Adopted at the age of three, Richie grew up in privileged L.A. society, where her playmates included hotel heiress Paris Hilton and reality TV star Khloe Kardashian. She paired up with Paris in the reality show “The Simple Life” for five seasons. After arrests and problems with drugs, Richie found herself in rehab. The former wild-child has now become a prominent businesswoman, wife to rocker Joel Madden and mother to two of his children.
Nicole Camille Escovedo was born in Berkeley, California on September 21, 1981. At the age of two, Nicole was a regular fixture backstage at Lionel Richie’s concerts as her biological mother was a backstage assistant for the singer. Her biological father is often sited as Peter Michael Escovedo, a member of Richie’s band and brother of pop percussionist Sheila E., but this has never been confirmed or denied.
Nicole was later to set the record straight when in 2005, in her CNN interview with Ryan Seacrest, she stated that her birth father was not a member of Lionel’s band, however, Peter Michael Escovdeo (brother of Sheila E) was a member of Lionel’s band.
Lionel Ritchie is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and former band member for the “Commodores” who has sold more than 100 million records. Lionel chose “King of Pop” Michael Jackson as Richie’s godfather.
Richie married college sweetheart Brenda Harvey in 1975.
At the age of 3, due to financial reasons, and with her real parents blessing, Richie and his then wife Brenda agree to let Nicole Escovedo move in with them and they raised her as if she were their very own. Six years later, the Richie’s legally adopt Nicole, formally changing her name to Nicole Richie. Nicole told “People Magazine in 2003 – “They trusted that they would be better able to provide for me”
It wasn’t long after the adoption that Lionel Ritchie’s affair with another woman was all over the tabloids. During Richie’s marriage to Brenda, Lionel began a relationship with Diane Alexander in 1986. In 1988, while separated, Brenda allegedly discovered Lionel and Alexander together in a Beverly Hills apartment. A confrontation transpired, and Brenda was then arrested for spousal abuse, trespassing and vandalism. They divorced in 1993, after 17 years of marriage.
Apparently, both parents felt guilty about their highly publicized divorce, and chose to indulge in Nicole’s every whim.
Nicole’s developmental years, were spent at the prestigious Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California, where she met Paris Hilton, heiress to the Hilton Hotel empire. She also pursued her passion for figure skating, studied guitar, cello, violin, and piano.
By the age of 14, Richie began partying hard and experimenting with drugs and alcohol. She graduated from Montclair Preparatory School in 2000, and then attended University of Arizona in Tucson, to study art and media, however, dropped out after two years and returned to Los Angeles.
In 2003, she was pulled over for a routine traffic stop, when police searched her Mercedes Benz and found heroin. Richie plead guilty to all charges and given probation and ordered to attend the Sierra Tucson drug rehabilitation center in Arizona.
Still 2003 and ten days after rehab, things were looking up for Richie. Her best friend Paris Hilton was signed on with her sister Nicki to do a reality television series. When Nicki bowed out of the project, it created an opening for Ritchie.
Both girls made their television debut as the stars of an unscripted reality show “The Simple Life” that focused on the misadventures of the two pampered beauties. Some viewers found the show condescending and even mean spirited, especially to the real-life “simple folk”. On reviewer in particular blasted the show for being nothing more than the callow arrogance of two spoiled rich brats. Though it didn’t matter what she thought, it was a ratings hit with Fox and girls were signed on again for a second season.
Richie, joined rock band “Darling” in 2004 and then went on to make her acting debut as a cheerleader in the movie “Kids in America” in 2005. She also penned her semi autobiographical novel, “The truth about Diamonds”.
From friends to frenemies, it happens oh-so often in Hollywood and real life. They grew up together as celebrity kids, but the “simple life” turned out to be the end of their friendship. It’s a classic case of the “Powerful Heiress” (Hilton) now befriends the “Underdog” (Richie) essentially to make herself feel more superior. However in this case, when Ritchie was no longer the “underdog” and was taking all the attention away from the “Powerful Heiress”, Hilton couldn’t handle it and moved on.
