Lionel Richie was at a Prince concert in Los Angeles in 1983 and couldn’t take his eyes off the stage. But it wasn’t the “Purple Rain” singer who tied him up – it was the 2-year-old girl who played the tambourine next to him.
Lionel was immediately attracted to her. He wondered who the child was. He soon realized that she was Nicole Camille Escovedo, daughter of musician Peter Escovedo and assistant Karen Moss who worked for Peter’s sister, singer Sheila Escovedo, better known as Sheila E.
“The nice thing about it is that I realized, ‘Oh my god, what a cute little button,'”
Little did he know at the time that she would soon be Nicole Richie and call him father.
Nicole’s birth parents had “difficulties with their relationship”
A few weeks later, Lionel saw Nicole again and learned about the challenges she was facing. “We [were] A little worried that the little kid won’t be able to go on tour because a 2 year old has to be stationary – they can’t stay on the street, ”said Lionel Huffington Post of Nicole’s parenting careers.
“I don’t know how we got into the conversation. ‘Well, why don’t you just keep the kid here?'”, He continued in the interview that Nicole conducted for the outlet’s “Talk to Me”. Series.
Apart from the logistics, the situation was not going very well. “They struggled with their relationship,” Lionel Piers Morgan said in a 2015 interview. At the time, it made sense since Lionel knew Sheila and the family.
Before they knew it, about two years had passed. “The situation with you didn’t get any better,” Lionel told Nicole for Huffington Postand stated that he and his then-wife Brenda Harvey started out as guardians. “It actually got worse, the family situation collapsed.”
Lionel and Brenda officially adopted Nicole when she was 9 years old
When Lionel’s career skyrocketed during that time with songs like “All Night Long (All Night)”, “Hello” and “Say You, Say Me” the Grammy-winning album Can’t slow down and the charity hit “We Are the World” he also began to revere his role as a father.
“So it took me about a year to just fall in love and she was a little button and of course I was dad at that point,” he said to Morgan. “So I said, ‘Okay, here’s what we’re going to do: they’re going to make everyone wish they had adopted you. You will make everyone in your family wish they actually had a chance to get you back. “And then I said,” Let’s adopt her. “
Nicole was 9 years old when adoption came through. “I can still remember this little head that sat in the little judge’s chamber,” Lionel said to Nicole on “Talk to Me” and found that the young girl did not quite understand what was happening.
It took time for Lionel to gain Nicole’s trust
Building trust in Nicole was a challenge, especially because she didn’t have much stability in her young life. “I remember you had problems with the assignment for obvious reasons,” he continued. “They were passed on to every relative in the family. And remember what I told you I said, ‘I will never leave you.’ “
But she doubted his words when Lionel remembered “that look” on her face. But he insisted. “I said, ‘No, no, listen, I’ll never leave you.'”
Nicole also remembers the conversation well and how insistent it was that she understood what he was saying, especially since he had often gone to work for weeks or months.
“And as soon as you notice – I think over time – ‘Okay, he’s not leaving me. He just goes to work. “I think you felt safer,” he said to her.
On the other hand, Sheila E. said in her 2014 book The book of my own drum“As a single working mother, Karen was extremely grateful, but very torn … If Nikki stayed where she lived rent free, Karen could earn enough for her future without disrupting her child’s life.”
But she adds that adoption wasn’t that easy: “The heartbreaking part is that when Nicole Escovedo legally became Nicole Richie, it felt like we’d lost her. We lost them all. ”
Lionel Says Nicole “Softened” His Heart
For a successful musician, Lionel had focused on his career. “Up until that point it was all about business songwriting and touring,” he told her on the Huffington Post Interview. “All of a sudden I found something that I could actually fall in love with and that would never leave me.”
“And so I think you have changed my life a lot to soften my heart,” he admitted.
Nicole summed up her father’s personality Live with Kelly and Ryan March 2020: “Here’s the thing about my dad: He’s the same person he has in front of the camera as he is outside of the camera.”
She added that whenever they talk on the phone, he is always filled with the same enthusiasm. “He’s got the zingers and the one-liners and the zoom zoom zoom. I ask myself, ‘Did you wait for me to call? Did you write down a list? How can you make so many jokes all day? ‘”
Lionel stood by Nicole in difficult times
While life has tossed Nicole up and down, her father was always there to support her. When she went into rehab in 2003 for drug use, he dropped everything to be by her side. “I said ‘I’m with you’ and canceled [my] Tour, ”Lionel said to Morgan. “I said, ‘Me and your mother’ – who didn’t get along so well – ‘Me and your mother are checking into rehab with you.'”
When Nicole got attention for her emaciated appearance, he entered. “I called her to the house and said, ‘What’s going on here? ‘”, He said The New York TimesLater learning about weight loss came from the stress of being in the spotlight. “Some people take fame and pressure and get fat, some get thin, some get addicted, but she’s been through this so she doesn’t go back there … She just has to find her rhythm and she’ll be fine, but me Always tell her, ‘Get used to it boy because it won’t get better. ‘“
He also learned to take a back seat when Nicole’s career dominated his legendary one. “Young people come up to me all the time and say, ‘Oh my god, you’re Nicole Richie’s father – I just saw you The simple life“, He continued The New York Times. “You have no idea who I am or what I’ve done.”
After all, he knows that’s part of being an honest parent. “With my kids, I know that it’s their job to scare the hell out of me – and they do a great job, by the way,” he said People 2019. “I told Nicole that the other day. My job is to embarrass them as much as possible while I’m here. They’re trying to do the same to me so I think it’s an equivalent trade right now. “
Lionel thinks it’s “ironic” that Nicole married a musician
After growing up in a household with a constantly traveling musician, Lionel finds it ironic that Nicole married Good Charlotte and Madden Brothers singer Joel Madden in 2010, with whom she shares two children, Harlow (b. 2008) and Sparrow (b . 2008) in 2009).
“How ironic … you married another musician who was out and about,” Lionel said to Nicole. “I’m like, ‘Are you, are you a masochist?’ … But I understand, because you can identify yourself so well. ” And Nicole agrees, “It’s what I’m used to … it almost feels safe to me.”
And the two share such an open relationship that Nicole can even keep Lionel’s love life in check, despite the fact that he and her mother divorced in 1993. “Women weren’t really your forte,” Nicole said to Lionel in the Huffington Post Interview. “But you are very gentle with me and and I feel like you and I have a really good, strong relationship.”