Lionel Richie Says Fatherhood ‘Turned Me Into My Parents’

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In a candid new interview with People, music icon Lionel Richie admits that his kids “turned me into my parents.”

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Richie is dad to reality TV star Nicole Richie, 40, his musician son Miles, 27, and model daughter Sofia, 23.

“I don’t know why I’m so shocked with what my kids are doing. I scared my folks to death!” Richie told the publication.

“Nicole was actually a godsend. She was a little girl who needed a shot,” he says of his daughter, whom he adopted at age 9 with his first wife Brenda Harvey prior to their divorce in 1993. “She was used to people coming and going. She looked at me and I’d say, ‘I’m not going anywhere.’”

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Lionel says Nicole helped ground him.

“Brenda and I went through a very interesting time,” says Richie, who has long shut down rumors that Nicole is actually his biological daughter. In regards to Harvey, “We didn’t agree on a lot of things, but we did agree on [Nicole].”

Richie said to Nicole in a 2020 HuffPost interview: “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,” Richie said to Nicole. “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?”

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Richie first saw Nicole playing the tambourine on stage at a Prince concert.

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“The discovery was not the show for Prince,” Richie told HuffPost. “The discovery was: there’s a 2-year-old on stage with Prince playing a tambourine.”

Richie met Nicole backstage after the concert and that’s when he realized he was acquainted with her biological parents, musician Peter Escovedo and assistant Karen Moss. He and Brenda adopted Nicole after learning her parents were experiencing financial hardship.

Nicole is now a married mother of two children. She is the wife of rocker Joel Madden, and they share daughter Harlow, 14, and son Sparrow, 12.

“I’ll say something and she goes, ‘Dad, we don’t use those kind of words around the kids.’ And I go, ‘Excuse me?’” Lionel said to People about Nicole’s parenting style. “She turned into a fantastic young lady.”

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