According to Hilton, the two had the infamous falling out in 2005, after Richie arranged a viewing of Paris’ sex tape “One Night in Paris” at a party.
After the well publicized falling out between the two lifelong friends, Hilton lobbies to replace Richie on the show with gal pal Kimberly Stewart. Regardless Fox studios announced that both girls would return for the forth season of the show, but then, just a few weeks later, they pulled out of the show completely. The show then shopped around amongst other networks to find a replacement with cables E! Entertainment snapping it up. Part of the draw card for the audience was, how would the former friends interact with one another when the show resumes, well the fourth season actually had both girls filmed separately.
Richie with her new look and much slimmer figure becomes engaged to 32 year old boyfriend DJ Adam Goldstein. She sports a diamond and pink sapphire ring, and the couple moves to Hollywood Hills together. After a 10 month engagement, it was all over and they split in December 2005.
She continues to have an on again, off again relationship with Goldstein throughout 2006. It was during one of these down times, she begins dating childhood friend Brody Jenner, step brother to the Kardashian girls. However, by fall, they amicably decide that what they have is more friendship than romance.
After many months of media speculation that Richies dramatic weight loss was the result of a eating disorder, Richie sets the record straight on the Tara Banks Show, with claims she is not anorexic nor bulimic, she is working with a nutritionist and therapist to overcome what she called a stress-related illness.
After two years of feuding they reconciled to film the fifth season of “The Simple Life”, the chemistry between the girls was very fractured and they haven’t been as tight since then. Some say Hilton’s own flagging popularity required a much needed boost and with Richies high profile, Hilton was drawn to her like a blow fly to a piece of dead meat.
2006 and Richie has a run in for the second time with the police. After receiving 911 calls that a black Mercedes SUV was driving in the wrong direction on the Hwy, they intercepted her and she was arrested for DUI traffic offences. When passing sentence the judge took into consideration her contract to appear in a fifth season of “The Simple Life” posting a $15,000 bail so she could do the filming. In February, Richie pleads not guilty to a misdemeanor for DUI. She was looking down the barrel of a 90 day to one year jail term if she was convicted, as this was her second arrest.
2007 and Richie rings in the new year with a new beau Joel maddenwho recently splits with his then girlfriend of two years Hilary Duff. By July, with Madden by her side, Richie is sentenced to four days jail time and three years probation at her DUI hearing. On a few days later, Madden announces that Richie is four months pregnant with their first child.
In January 2008, Madden and Richie, welcome their first child, a daughter into the world, “Harlow Winter Kate Madden”.
2008, and Richie launches her own jewelry line called “House of Harlow”. Her pieces have been well received by many including the likes of Madonna and Ashlee Simpson.
Former ex fiancé Goldstein was found dead in his New York City apartment on August 28, 2009 from an apparent drug overdose. Whether it was accidental or intentional remains a starting point of intense speculation. Richie attends the funeral at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles, alongside musicians Travis Barker, Joel and Benji Madden.
And then there was four. September 2009, and a second child, a little boy makes his appearance again on the cover of “People Magazine”. Madden also tweeted that Madden and Richie were engaged, but unbeknown to many, they had been for some time before the announcement.
December 2010, and after 4 years and two children together, Madden finally makes an honest woman out of Richie by tying the know in front of 130 close friends and family at her fathers Los Angeles estate.
2012 / 2013, Richie returns to television as a mentor for NBC’s “Fashion Star” a reality competition show for aspiring designers. Whilst Richie is concentrating on being a new wife, motherhood and her various projects in America, Madden was boosting his own popularity back in Australia on “The Voice” Australia, mentoring up and coming singers and musicians.
Though at times being on different continents can put a strain on their marriage, somehow their love for each other, conquers all life’s unwelcome hurdles.