As the 14th anniversary of Anna Nicole Smith’s death from an accidental overdose approaches, Larry Birkhead decided to take their daughter, Dannielynn, on a tour of the most influential places in in her late mom’s life. And, of course, it’s all captured on video for a new 20/20 special about the model and actress.
Um, why? It’s lovely that Birkhead wants to teach his daughter about the mother who died when she was just a baby, but we’re not clear on why the camera crew was necessary. Or, rather, we have our suspicions and wish they weren’t true.
“Dannielynn’s a teenager now, and she doesn’t really know a ton of things about her mom,” Birkhead says in a voiceover during the special’s trailer, which has the icky name of “Tragic Beauty.”
There are so many sad things about that sentence. That a 14-year-old girl doesn’t know much about her late mom. That the special is once again dredging up a bunch of sensationalist stories about this woman’s life and death, when it was that kind of stuff that caused her life to spiral further and further out of control in the first place.
NEW: Anna Nicole Smith | What happens when her family goes in search of her secrets, past and possessions? ‘Tragic Beauty’ the new #ABC2020 event premieres Friday night at 9|8c on ABC. https://t.co/ZGewRPfd2o pic.twitter.com/4UnUIvKlvv
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) January 30, 2021
Yes, Birkhead should definitely have taken Dannielynn to Mexia, Texas, where her mom — who was then Vickie Lynn Hogan — grew up. Yes, it’s great that Dannielynn meets one of Smith’s friends from high school and goes to “the places she frequented before becoming famous.” It’s even great that Dannielynn sees some of Anna Nicole’s memorabilia that has been tucked away in a Los Angeles storage locker since she died. Although that last part kind of makes us even sadder.
But this probably should have been a private journey, not a performance for the public. Learning about one’s deceased mother, especially when you are still a teenager, is an incredibly personal thing, and a process Dannielynn should have felt completely comfortable just being herself throughout. It’s hard to imagine having a camera crew there allowed that.
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