Socialite, actress and television personality Nicole Richie is the adopted daughter of pop icon Lionel Richie. Born Nicole Camille Escovedo on September 21, 1981 in Berkeley, California, Nicole’s biological parents were Lionel Richie’s band mate Peter Michael Escovedo, and an unnamed backstage assistant.
Nicole was taken in by Lionel Richie at the age of three and officially became the daughter of Lionel and his wife Brenda Harvey-Richie at age nine. An interview with People magazine in 2003 had Nicole quoted to say “My parents were friends with Lionel. They trusted that they would be better able to provide for me.” Lionel Richie remarried following his divorce from Brenda; his second marriage produced Richie’s two younger siblings, Myles (born 1994) and Sofia (born 1998).
Nicole quickly became accustomed to her new lifestyle. In 1986, she attended kindergarten at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California where she met classmate and future best friend Paris Hilton. Nicole’s interests in school included figure skating and music. In her teen years she began dabbling with drugs and alcohol, mixed with hardcore partying which including attendance at nightclub events. Nicole graduated from Montclair Preparatory School in 2000 and furthered her education at the University of Arizona where she majored in Arts and Media. After two years of college she dropped out, deciding to pursue a career in music and television.
In 2003, Nicole and friend Paris Hilton starred in the reality series The Simple Life which made its debut on Fox to high ratings. The premiere episode drew 13 million viewers. After three seasons Fox decided to not renew The Simple Life, ending the show’s stint in 2005. The show was however picked up by cable network E! and finished its fourth and fifth seasons with the network. After a decline in ratings during the fifth season The Simple Life was cancelled in 2007.
Nicole had pursued a musical career in 2004 when she released the single “Dandelion”. A year before she was found guilty of substance abuse when police found heroin in her car. She was sentenced to probation and time in the Sierra Tucson rehab facility.
In 2005 Richie made her acting debut in the comedy-drama Kids in America and has guest starred on television series such as Eve and Six Feet Under. Richie went on to write a semi-autobiographical novel, The Truth About Diamonds released by Bharell Jackson Publishing in 2005.
In 2009 she founded the rock band Darling with model Josie Maran and socialite sisters Soleil and Sofia Alberti
In 2005 the media reported that Nicole and Paris had fallen out. The dispute affected the filming of the show The Simple Life where at one point the two friends did separate filming; reconciliation took place in October 2006.
Nicole has been romantically linked to Adam Goldstein (a.k.a. DJ AM) (2005 and 2006) and The Hills hunk Brody Jenner (2006). She is currently married to Joel Madden who she met in 2007. The couple has two children daughter Harlow Winter Kate Madden born in 2008, and born a year later son Sparrow James Midnight Madden.
Despite her battles with drugs and eating disorder which caused severe weight loss in 2006, Nicole has successfully stabilized her life and lives happily with husband and kids. She recently made news when reports involving a car accident with two paparrazis surfaced. It is said that the photographers have been harassing Nicole who has subsequently sought a restraining order to protect her privacy and safety.