"That was his pride and joy, his baby girl," Paul's younger brother Cody Walker exclusively told E! News ahead of what would have been the actor's 50th birthday on Sept. 12. "He loved her to death, he only wanted what's best for her."
Meadow, who Paul shared with ex Rebecca Soteros, was only 14 when her dad died and there was hardly a remembrance of the Fast and Furious franchise star that didn't mention how much he adored his kid.
"He loved being a dad," Cody reminisced at FuelFest Mid-Atlantic in Millville, N.J., the latest stop on the motorsports tour he co-founded to benefit Reach Out Worldwide, the humanitarian aid organization Paul started in 2010. "He had a lot of guilt for not being able to always be there."
Meaning, any misgivings Paul had about Hollywood stemmed from the fact that acting took him away from his No. 1 role.
"That's why Paul didn't like the industry," explained Cody, himself a father of three (including 4-month-old Paul Barrett "Bear" Walker). "There were people he liked, many of them." But, Cody added, all the traveling that making movies entailed meant Meadow had to share her dad with the world.
Nowadays, however, the 24-year-old model appreciates that the world is happy to join her in honoring her father body of work, including the films he was inevitably most famous for. And she remains connected to him in her own special ways.
"For me, it's numbers," Meadow, who made her franchise debut with a cameo in Fast X, shared with E! News Chief Correspondent Keltie Knight at the movie's Rome premiere in May. "Four and seven are my dad's favorite numbers. And I swear whenever I'm doubting anything or whenever I'm in an argument with someone, I start seeing four and seven everywhere. So I always know that it's him."
Her godfather Vin Diesel, who walked her down the aisle when she married Louis Thornton-Allen in 2021, told Knight on the red carpet that he believed Paul was smiling at Meadow's performance. Added Jordana Brewster, whose character Mia is still enjoying her life with Paul's Brian O'Conner in the Fast cinematic universe, "Meadow has so much grace and she carries on her father's legacy in such a beautiful way so I love the fact that she's in the film."
Meadow said being surrounded by her Fast family at the premiere "brings out the happiness. For me this is super exciting and he would be amazed that this is happening."
She said she was thinking about the possibility of more acting in her future, but for now, modeling was her focus and "big passion."
Meadow made her runway debut at Paris Fashion Week in 2021, walking the walk for Givenchy, and has fronted campaigns for Tiffany & Co.'s luxury eyewear and Givenchy Beauty.
"She's so beautiful and she's doing what she wanted to do," Cody told E! at FuelFest before upcoming stops in Las Vegas and Scottsdale, Ariz. "She's just crushing it. We're super proud of her and Paul would be so proud of her, too."
Keep reading to see Paul and Meadow Walker's forever-bond in photos: