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 youtube.com/Strombo / Getty Images
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Lionel Richie Adopted Little Girl from Poor Family & Helped Her Become a 'Different Person' after Addiction

Gaone Pule
Jun 26, 2022
08:20 A.M.
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Lionel Richie is a father of three children, one of whom is adopted and named Nicole. Lionel adopted her when she was little, stepping in to help her parents when they struggled. Nicole had trust issues, but what her adoptive dad told her made all the difference, and he stuck by his word.

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Singer-songwriter Lionel Richie is one of two siblings and has a sister named Deborah Richie. They were born to Alberta and Lionel Sr. Richie. Sadly, the family patriarch passed away in 1990 at 75.

The musician was extremely close to his father and revealed in an interview with ABC in June 1996 that he knew him well enough. Senior was a strict retired military dad.

Lionel Richie attending the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song concert at DAR Constitution Hall on March 09, 2022 in Washington, DC. / Source: Getty Images

Lionel Richie attending the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song concert at DAR Constitution Hall on March 09, 2022 in Washington, DC. / Source: Getty Images

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He wanted his son to take care of him during the last years of his life. Junior said it was fortunate that his father did not die instantly. In an interview with ITV in 2018, the "American Idol" judge candidly spoke about how devastating it was to lose his dad:

"My father was ill, and I went through a very, I won't say a depression, a massive depression because, you know, my dad was my hero. I went through that whole period of my life."

Lionel said his father was his hero because he shielded him from knowing about what black men and women in America were going through during a time of oppression. For that reason, he was his parental inspiration.

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LIONEL WAS MARRIED TO HIS COLLEGE SWEETHEART

Musician Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey during the 58th Annual Academy Awards on March 24, 1986 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

Musician Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey during the 58th Annual Academy Awards on March 24, 1986 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

Apart from struggling to deal with the loss of his father, Lionel was a married man during that time. He was married to his first wife, Brenda Harvey.

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The couple dated in college and wed on October 18, 1975, but did not have kids together. Lionel and Harvey decided to adopt a young girl named Nicole, whom they started caring for when she was only three years old. They officially adopted her when she was nine.

Nicole's birth parents were friends of Lionel and could not raise her because of financial struggles. The music legend and Harvey took the plunge and stepped in to help bring her up. However, the pair divorced in 1993 after Harvey caught him cheating on her with dancer Diane Alexander.

Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey during the 11th Annual American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on January 16, 1984 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey during the 11th Annual American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on January 16, 1984 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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When talking about his adoptive child, the father of three said she was a blessing and only needed people who could properly care for her:

"Nicole was actually a godsend. She was a little girl who needed a shot. She was used to people coming and going. She looked at me, and I'd say, ‘I'm not going anywhere.’"

The Alabama native first met Nicole at fellow singer-songwriter Prince's concert. Lionel revealed in an episode of HuffPost's series, "Talk To Me," that being at the event led him to a significant "discovery."

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"The discovery was not the show for Prince. The discovery was: there's a 2-year-old on stage with Prince playing the tambourine," he explained. The instrument player was young Nicole, whom he met backstage after the show.

Lionel realized that she was the daughter of people he knew. Nicole's biological father, Peter Escovedo, played in his band as a drummer; her mother, Karen Moss, was a backstage assistant.

When the "Stuck On You" singer noticed that the family was having financial issues, he and Harvey decided to provide Nicole with some stability by inviting her to live with them and for them to be her legal guardians.

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Nicole Richie with her parents Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey Richie at The OmegaItzhak Pearlman Award Ceremonies Dinner. / Source: Getty Images

Nicole Richie with her parents Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey Richie at The OmegaItzhak Pearlman Award Ceremonies Dinner. / Source: Getty Images

However, the situation at her birth parents' home only worsened after two years. That was when Lionel and Harvey began the adoption process. When speaking about their choice to make Nicole part of their family, he said it only took a year for him to decide:

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"It took about maybe a year for me to just fall in love and she was a little button, and of course by that time, I was Dad."

The proud father shared that his daughter had abandonment issues after being handed around to family members. Hence, he promised Nicole that he would never leave her.

