Larry Birkhead on Anna Nicole Smith, daughter Dannielynn today: Part 1

Anna Nicole Smith was born Vicki Lynn Hogan and grew up in the small town of Mexia, Texas.
8:04 | 02/11/17

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Transcript for Larry Birkhead on Anna Nicole Smith, daughter Dannielynn today: Part 1
followed this story for a decade. Reporter: Dannielynn birkhead is a typical 10-year-old obsessed with Snapchat. Wow, so beautiful. Reporter: And finding a new love for her dad. So your dad says that you're determined to get him a girlfriend. Is that true? Reporter: And she's got in mind a woman who's not your typical blind date. Nicki Minaj. Nicki Minaj. Reporter: Dannielynn lives a quiet life with her dad, Larry, just outside Louisville, Kentucky. But for a twist of fate her life could have been so different. Looking at her now you'd never guess this carefree little girl was once at the center of a media firestorm. An infamous paternity scandal. DNA results are in. I told you so. Reporter: Look closely and you can spot the resemblance to the mother she doesn't remember, but who so many others can't forget. I'm not going to comment on that. Reporter: This week marks ten years since the larger than life platinum blonde known as Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental drug overdose in a Florida hotel room. She was just 39 years old. She will always be Anna Nicole Smith's daughter. How much is she like her mom? I would say she is fearless like her mom. She'll get on any roller coaster that you put in front of her. She can work me like her mom could work people. She gets what she wants. But I think I could stand right next to my daughter, and we could look like twins. And the first thing they'll say is, "Anna Nicole, spitting image of the mother." Reporter: You think people want to project onto her -- It's just like any other kid who's lost a celebrity parent. They think that the child is automatically destined for the same path. Reporter: Later tonight, you'll hear more about how her father is determined that dannielynn takes a different path from her motherwho seemed to travel a troubled road from the start, a journey she had difficulty talking about. What did she tell you about her childhood? The stories that she told me were not the happiest of stories. Poor, abused. You would not have imagined that she would have become an internationally known figure. That she would have flash bulbs and Paparazzi and fascination about her life. None of that seemed possible. Reporter: Not for the girl named Vicki Lynn hogan, growing up just south of Dallas in sleepy mexia, Texas, population 6,500. Welcome to mexia, Texas, my hometown. Reporter: What was your relationship like as mom and daughter? Oh, it -- it was -- it was a good relationship. Reporter: I met Anna Nicole's mother, Vergie Arthur, back in 2007. She was beautiful as a child, Reporter: Was there any doubt that she was going to be a big sensation? Oh, no. Reporter: Be so famous? No doubt. From the time she was 5 or 6, she was always saying, "When I grow up, mom, I am going to be a model." Reporter: Along the way, Vicki Lynn drops out of high school at 15 and takes a job at Jim's krispy fried chicken. Anna Nicole Smith had this remarkable backstory. A mom at the age of 19, married to a fry cook at the fried chicken place where she worked, mother to a son named Daniel. Daniel's my life, he's my inspiration. He's my everything. Reporter: In 2000, the budding star tells ABC her first marriage collapsed after a year, leaving her broke and alone to raise her baby boy, Daniel. But, with stars in her eyes, she makes her way to Houston, where she notices the burning bright lights in the Texas sky. There was this big neon sign, it was blue and white. And it had this lady in high heel shoes and she had the bikini on and it would flash, tip-toe, then back, tip-toe, then back, like that. And I was like, "Oh how --" you know, "How neat." I can dance, I would love to do that. I didn't know it was topless, though. I didn't know anything about that. Reporter: Incredibly, she's at an age too tender to tend bar, yet old enough to try her hand at the other commodity being served up at Gigi's cabaret. The day that I went on to dance the first time, I ran out because I was so horrified and so ashamed of myself, but I looked down and saw all this money, and I was like, "Wow." And it was like $50. I'm like, "Whoa, $50." And back then that was a lot of money for me. Reporter: But mom Virgie, a local sheriff's deputy, is not impressed, and is not having it. I said, "This is not going to happen." Reporter: Not in your family. Not in this family, no. So I go down there. And I am in uniform, and so the manager comes over there. And he says, "Yes, ma'am, can I help you?" I said, "Do you see that child over there?" I said, "That is my daughter. And I want her out of here." And I said, "If you don't want me to come back here every night that you are open," I says, "She better not be in here again." Reporter: But it would take more than a mom's texas-sized determination to chase Vicki Lynn from the local gentlemen's club. And that, in a weird way, is where her story begins, because that's where she was onstage dancing the night that an incredibly wealthy man in a wheelchair came in to that club. Reporter: It's 1991, and 86-year-old J. Howard Marshall, an oil baron, is mourning the loss of his wife and mistress. Vicki Lynn is ready to fill the void. For, I believe, the obvious reasons, he found Vicki Smith to be quite compelling. He got a huge smile and, you know, he had these gorgeous blue eyes and he got a little twinkle in his eyes and he asked me to dance for him. And I did. Reporter: Undeterred by the more than 60-year age gap, the stripper and the aging oil tycoon become an item, which for her, includes all the perks of dating a billionaire. He took me to Neiman Marcus. It's kind of like "Pretty woman," except for the older gentleman. He paid me enough money not to have to go back to that place I was working at. And he took care of me and my son. Reporter: Her beau even buys her a 15-acre ranch outside Houston, where some unforgettable video is shot, like the pair riding an atv together around the grounds and celebrating their first Christmas as a couple, complete with a surprise gift for Marshall. The couple's very may/december romance would lead to a June wedding three years later in 1994. They got married. He couldn't stand up out of the wheelchair, god bless him. Didn't have to. She bent down to kiss him. Reporter: But the nuptials come after the would-be pinup girl gets the proposal she wants -- and her shot at fame. After sending in photos to "Playboy," they offer a full page spread. I think there's a myth that she came into "Playboy" and took "Playboy" by storm. Reporter: Stephen wayda was the photographer. That wasn't the case at all. She was just this -- like a scared child. She just sat in the makeup room, isolated, not saying anything. Once she got out on set, it was a performance. I mean, she just came alive. I love the camera. It's like making out with a camera. Reporter: She eventually lands the cover as playmate of the year. Anna Nicole stood out because of her face. She had that look. She was kind of almost the embodiment of a bombshell. The Marilyn Monroes. That's what was her appeal. Reporter: And soon that fresh face would be just as big of a hit with her clothes on, modeling for guess jeans. "Playboy" made her famous for people who liked "Playboy." The guess ads made her an international superstar model out of nowhere.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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