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Heidi Klum's daughter Leni shares rare throwback photos in adorable birthday tribute to 'papa' Seal

Seal adopted Heidi Klum's daughter not long after she was born

TOPSHOT - British singer Seal (R) and US model Leni Olumi Klum arrive for the Los Angeles Special Screening of Netflix's "The Harder They Fall" at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, October 13, 2021. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)
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As Seal turned 61, the singer received a heartfelt birthday tribute from his adopted daughter Leni Klum, whom he shares with ex-wife Heidi.

Leni took to Instagram stories to share rare throwback photos with her dad to mark the special occasion. In the photos, she looks like a little toddler as Seal gives her a kiss on the lips and she has a big smile on her face. She captioned the photo: "happy birthday papa i love you". 

She followed up the photo of her resting her head against her dad's cheek, as she looks up adoringly at him and he smiles into the camera. She added a heart to the post to show her love for him.

Leni's tribute to Seal on his birthday© @leniklum Instagram Story
Leni's tribute to Seal on his birthday

Seal's relationship with Leni, 19, has been widely publicized since before her birth, as Heidi was two weeks pregnant with her daughter when the couple started dating. While Leni was not biologically Seal's, he stayed by the supermodel's side as she gave birth and treated Leni as his own, adopting her in 2009.

Leni's biological father, Flavio Briatore, has never been involved in the parental duties - and Seal revealed to PEOPLE in 2007 that this worked out well for the family.

Leni looks adoringly at Seal© @leniklum Instagram Story
Leni looks adoringly at Seal

"To me, it’s irrelevant. Anyone can father a child. Big deal", he said. "Raising the child is the key."

He added that: "Flavio has no contact with Leni. That’s not because he’s a bad person. I actually think he’s great in many ways, because a selfish man might want to disrupt the child’s set-up, and he’s clearly not a selfish man. He obviously sees the set-up and leaves it alone."

Seal and Heidi went on to have three more children together: Henry, 18, Johan, 17,  and Lou, 14. While the couple divorced in 2014, they have committed to co-parenting the four kids in harmony.

Naturally, co-parenting comes with its challenges, which Seal hinted to in an interview with Us Weekly.

"It can be challenging. It requires teamwork", he revealed. "If you are a team, if both parents are a team, then it is really easy and that's not a real challenge at all."

He added: "But you have to be a team. And if you're not a team, then it can all fall to pieces. I never had that teamwork [with Heidi]. We never had teamwork."

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