One of the biggest mysteries in the never-ending Anna Nicole Smith saga has been solved. The DNA test results have been released, and the identity of Smith's 7-month-old daughter, Dannielynn, was revealed: Smith's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead is the father.
His reaction at a press conference announcing the news? "I told you so."
The freelance photographer from California emerged from the Bahamian courthouse this afternoon and was greeted by a crowd of tourists, locals and a swarm of television cameras. The throng erupted in cheers when he gave what's become his trademark two thumbs up sign and then raised his hands high over his head.
My baby's going to be coming home pretty soon," he told the crowd.
Birkhead has been treated like a rock star at this pink Bahamian courthouse over the past few months, often playing to the crowd, shaking hands with the trial gawkers and even jumping in the air after the judge ordered the paternity test.
Birkhead seemed ecstatic as he announced the DNA results after the closed hearing.
And then there was another moment of drama. Birkhead hugged the man who had originally been his biggest foe in this custody battle, Howard K. Stern.
Stern, Smith's attorney and companion, was listed as the father on Dannielynn's birth certificate and has been caring for her since Smith died of an accidental overdose in February. Stern appeared grim after today's announcement and has not been shy about expressing how harrowing the entire ordeal has been for him.
Dr. Michael Baird, who analyzed the results of a March 21 DNA test, said a Bahamian judge had accepted his conclusions about the paternity test.
"Essentially, he's the biological father," Dr. Baird said of Birkhead.
Various other men have also claimed to be the child's father: including 59-year-old Prince Frederick von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor.
It's yet to be determined whether Birkhead will gain custody of the baby, although it does seem likely. Another custody hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Following today's announcement, Stern said he would drop his custody fight.
"I'm obviously very disappointed but my feelings toward Dannielynn have not changed," Stern said. He said that he invites Birkhead to come visit Dannielynn whenever he wants.
Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, from whom she'd been estranged, also wants custody of Dannielynn. Stern said he would not fight Birkhead for custody against Birkhead, but will do everything he can to make sure Arthur has as little to do with Danielynn as possible.
Arthur seemed pleased by the DNA results. "I'm happy that Dannielynn will know who her real father is,"she said.
Paternity, Custody Won't End Legal Questions
Regardless of today's outcome, the legal questions surrounding Smith's death and her family are likely to continue.
In addition to the custody battle, in inquest into the death of Smith's 20-year-old son Daniel was put on hold last month pending a legal challenge filed by Stern.
Daniel Smith died in a Bahamian hospital room from an apparently accidental overdose of methadone and two prescription drugs -- Zoloft and Lexapro -- that, when combined with methadone, can be deadly.
The chief magistrate overseeing that inquest has said that Anna Nicole Smith's mysterious death, just five months after her 20-year-old son's equally suspicious death, increased the police's interest in Stern, who was present or nearby when both mother and son fell ill and died.
Anna Nicole's death "caused us to lose the weight of her evidence, but at the same time, it has also increased the interest in [Daniel's] inquest because of the way in which she died,'' Bahamian Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez told United Press International. He said the court will "look with interest at the cause of [Smith's] death as well.''
Gomez said that Stern's testimony is critical because "he would have been the only other person present at the time.''
Dozens of witnesses are expected to testify at the inquest whenever it resumes.
Additional reporting by Chris Francescani, and some information taken from wire reports.