is surrounded by members of KISS at the conclusion of the Lane Bryant show featuring plus size fashions in New York on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2002. The legendary rock band gave a live performance throughout the runway show, which kicked off New York Fashion Week.

    AP / AP
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    Activist -

    In this handout image from PETA, Smith poses as Marliyn Monroe for a 2004 ad campaign titled, Gentlemen Prefer Fur Free Blondes. PETA's Michael McGraw said in reaction to Smith's death, "She was a great friend to animals and used every opportunity to speak out against senseless cruelty."

    PETA via AP / PETA via AP
  • NYC: Heatherette - Fall 2004 - Runway

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    Hot pink -

    Smith walks the runway at the Heatherette fashion show during Olympus Fashion Week in New York on Feb. 12, 2004.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • "G-Phoria - The Award Show 4 Gamers" in Los Angeles

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Always outrageous -

    Smith feigns a "wardrobe malfunction" before announcing Rikku in "Final Fantasy X-2" as the Hottest Character award winner during "G-Phoria -- The Award Show 4 Gamers" in Los Angeles on Aug. 1, 2004.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • ANNA NICOLE

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Strange behavior -

    Smith waves during an appearance backstage during the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia on July 2, 2005. The production company behind the concerts claimed in a lawsuit against Trimspa Inc. that its reputation was damaged by Smith's attire and conduct. Smith, a spokesperson for Trimspa, was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

    AP / AP
  • SMITH STERN

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Wowing the Supremes -

    Smith and her lawyer Howard K. Stern leave the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 28, 2006. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that Smith could continue her claim for part of her late husband's fortune.

    AP / AP
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    Home sweet home? -

    Smith holds her daughter Dannielyn Hope and poses with Stern and "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Mark Steines at the couple's home in the Bahamas on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006. Businessman and former boyfriend G. Ben Thompson threatened to evict Smith from her Bahamas home, claiming she wasn't making the mortgage payments.

    Entertainment Tonight via AP / Entertainment Tonight via AP
  • Anna Nicole Smith watches a boxing match from the ringside at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    No sign of trouble -

    Smith watched a boxing match from near ringside at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2007. She died Feb. 8, 2007.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Virgie Arthur (C) mother of Anna Nichole

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    A mother mourns -

    Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, center, and her husband James Arthur, left, embrace as the coffin of Anna Nicole leaves a Bahamas church on March 2, 2007, as the former Playboy model headed to her final resting three weeks after her death. A throng of Bahamians, tourists and media crushed behind police barriers as the pink-laced white coffin was carried into the Mount Horeb Baptist Cathedral in Nassau, Bahamas, for a funeral ceremony closed to all but 300 invited guests.The church was reportedly filled with pink roses, and sources close to the funeral said Smith's body was clad in a gown and tiara.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Locals stand before the grave of Anna Ni

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Laid to rest -

    Locals stand before the grave of Smith at the Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Nassau, Bahamas, on March 2, 2007.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    'I told you so!' -

    Larry Birkhead rejoices after hearing in a Bahamian court on April 10, 2007, that he has been proven to be the legal father of Smith's baby, Dannielynn. Birkhead later hugged Howard K. Stern, who had been acting as the baby's father.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Larry Berkhead, Dannielynn

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Derby day with daughter -

    Birkhead and Dannielynn feed a pony at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Ky., on Wednesday, April 28. 2010. Birkhead, a Louisville native, first met Anna Nicole at a 2004 party around the famous horse race.

    AP / AP

What he refused to sell were two Kentucky Derby dresses she wore when they met — he has since loaned them to the Kentucky Derby Museum — photo albums, diaries and a Swarovski crystal encrusted gown Smith wore to mimic her idol, Marilyn Monroe.

"I kept that for my daughter because I know it was really special to Anna — she would never part with it," said Birkhead. "I also kept Anna's jewelry because every little girl likes jewelry."

Life after Anna Nicole
For Birkhead, life is still very much about Smith, making it difficult to move forward personally and professionally.

"Not a day goes by where don't I get a call from a publicist or a fan or there's some court case," said Birkhead. "So it's been hard to go and do my own thing."

Though he worked steadily as a celebrity photographer when he met Smith, he gets few assignments now because his former contacts only want pictures of Dannielynn.

His photography is now private work and he has been investing in real estate. He's also had offers to star in reality TV shows, but producers "want conflict and chaos," which he refuses to engage in.

Birkhead said he is protective of Dannielynn, and that means having to hire security. Between curious on-lookers and paparazzi, going to the playground means "you've got ten camera phones in your face and your every move is on Twitter."

His one-time nemesis, Smith's lawyer and former boyfriend Howard K. Stern whom he battled in court over paternity and guardianship of Dannielynn, is now a regular in his life.

"At one time he and I were not so friendly," Birkhead admits, rather wryly. "But now we get along. Howard is the executor of Anna's estate so we spend a lot of time talking about estate business."

Despite their past differences, Birkhead believes, "Howard truly does want what's best for Dannielynn...And there's not too many of those people floating around."

Birkhead hopes to soon begin to focus a little on himself. As a single father without any nannies, he said he has never spent a day away from his daughter except one night when he was in the hospital for kidney stones. Dating hasn't even been an option.

Birkhead said it is "heartbreaking" to watch Dannielynn see other kids with their moms. "She wants to know; she asks quite a bit" about Anna Nicole, said Birkhead.

He said he has told her "the basics."

"Dannielynn says her mom is a pretty lady who is very tall and is in heaven right now and that one day she'll get to play with her," said Birkhead.

For the future, he only wants a little "normalcy" but realizes it may never completely come his way because his daughter is the only surviving heir to a woman whose life was as unbelievable as a soap opera.

"It's been tough," he said, of the last three years. "But you know what? I've learned that in Anna Nicole's world, you never try to predict the future."

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