A lawyer for Anna Nicole Smith today said he was the father of the reality TV star’s newborn girl, who has been the couple’s one “ray of hope” as they have grieved the death of her 20-year-old son in the Bahamas.
Howard Stern told CNN’s Larry King Live yesterday that he and the former Playboy playmate named their daughter Dannie Lynn Hope.
“Right now we have to somehow get through what we’re going through,” he said. “Our baby is the one ray of hope.”
Daniel Smith died on September 10 while visiting his mother as she recuperated from giving birth three days earlier. Authorities have ruled out suicide and homicide, and were awaiting toxicology results to determine his cause of death.
Stern, who picked Daniel up at the airport and took him to the Nassau hospital the previous night, said he appeared happy to see his mother and half-sister. He said the young man appeared fine until the next morning.
“And then at one point Daniel said to me, ’How come I’m so tired?’ And in hindsight I wish that I had seen that as some sort of a signal and seen that something wasn’t right,” he said.
Soon afterward, Stern, who spent the night in the hospital room with the family, said Anna Nicole Smith noticed Daniel wasn’t breathing. Medical personnel could not revive him, and he and Anna Nicole continued resuscitation efforts even after they were asked to stop.
“She stayed there and we were at the foot of the bed and she was hugging Daniel’s legs,” he said. “And she was praying to Jesus and she was telling Jesus to take her and not take Daniel.”
Stern said he and Anna Nicole had been living together in the Bahamas, and planned to stay in the island chain long term and marry “at some point”.
“She wanted to be here to get away from the media and to start a new life and to give her daughter, you know, a chance to live a normal life,” he said.
Describing himself as a “proud father,” Stern said he had gone to several doctors’ appointments for the baby and dismissed a paternity claim by photojournalist Larry Birkhead.
“Based on the timing of when the baby was born, there really is no doubt in either of our minds,” he said.
Cyril Wecht, a pathologist hired by the family to conduct a repeat post-mortem, has said Daniel was taking a low dose of the antidepressant Lexapro. Stern said Smith had recently been admitted to hospital with back pain and depression, and may have had “other prescriptive medication in his system”.
He said there had not been a funeral and declined to describe any burial plans.
Daniel Smith, who appeared several times on the E! reality series The Anna Nicole Show, was the son of Anna Nicole and Bill Smith, who married in 1985 and divorced two years later.
Anna Nicole married Texas oil tycoon Howard Marshall in 1994, when she was 26 and he was 89. He died the following year and she has since been involved in legal disputes over the estate.