Like any new mom, Padma Lakshmi can't stop gushing over her new baby girl. "Your heart just explodes with love," the Top Chef
host says of the moment Feb. 20 when Krishna Thea was placed in her arms. "It's a burst of joy."
But Lakshmi's maternal bliss is being interrupted by more complicated matters of the heart. When she announced her pregnancy last October but refused to name the baby's father, Lakshmi, 39, set off a whirlwind of "Who's the daddy?" buzz. Sources answered that question March 18 when they confirmed to PEOPLE that Krishna's father is Adam Dell, a venture capitalist who had an off and on relationship with Lakshmi that ended many months ago. But that revelation failed to quell the hubbub. Now the cookbook author and jewelry designer is fending off accusations that she's not letting Dell, 40, be as hands-on as he'd like. "Adam wants to be deeply involved with the child. He's not satisfied with the access he has now," says a source close to him. "He wants a closer long-term relationship."
That, however, is unlikely to happen, says one of Lakshmi's friends: "There already is a very fair agreement in place." (While Dell lives in Austin, he makes frequent trips to New York, where Lakshmi lives, and has seen Krishna "regularly," according to a source.) There is also the matter of IMG Chairman Teddy Forstmann, 70, whom Lakshmi had also dated; they continue to have what sources describe as a close relationship. Forstmann's rep declined to comment about whether he is back on with Lakshmi, but according to sources, Forstmann (and not Dell) was in the delivery room when Krishna was born.
As Lakshmi sorts out the daddy drama-Dell's lawyer Bill Zabel says neither parent wants to take the matter to court-she's trying hard not to let it distract her from what matters: "I have a newborn! I just want some peace and privacy," she told PEOPLE. And what does baby Krishna want? Says Lakshmi: "She's a big eater."