Pop Culture

Birkhead says he won’t share custody of baby

Larry Birkhead said Wednesday he doesn’t plan to share legal custody of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby, a day after a court announced that DNA tests proved he is the father.

Birkhead, accompanied by his relatives, visited Dannielynn several hours after Tuesday’s announcement of the DNA test results, “Entertainment Tonight” reported. The former boyfriend changed his daughter’s diaper and fed her apple sauce with some coaching from Smith’s lawyer-turned-partner Howard K. Stern, the program reported.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday during which a judge is expected to discuss who will raise 7-month-old Dannielynn. Stern, who has been caring for the baby since Smith’s sudden death in February, said he wouldn’t fight for custody, but a lawyer for Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, indicated she might.

Birkhead said Wednesday he did not want another legal fight.

“We might go from one fight to another, but I’m hoping that’s not the case because, you know, there’s only one dad, and I have no problem with anyone that has good intentions being allowed to visit the baby and see the baby and be a part of the baby’s life,” he told NBC’s “TODAY” show from the Bahamas.

Birkhead said, however, he has no intentions of sharing custody of the child.

“It would imply that I’m unfit as a parent, which I’m not,” the Los Angeles photographer said. “I’m looking forward to giving Dannielynn everything that she needs and all the love and support.”

Stern said Tuesday he loved the baby despite the DNA results and would support Birkhead.

“I’m obviously very disappointed, but my feelings for Dannielynn have not changed,” he said, adding of Birkhead: “I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure he gets sole custody.”

  • Slideshow Photos

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    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

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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.

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  • 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.

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    She had drive

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • MARSHALL SMITH STERN

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • ANNA NICOLE

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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.

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  • SMITH STERN

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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.

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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

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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.

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  • Virgie Arthur (C) mother of Anna Nichole

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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.

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  • Locals stand before the grave of Anna Ni

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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.

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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

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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

Birkhead said he believes Stern gave up his custody fight because he wants what is best for Dannielynn. He said the “dirty laundry” being aired in the courtroom is “something the baby could see one day.”

Separately, a hearing was scheduled for Wednesday in the Bahamian Coroner’s Court to check the status of an appeal filed by Stern that stalled the inquest into the death of Smith’s 20-year-old son, Daniel.

Birkhead, who broke up with Smith before she moved to the Bahamas in July, had been seeking custody of Dannielynn for months. Stern was listed on the birth certificate as the baby’s father and has been taking care of the child at the oceanfront mansion he and Smith shared in the Bahamas.

Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern stands to inherit a fortune if the legal battles her mother left her ever get resolved.

The baby could potentially inherit millions from the estate of Smith’s late husband, J. Howard Marshall II. The former model had been fighting the Texas oil tycoon’s family over his estimated $500 million fortune since his death in 1995, and that battle remains unresolved.

It remains unclear how much, if any, of the Marshall estate Dannielynn could ever hope to obtain, and whether her guardian would have any access to the money.

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Even Smith’s own estate remains unresolved. A 2001 will released after her death in February said her fortune should be held in trust for her son, but he’s dead now. The 19-page will named Stern as her executor, but did not say how much Smith was worth or how much her daughter might inherit.

Nassau has been transfixed by the Anna Nicole saga since she moved here last year. Smith gave birth to Dannielynn in September, only to see Daniel die days later at her bedside from a lethal combination of drugs. Smith died on Feb. 8, at the age of 39, also from a deadly mix of prescription drugs.

Smith’s mother said Tuesday that she wanted to be present in her granddaughter’s life, but seemed appeased by the DNA results.

“I’m happy that Dannielynn will know who her real father is,” she said.

Although fatherhood will be a new role for Birkhead, he has said it is one he is prepared for.

“She’s got lots of toys and a nursery ready for her and she’s got everything she’s going to need. All I have do is just give her the love,” he told the “TODAY” show.

Birkhead has said he met Smith, a former Playboy Playmate, at a Kentucky Derby party in 2003 but that they didn’t start dating until he saw her at the same event the following year.

She had lost weight, was much friendlier than she had been the year before and invited him to accompany her to other events to take photos “and one thing led to another,” he told Fox’s Greta Van Susteren in January.

“We had, you know, even though it sounds like we battled and battled, but we had a great time in our relationship,” he told Van Susteren.

Birkhead has said that he and Smith remained together until May 2006 when she was five months pregnant with Dannielynn.

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