“It’s a lot of work, but there’s a lot of reward there,” Birkhead said on an episode of the Steve Harvey Show. “Everyday is like an adventure, it’s a little bit of a struggle.”
Smith – who was famous for starring in Guess denim ads and for her colourful private life – died at 39 in 2007 after an accidental overdose. Her daughter Dannielynn was just five months old at the time.
“It’s tough raising a little girl without a mum,” Birkhead, 43, told the talkback host. “You always want to make sure you’re doing the right thing that a mum would choose that a dad might not choose. There were days on the playground where she would say she wants her mum back … it’s tough for her to visit the grave. It makes me emotional thinking about everything we’ve been through. It’s just been a rollercoaster.”
Smith’s life became tabloid fodder after she became 1993 Playboy Playmate of the Year and then, at 29, married business magnate J Howard Marshall, who was 89. After he died 14 months later, Smith went to the Supreme Court to fight for part of his inheritance. However, she died in February 2007, just months after her eldest son, Daniel.
After her death, several men claimed to be Danielynn’s father. However, a DNA test proved that Birkhead’s parentage.
This week he said, “Things could have turned out a lot different,” he thought. “I think in a sad tale, this is kind of the happiest ending that you could have.”