Dannielynn Birkhead continued her streak of attending the Kentucky Derby by making a grand entrance at the event on Saturday (May 6). The 16-year-old daughter of Anna Nicole Smith and Larry Birkhead has become a fixture at the “Run for the Roses” in recent years, growing up a little more with each passing race. For 2023, the teenager looked even more like her late mother, as she sported a Leo Lin gown with a bright yellow sunflower in a photo just ahead of the event. She also sported her mother’s personal jewelry.
The teenager was all-smiles as she posed with her proud dad, as well as rockstar Richie Sambora! It turns out the Bon Jovi member, 63, gave Danielynn a private guitar lesson earlier in the day where she learned to play “Black Cat” by Janet Jackson. “Rockin’ the rest of @kentuckyderby our with Richie Sambora and Dannielynn,” Larry wrote in his caption. “Richie graciously made good on his offer to give Dannielynn a private guitar lesson and spent a ton of time giving her confidence building tips and mastering the art of playing the guitar. Great guy!” he also said. Last year, Richie met the then 15-year-old and offered her a lesson anyone — and it seems like this year, they took him up on it!
In 2022, Dannielynn attended the event alongside her father. The young woman looked like the embodiment of spring in a colorful dress by designer Celia B. The vivid print was like a floral bouquet in fabric, and the bright blue fascinator atop her head. She wore matching shoes and let her blonde tresses drape across her shoulders. The look accentuated Dannielynn’s resemblance to her mother to the point that even her father said his daughter “looked like (Anna’s) twin.”
There are some who look forward to Dannielynn’s presence at the Kentucky Derby more than the actual race. In 2022, she got to meet Janet Jackson at the Barnstable-Brown gala. Dannielynn was dressed in an outfit that Janet wore in 2003 – she purchased it during an auction Janet held with Julien’s Auctions to benefit charity. Janet and Daniellynn posed together with bright smiles on both their faces.
Dannielynn also met up with rocker Richie Sambora. The young girl brought her own guitar and stood front row during the Bon Jovi star’s performance. The two bonded shortly afterward, with Richie signing the guitar. Apparently, Richie offered free guitar lessons to Dannielynn whenever she visits Los Angeles (the young lady lives in Kentucky with her father). Richie encouraged her to follow her dream of being a successful guitarist.
“It’s exciting to be back here,” Larry said when speaking to WDRB in 2022. After the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the running of the Derby, Larry said it was “good to see the city bustling” and for him and his daughter to continue their family tradition. “I picked this (outfit) and said, ‘what do you think?’ She’s at the age now, she’s like, ‘Dad, just push the button. Send it. I’ll try it on. I don’t want to go shopping.’ So I try my best. It seems to have worked out for her.”
“I think people think we always are matching, so it’s almost like we have to match,” he continued. “People think we’re going to match. We’ve been doing it since she was five-years-old when I was holding her up as a baby. And here she is. Maybe she’s going to be wheeling me down here in a wheelchair shortly.”
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