Whatever Happened To Larry Birkhead?

Up until the early 2000s, Larry Birkhead was just a regular, blond haired and blue eyed guy from Kentucky, plying his trade as a freelance photographer. Then his life forever changed when he met model/actress/tabloid magnet Anna Nicole Smith at a Kentucky Derby event. Before long,  he was whisked into Smith's high-profile world of celebrity events, galavanting around Los Angeles, and her outrageous, hit E! reality series The Anna Nicole Show. As part of the former Guess? icon and Playboy Playmate's loyal inner circle of various friends, employees, and hangers-on, Birkhead was certainly devastated when Smith died at age 39 in 2007. He will forever be linked to the late star, because after some confusion with some of her other associates, including Smith's lawyer-turned-lover Howard K. Stern, a paternity test eventually revealed Birkhead to be the father of Smith's baby daughter, Dannielynn. 

Smith has been gone for more than a decade now, so here's a look at what happened next in the life of her former lover, Larry Birkhead.

Larry Birkhead moved back home to raise his daughter

After Anna Nicole Smith's tragic death, Larry Birkhead eschewed the Hollywood lifestyle and returned to the Louisville, Ky. area where he was raised, to give Dannielynn what he'd had: a relatively regular and quiet childhood. "I think here in Kentucky is as normal as you can get," Birkhead told Inside Edition in 2017. "She loves school. She loves her friends. I just hope that she dreams big and accomplishes a lot." If the family of two's public, shared Instagram account is to be believed, they really don't get up to much socializing, except for the occasional trip down to Disney World in Florida, or to the Kentucky Derby across town.

According to a profile by Louisville TV station WAVE, Birkhead is a doting single parent. He doesn't employ a nanny and usually drops off and picks up Dannielynn from school himself. They don't indulge in a lot of extravagances either, beyond a large house and a dog that Birkhead once bought Dannielynn because she got good grades. He reportedly earns his living working in photography and flipping houses. 

2007 was a terrible year for Larry Birkhead

Larry Birkhead experienced an absolutely terrible 2007. In February of that year, Anna Nicole Smith, his former flame and mother of his only daughter, Dannielynn, died at age 39 after suffering from an accidental drug overdose. That left him the single parent to a baby girl, and according to CNN, he had to endure a courtroom battle to prove that he was the child's biological father. Just while Birkhead was putting his life back together and figuring out how to move forward, he faced yet another unexpected death. 

According to Legacy, in December of that year, Birkhead's father, Larry Birkhead, Sr., died at the age of 66. Like Larry Birkhead, Jr., the elder Birkhead was a lifelong resident of Louisville, Ky. where he'd founded, and then operated, a heating and air conditioning company.

Speaking with Access about the loss, Larry Jr. said, "I [had] just spoke to my father who was looking forward to both Dannielynn and myself joining the family for the holidays. Unfortunately he passed away [before that could happen]. I am so thankful that he got to meet my daughter. He was extremely proud of my fight to know my daughter, and that gives me great comfort to know I made him proud one last time."

Larry Birkhead did a lot more reality TV

The Anna Nicole Show was an iconic series among the mid-2000s boom of reality shows, at a time when many of the most exciting and popular series purported to offer an inside look at the life of celebrities. The show couldn't very well continue after the one-of-a-kind Anna Nicole Smith died, but her former flame and father of her child, Larry Birkhead, obliged the public's demand for more TV about his family.

Notably, he starred in a sad, made-for-TV documentary called Life After Anna Nicole: The Larry & Dannielynn Story. He also appeared on a 2014 episode of ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap, pictured above. (The "wife" in that scenario was Birkhead's sister, Angie.) He even looked for long-term love — but didn't find it — on Bravo's The Millionaire Matchmaker.

After a few years away from reality TV, Birkhead returned in 2020 with a small appearance on an installment of Bravo's Vanderpump Rules, and in Tragic Beauty, a 20/20 special about Smith. His story with his deceased love served as the basis for an episode of Lifetime's documentary series Hopelessly in Love, a project Birkhead also executive produced.

Larry Birkhead isn't dating anyone

Not even the aforementioned millionaire matchmaker, Patti Stanger, could find lasting love for Birkhead. He reportedly doesn't date much. In fact, he told Us Weekly that the only night of the year he goes out is to attend the annual Barnstable Brown Gala at the Kentucky Derby.

Nevertheless, Dannielynn really wants her dad to get back out there. According to Birkhead, as he was heading out to the gala in 2016, "Danni said, 'Would you do me a favor at the party?' And I said, 'What?' And she said, 'Would you get yourself a date?' I looked at her and started laughing and she said, 'No, really, I'm serious. Get a date.'"

She also checked in on him via text throughout the evening to see if he'd followed up on her request. He had not. A year later, however, Birkhead was acting a bit more social, taking Dannielynn to the occasional movie premiere. While there, she saw Britney Spears. "She fell over backwards because she thought that was going to be her mom," Birkhead told http://wp.looper.com/wp-content/tmp/uploaded/c527bb32deea97803c3396d35f3be9b7.jpg.

Some of Dannielynn's other potential romantic picks for her dad: Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande.

Larry Birkhead took Dannielynn back to the Bahamas

Anna Nicole Smith's life was cut tragically short; the star would have celebrated her 50th birthday in November 2017. To commemorate the occasion, Larry Birkhead took Dannielynn Birkhead to the Bahamas, where Smith gave birth to her in 2006.

"The trip back for Dannielynn is kind of special because she doesn't really know a whole lot about the place where she was born," Larry told Us Weekly. "When Dannielynn was little and I used to bring her here, the people used to come out screaming, 'The people's princess Dannielynn is here,' cause it was such a big deal about her birth here, and they embrace her and they come up and ask for pictures and stuff all the time." Birkhead also showed his daughter the Bahamian courthouse where he had fought for sole custody of her shortly after her birth.

For similar purposes, according to ABC 11, the Birkheads ventured to Smith's hometown of Mexia, Texas, for a 2021 20/20 segment commemorating the 14th anniversary of the death of Anna Nicole Smith. "I have to paint a picture for Dannielynn of who her mom was," Birkhead said.

Did Larry Birkhead cut Dannielynn off from her late grandmother?

Many members of Larry Birkhead's family live near him in Louisville, Ky., but he's reportedly somewhat distant from the other side of daughter Dannielynn Birkhead's family — the relatives of the child's mother, Anna Nicole Smith. In 2017, Virgie Arthur, Anna's mother and Dannielynn's grandmother, claimed to have not seen her Kentucky-based kin since 2010. "I wanna be part of Dannielynn's life," Virgie told the Daily Mail. "It's not fair to her, not to know her mother's side of the family, it's not fair." 

Larry countered his daughter's mother's mother's claims, calling it all a bunch of lies. "Anna's mom has seen Dannielynn, and she's seen her a few times," he told Inside Edition in 2017, adding, "I say that only because I want the story to stop."

Unfortunately, Larry and Virgie didn't seem to ever resolve their dispute. According to the Daily Mail, Virgie, Anna's last surviving parent, died from the effects of cancer in November 2018.