Brenda Harvey, Lionel Richie, and Nicole Richie at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. / Source: Getty Images

Brenda Harvey, Lionel Richie, and Nicole Richie at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. / Source: Getty Images

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Lionel expressed that the now TV personality changed his life by softening his heart. He said before she came into their lives, all he ever did was put more focus on his career, touring nonstop but that all changed because of her:

"All of a sudden, I found something that I could actually fall in love with that was never going to leave me."

Meanwhile, the feeling is mutual with Nicole, who admitted that Lionel turned her life around for the better. She once said, "looking back, I think I had a wonderful childhood."

LIONEL & NICOLE LIVED TOGETHER AFTER THE DIVORCE

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TV Personality Nicole Richie and her father Lionel Richie attend Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 2, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. / Source: Getty Images

TV Personality Nicole Richie and her father Lionel Richie attend Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 2, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. / Source: Getty Images

When her adoptive parents went through a divorce, Nicole was the one who kept Lionel going while living together. The record producer said though he and Harvey disagreed on many things, they were on the same page when it involved Nicole.

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Lionel tied the knot for the second time to Alexander in 1996, three years after his divorce from Harvey. They later welcomed two children, a son named Miles and a daughter named Sofia, before splitting in 2004.

Lionel Richie, Myles Richie and Diane Alexander attending Ringling Brothers Circus Variety Club Children's Charity Benefit at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on July 25, 1996 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

Lionel Richie, Myles Richie and Diane Alexander attending Ringling Brothers Circus Variety Club Children's Charity Benefit at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on July 25, 1996 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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In addition, Nicole lived a glamorous life, especially when she was a teenager, leading to boredom and drug addiction. The "Candidly Nicole" star revealed to Diane Sawyer in August 2007 that she became exposed to so many things as a teenager that it no longer became exciting to explore new things:

"I took matters into my own hands and was creating drama in a very dangerous way. I think I was just bored, and I had seen everything."

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The California native had to undergo treatment more than once to turn her life around, and she conquered. Her father shared in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos in April 2012 how proud he was of her when she realized that was not the way to live.

Lionel said Nicole became a "different person" after she "survived" her self-destructive behavior. She recovered through her parents' support as they checked in with her.

LIONEL ON FATHERHOOD

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In April 2019, Lionel openly talked about his role as a father to adult children and admitted that he is strict. However, he tries to loosen up a bit sometimes:

"I'm a tough dad, but what I realize in life is that you have to approach it with a tad bit of humor."

The "I Call It Love" singer revealed that he told his eldest daughter Nicole that his job was to embarrass them as much as possible and for as long as he was still alive. Lionel stated that because they have attempted to do the same to him, it was fair for him to do it too.

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Today, Nicole is a mother of two children, Harlow and Sparrow, whom she shares with her husband, singer Joel Madden. The couple began dating in 2006 and had their first child in January 2008. Their son arrived in September 2009. Madden and Nicole wed in December 2010.

Nicole established a fashion career, is an actress, had stints in reality shows, and is most well-known for "The Simple Life," where she appeared alongside her friend and socialite, Paris Hilton.

All of Lionel's kids are stars in their own right. His one and only son, Miles, born in May 1994, is a fashion model signed with the reputable agency Wilhelmina. He made his runway debut in Philipp Plein's show at New York Fashion Week in 2018.

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Lionel and Alexander's youngest daughter Sofia who arrived in August 1998, is also a model like her brother and an influencer. She began modeling when she was only a teen and has featured in numerous campaigns for famous brands such as Adidas and Michael Kors.

In March 2019, doting dad Lionel told GQ that his kids are the most important in his life and that all three of them "defined him more than any hit record or award" he has ever received.

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The four-time Grammy Award winner admitted to Closer Weekly that family was his most significant achievement, saying everything else that follows is a bonus:

"There is a family of people who are going to be in that room with you on the last days of your life. If you made sure they're there for you and love you, that's a great achievement, and everything else is icing on the cake."

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The Oscar winner reflected on fatherhood in an interview with People in February 2022 and jokingly said that his brood "turned him into his parents." Lionel shared that his folks told him he would get his one day, but he did not understand that at the time.

However, when the time eventually came, it registered. The "All Night Long" singer recounted a day when Nicole came and asked why he thought she was lying to him. He said because it was the same lies he used to tell his parents.

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