Larry Birkhead has only kind words to say about Howard K. Stern, his former adversary in the Anna Nicole Smith paternity case.
"People blame him a lot, but Anna had her own mind too," Birkhead, the father of Smith's baby daughter, tells OK! magazine. "She had a choice and we were arguing and that's what happens. I'm thankful that everyone can get along for Dannielynn. How could you not?"
Birkhead, 34, a Los Angeles photographer and ex-boyfriend of the late Playboy Playmate, had feuded with Stern, her longtime lawyer-companion, over the paternity of now 7-month-old Dannielynn. A court in the Bahamas ruled last week that DNA tests proved Birkhead is the father. Stern said he would not fight to retain custody of the baby.
The magazine also has photos of Birkhead and Dannielynn.
Stern has been helpful, Birkhead says. "It seems unlikely, but he's been a great help. He's been with Dannielynn the last several months. He knows her likes and dislikes and things that could help me. He gives me credit when I'm doing good things and gives me tips on things I should do a little different."
Birkhead says Stern, who was listed on the birth certificate as Dannielynn's father, invited him to meet the baby about a month ago.
Dannielynn has been living in an oceanfront home in the Bahamas with Stern.
Birkhead isn't as generous with his comments on Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, who is seeking visitation rights.
2"It's puzzling for her to display affection to me and then for the attorneys to say she's going for custody and Larry was just a sperm donor and a one-night stand," he says. "Then they all come and shake my hand. You've gotta scratch your head and say, 'What's going on here?'
"I'm willing to listen to see what people want, but that doesn't mean I'm going to agree. I hope I don't have to fight for the baby."
Smith gave birth to Dannielynn in September in a Bahamas hospital, days before her 20-year-old son, Daniel, died from a lethal combination of drugs at her bedside. Smith died in Florida in February at 39, also from a lethal combination of drugs.
Is Dannielynn healthy?
"The doctors say she's fine and has met all of her developmental milestones," Birkhead says. "She's a really curious, alert baby."
Birkhead tells the magazine that he and Smith had talked about marriage before she died.
"At one point she wanted me to get her a wedding ring," he says. "We'd talked about getting married a few times but when she found out she was pregnant I said it probably wasn't a good idea just because you found out you are pregnant. I didn't want to do it for the wrong reasons, I just wanted to make sure it was right. But, I went out and got a ring and she wore it."
Birkhead says that in the last e-mail Smith sent him, three days before giving birth to Dannielynn, she wrote, "Don't fall in love again, I'd be a bit jealous."
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