Long before Lionel Richie said “Hello” to his adoring fans, the Grammy-winner earned the role of a lifetime: Adoptive father. The Commodores singer has two biological children with his second wife. He also has an adopted child that came into his life during his first marriage. Richie has opened up about his relationship with his adopted daughter, fashion star and television personality, Nichole Richie. In an interview with People magazine about the Nicole Richie adoption, he said “she was a Godsend.”
Not an “Easy” Start
The Lionel Richie adoption story has long been rumored to be false, with some speculating that Nicole is Lionel’s biological daughter. The Rock ‘n Roll legend has repeatedly shut down those rumors, however, explaining that Nicole Camille Escovedo first came into his life at a Prince concert in 1983. The two-year-old girl was playing the tambourine on stage with the “Purple Rain” singer. Lionel met and briefly played with Nicole because he knew her birth parents.
Soon after their meeting, Richie and his then-wife, Brenda Harvey, decided to help because Nicole’s birth parents were struggling financially. They began as legal guardians. As Richie told HuffPost, “It was actually getting worse. The family situation was falling apart.”
“Stuck on You”
Lionel Richie was at the height of his career when Nicole came into his life. While he had fame and fortune, his role as a father became more important.
“So 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,” he told Piers Morgan in a 2015 interview. “So I said, ‘Okay, here is what we are going to do: You’re going to make everyone wish that they had adopted you. You are going to make everyone in your family wish they actually had a chance to get you back,’ and that’s when I said, ‘Let’s adopt her.’”
Nicole was 9 years old when the adoption was complete.
“I can remember to this day, that little head, sitting up in the little judge’s chamber,” Lionel remembered about the day in court to make the adoption official.
While Nicole had abandonment issues due to her past, Lionel worked to gain her trust. While he was often traveling on the road and performing “All Night Long,” he devoted himself to his little girl. He recalls assuring Nicole: “’I’m never going to leave you.’”
To this day, Lionel Richie has proven himself to be a devoted father to Nicole. When Nicole struggled with drug addiction in 2003, Lionel dropped everything to be there for his daughter.
“I said, ‘I am with you,’ and I canceled [my] tour,” Lionel told Morgan. “I said, ‘Me and your mother’—who didn’t get along that well— ‘Me and your mother are checking into rehab with you.’”
In turn, Nicole has made an enormous impact on Lionel Richie’s life, as well.
“I think you…changed my life a great deal in terms of softening my heart, because everything up to that point was about songwriting and the business and touring,” he said to Nicole in the HuffPost interview. “All of a sudden I found something that I could actually fall in love with that was never going to leave me. How about that?”
Nicole and Lionel have continued to maintain a strong bond over the years. He has enjoyed watching her grow into the role of a parent herself. She shares two children with Musician Joel Madden, Harlow and Sparrow.
Now that she’s a mom, it’s all come full circle. “I’ll say something and she goes, ‘Dad, we don’t use those kind of words around the kids.’ And I go, ‘Excuse me?'” he says with a laugh. “She turned into a fantastic young lady.”
Learn More About Adoption
Adoption impacts people of all walks of life, including celebrities. If you would like to learn more about adoption – whether you are pregnant and considering making an adoption plan or looking to adopt – contact Adoptions With Love today. Call 800-722-7731, text 617-777-0072, or contact us online. We can help you with your adoption every step of the way.