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Birkhead is the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby
Sheeraz Hasan in Los Angeles
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April 11, 2007 10:40 IST

For those who have been keeping a tab on the paternity drama playing out in the Bahamas, it probably came as no surprise when Larry Birkhead was declared to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's seven-month-old daughter Dannielynn, reports Sheeraz Hasan, founder of

"I hate to be the one who told you this, but I told you so," Birkhead said outside the Bahamas courthouse during a press conference. "I'm the father."

Then he tried to hold back the tears. "Thank you for your support. Thank you for the people who got me this far," he said. "Thank you very much. My baby's going to be coming home pretty soon."

He was followed by his attorney, Emrick Knowles. "We'll be back in court on Friday afternoon. We've got some other issues to deal with," he told reporters but would not make any specific comment, other than to say: "[The judge] hasn't made any ruling about custody yet."

Howard K Stern, Smith's lawyer and companion who was listed on the baby's birth certificate as the father, embraced Birkhead outside the courthouse.

"We're going to do what we can to make sure that the best interests of Dannielynn are carried out," said Stern. "And I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure that he gets sole custody."

When asked if Birkhead could see Dannielynn immediately, Stern replied, "Larry can come over to the house and spend as much time with her as he wants to right now."

Meanwhile, Virgie Arthur, Smith's estranged mother, told reporters after the hearing that she expects to have a role in the baby's life. "I'm happy that Dannielynn will know who her real father is," said Arthur. "I look forward to working with Larry raising my granddaughter."

Dannielynn was born in the Bahamas on September 7, three days before Smith's 20-year-old son Daniel died while visiting his mother in a Nassau hospital.

The baby, whose full name is Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, will most likely inherit millions from the estate of Texas oil baron J Howard Marshall II, Smith's late husband who died in 1995.

Smith died on February 8 in Hollywood, of an accidental drug overdose. For years, she had been battling the Marshall family over the estimated $500 million fortune her late husband had left in his will.

When the baby's paternity was questioned, Birkhead submitted his own DNA for testing. Dannielynn's was tested on March 21 following a recommendation by a Bahamas Supreme Court Judge. Stern did not undergo DNA testing. After Birkhead's  DNA test was performed, Stern filed an appeal to stop the release of the results but withdrew it when it became clear that his legal maneuver would be rejected by the court.

Last month, Stern allowed Birkhead to see Dannielynn in the Bahamas, an experience Birkhead called 'one of the greatest things in my life.'

Confident that he was Dannielynn's father, Birkhead began making preparations for the day that Dannielynn would be coming to his home. "I've been putting a nursery together," he said last month following a paternity hearing in Los Angeles.

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