Nicole Richie Dishes on ‘Careful’ Daughter, ‘Wild’ Son

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Nicole Richie for Ocean Drive
Nicole Richie for Ocean Drive

Has former wild child Nicole Richie passed on that trait to her children? According to the fashionista, she lucked out with her eldest, lookalike daughter Harlow, 4, but 2-year-old Sparrow is definitely giving her a taste of her own medicine. While "careful" Harlow "doesn't make a move without fully thinking about what the consequences would be," her son "has my personality," Richie says in the March issue of Ocean Drive. "He's just wild." But the former reality star — who next appears in NBC's "Fashion Star," which premieres March 13 — says she is buckled in and ready for the ride little Sparrow takes her and husband Joel Madden on. In his short time on this earth, the little boy has already "had broken fingers, we've been to the hospital," she says. "You cannot take your eye off of him for a second. He is just a full, free spirit."

Much like their children, Richie, 30, says she and her rocker hubby are "complete polar opposites." When they first got together in 2006, the former reality star had just been arrested for her second DUI, for which she famously spent 82 minutes in jail. And with the heavily-tattooed Madden by her side, the two almost seemed like double trouble. But looks can be deceiving, says Richie. "He's very family-oriented. He grew up with four brothers and sisters. When we met, I was definitely going through a difficult time with my family, and having him have such a strong foundation really opened the doors and brought both of our families together."

Before Richie met Madden, she had made a name for herself as Paris Hilton's troublemaker best friend, thanks to three seasons of their show, "The Simple Life." But she insists that person — who drunkenly threw bleach on a pool table when she thought someone at the bar stole her purse in Season 1 — is a thing of the past. "I don't know anybody who can look back at who they were at 20 and say, 'I'm the exact same person,'" says Richie, who is gearing up to launch a home furnishings and flatware line. "It's all about evolving and growing. Who we are in our 30s is obviously very different than who we are in our 20s." She also says that persona was exaggerated for the cameras — and it's something she would never agree to do now in her life. "We were just being ourselves—and playing it up for the cameras, obviously—but the show was very safe for me to do, in the sense that cameras were never in my home. They were never shooting my family. It was more about stepping into other people's realities, as opposed to the cameras coming into our realities."

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