Richie has long been a music industry icon, building himself a career filled with chart-topping hits and multiple Grammy awards as a member of the Commodores. But he’s also a father to two daughters and one son.
Richie has been married twice: to Brenda Harvey-Richie (1975-1993) and Diane Alexander (1995-2003). Richie and Brenda Harvey officially adopted daughter Nicole when she was 9, and she became known as Nicole Richie. Richie’s second child and only son, Miles, was born on May 27, 1994, to the singer and his second wife, Diane Alexander. Lionel’s youngest child — and second with Diane, before their divorce — Sofia Richie, was born on August 24, 1998.
Here’s everything you need to know about Lionel Richie’s family:
1. Brenda Harvey-Richie Was Lionel Richie’s First Wife
The singer and his college sweetheart, 66, tied the knot in 1975. Nearly 10 years later, 3-year-old Nicole moved in with the couple after her biological parents, Peter Michael Escovedo and Karen Moss, agreed. She was legally adopted by Harvey and Richie at age 9. The pair divorced in 1993 after the Grammy winner started dating Diane Alexander, and he went on to welcome son Miles, 24, and daughter Sofia, 20, with the actress before they split in 2003, reported Us Weekly.
In June 1988, Richie’s wife Harvey-Richie was arrested on that month for allegedly hitting Richie and his mistress, who then was a young woman aged 22 while Harvey-Richie was 35. She found them together in the woman’s apartment in Beverly Hills, according to the police. Harvey-Richie ended up being booked on suspicion of causing corporal injury to her spouse, trespassing, resisting arrest, vandalism, battery, and disturbing the peace in the neighbourhood after she attacked her former husband in the morning causing a scuffle. Harvey was released on a $5,000 bail.
Before he even became a solo singer, he had met and married Brenda Harvey-Richie. They got married in 1975 and in the early ’90s, Brenda Harvey-Richie and her then-husband, Lionel Richie began going through some domestic issues. There was a time Harvey-Richie beat Lionel Richie for cheating on her with a mistress. The mistress in question was Diane Alexander. Richie divorced his wife Harvey-Richie in 1993 and married his mistress Diane two years later only to divorce her in 2004, reported Panda Gossips.
2. He Adopted Nicole Richie When She Was 9 Years Old
On September 21, 1981, Nicole was born to her biological parents, Peter Escovedo (a drummer who toured with Lionel for a brief period of time) and Karen Moss. By the time she was 3, however, Peter and Karen were reportedly having issues with both their relationship and their finances — and knowing they couldn’t properly care for Nicole, they agreed to let her move in with Lionel.
The rest was history for the singer and his first child: “It took about maybe a year for me to just fall in love [with Nicole],” Lionel told Piers Morgan during a 2015 interview. “Of course, by that time, I was ‘Dad’…that’s when I said, ‘Let’s adopt her.'” And so Lionel and his wife at the time, Brenda Harvey, officially adopted Nicole when she was 9, and she became known as Nicole Richie, reported Good Housekeeping.
Today, of course, Lionel’s oldest daughter is a full-blown star in her own right: Since starring in the early-aughts reality show The Simple Life with her then-bestie Paris Hilton, she has worked as a television personality, actress, author, and fashion designer. She’s also set to appear as a judge on Amazon Prime reality show Making the Cut this spring.
Nicole publicly struggled with drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and eating disorders in the past, but today, she’s reportedly happy, healthy, and focused on her own children: her daughter Harlow, 12, and son Sparrow, 10, with her husband of more than nine years, Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden, reported Good Housekeeping.
3. Lionel Richie Married Diane Alexander In 1995
Diane Alexander, 51, who was featured in Lionel’s music video for his 1986 hit “Dancing on the Ceiling and later would become his second wife. At the time, Lionel was rumored to have begun a relationship with Alexander prior to divorcing his first wife and college sweetheart, Brenda Harvey, reported People.
Lionel and Harvey divorced in 1993, and he married Alexander in 1995. Lionel and Alexander’s marriage ended in 2003, after they had Miles and Sofia. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight from the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Miles described himself as a “mama’s boy.”
4. Miles Richie Punched A Guard At Heathrow Airport
Miles Richie made headlines recently when he was detained by police at Heathrow Airport in London on Saturday after allegedly threatening to detonate a bomb and punching an airport security guard.
According to TMZ, eyewitnesses alleged Miles, 24, was angry after not being allowed on a flight and claimed that he had a bomb in his bag that he would detonate if he was not allowed to board. After security showed up, he allegedly got into an altercation, punching one of the guards before police arrived and detained him, reported People.
“On Saturday, 19 January, a 24-year-old man accepted a caution for communicating false information causing a bomb hoax and battery following an incident at Heathrow Terminal 5 earlier that morning,” the Metropolitan Police told PEOPLE in a statement, declining to identify Richie as the person involved in the incident.
People reported that Miles’ association with Kylie Jenner is probably best known by their infamous tattoo controversy which occurred in May 2014. In a video obtained by TMZ at the time, Jenner is seen tattooing her initials on Miles’ hand — which was illegal given that she was unlicensed and only 16 years old at the time. The L.A. County Dept. of Public Health states that only people who are licensed and over the age of 18 can give tattoos.
5. Lionel Richie’s Youngest Daughter Is Sofia Richie
Lionel’s youngest child, and second with Diane before their divorce, Sofia Richie, was born on August 24, 1998. Like her older brother, 21-year-old Sofia is also a model and has been working in the industry since she was just a teenager. She’s been featured in campaigns for all sorts of major brands and has amassed a seriously impressive social media following (6.3 million followers on Instagram).
Sofia has also made recent headlines for her relationship with Kourtney Kardashian’s ex, Scott Disick. Lionel infamously referred to his daughter’s involvement with Scott as “just a phase” early on in their relationship, but the couple has been together for more than two years, reported Good Housekeeping.
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