Lionel Richie's 3 Kids: Everything to Know
He's once, twice, three times a father! Music legend Lionel Richie is crazy about his three kids — Nicole Richie, Miles Brockman Richie and Sofia Richie.
Lionel learned a lot about parenting from his own dad, Lionel Richie Sr., and went through "a massive depression" when he died in 1990. "My dad was my hero," he told ITV in 2018. However, he credits his kids for helping him get through the difficult time. "Miles came along and Nicole was already there, and I realized I had a group of people that were kind of looking up to me to be the head of the house."
While Lionel is known for being a free spirit, he admits that he can be "a tough dad." Still, he knows it's important to maintain a balance. "You have to approach it with a tad bit of humor," he told PEOPLE in 2019. "With my kids, I know their job is to completely scare me to death. And they're doing a great job, by the way … my job is to embarrass them as much as I could, as long as I'm here."
The "Hello" singer also has no interest in advising his kids on their personal lives — "You can't step in there. It just doesn't work," he says — but he's happy to give them advice about their careers in the spotlight. "I told [Sofia], 'I wish you lots of failure, young,' " he told PEOPLE in 2020. "We're in a business where it's how you recover, and 'yes, yes, yes' does not feel terrible, so you have to get smacked in the face."
Here's everything to know about Lionel Richie's three kids.
Nicole Richie, 41
Lionel became a father for the first time when he and his ex-wife Brenda Harvey took in daughter Nicole Richie (née Escovedo), who was born on Sep. 21, 1981, as a toddler. Her parents were friends of Lionel's who could not support Nicole financially, and Lionel and Harvey adopted her when she was 9 years old.
"Nicole was actually a godsend," he told PEOPLE in February 2022. "She was a little girl who needed a shot. She was used to people coming and going. She looked at me and I'd say, 'I'm not going anywhere.' "
Lionel famously wrote his 1986 hit "Ballerina Girl" about his oldest child. "I'm never gonna break your heart/Never will we drift apart/'Cause all I wanna do/Is share my whole life with you," he sings lovingly.
In 2003, Nicole landed a spot on The Simple Life alongside Paris Hilton, thrusting her into the pop culture spotlight. However, during the series's five season run, she found herself in a slew of controversies, including arrests and car accidents, and also struggled with addiction.
"I literally didn't care about anything," Nicole told Vanity Fair in 2006. "I thought I was getting away with everything, when the reality was that I was arrested three times and had five car accidents. Two were totals." She also told the outlet that her parent's split over a decade earlier contributed to her wreckless teenage and early adult behavior, saying, "I liked the fact that my parents weren't speaking, because I could play them against each other. I was very free to come and go as I pleased. Everyone wanted to make me happy. Their way of making me happy was to say yes to everything I wanted, but I don't think a little girl should have that much freedom."
Eventually, Nicole turned to her parents for help with her addiction. "I knew I could not go on television being as wasted as I was. I went to my parents and said, 'It's time for me to get help,' " she told Vanity Fair. The reality star then enrolled in a drug-treatment program and told the outlet at the time that she had been clean since.
Two years later, Lionel opened up about parenting Nicole during that time, saying, "Forget about surviving 40 years in the music business. Just surviving 27 years of Nicole Richie has been a struggle-and-a-half, I want to tell you. I stand here as a survivor, I want you to know, for all the parents out there."
Following her Simple Life days, Nicole has had a string of professional successes: She made the New York Times Best Sellers list with her semi-autobiographical novel The Truth About Diamonds, modeled in some of the world's top fashion magazines, launched a successful apparel line called House of Harlow, and established a philanthropic organization called The Richie Madden Children's Foundation to help disadvantaged young moms and their kids.
Nicole began dating Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden in 2006. They welcomed their daughter, Harlow Madden, in January 2008 and their son, Sparrow Madden, in September 2009, before marrying in 2010.
When Harlow was born, Lionel said he was "extremely proud" that his daughter turned him into a grandpa — or G-Pa, as he prefers to be called. "I went to Nicole and said, 'Grandpa,' how does that sound? Does that fit me?' " he told Extra in 2008. "She said, 'Dad, that sounds old.' So I kind of searched out … G-Pa sounds a lot better. That's my street name."
Miles Brockman Richie, 28
Lionel welcomed son Miles Brockman Richie with his second wife Diane Alexander on May 27, 1994. The pair divorced in 2003 when Miles was 9 years old and spent most of his time at Alexander's house. "I'm a mama's boy, I grew up with my mom," he told Entertainment Tonight Canada in 2018.
Because of that, his upbringing was a bit more private than his older sister's. "I've always been so shy," he revealed to Essence in 2020. However, he started to step more into the spotlight when he started modeling after dropping out of UCLA, where he studied accounting.
The Wilhelmina model made his runway debut at the Philipp Plein show during New York Fashion Week in 2018. "You have to push yourself. My dad and my mom keep pushing me forward every single day, and every day I'm determined to be better … I want people to like me for me, rather than like me for who my family is," he said.
In 2019, Miles allegedly made a bomb threat at an airport. "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, though they didn't identify Miles as the person involved.
According to TMZ, eyewitnesses claimed that he was frustrated when he couldn't get on a flight and he claimed he had a bomb with him. He later allegedly punched a security guard before being detained by police. Miles was given a caution and was reportedly released after accepting it. Under U.K. law, a caution is warning given out for minor crimes, not a criminal conviction.
Sofia Richie, 24
Sofia Richie, Lionel's youngest child, was born on Aug. 24, 1998, in Los Angeles.
She made her first red carpet appearance alongside her dad and sister at the 25th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in 2008, when she was just 10 years old. From then on, she was a fixture at many of her family's high-profile events, like one of Nicole's House of Harlow releases. She also attended the premiere of Justin Bieber's Never Say Never documentary at the Nokia Theater.
In 2018, Sofia told Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald's The Goss that she dabbled in music as a child. "My dad had me in singing lessons from a really young age and I've played piano with my dad growing up, so I have that part of me," she told the outlet. "[My dad] is a really respected soul singer and I feel like that is a lot of responsibility."
Therefore, she wanted to make a name for herself in modeling instead. "I can never get away from the fact that my dad is Lionel Richie," she said. "I think that's actually what drives me to work and do my own thing and want to make my own mark … Because I want to be seen as my own person — even though I have all these amazing people in my life that I love so much."
Sofia signed with a modeling agency at just 15 years old and has been featured in Elle, Italian Marie Claire, and as the face of Madonna's Material Girl fashion line. She's also tried her hand at designing her own clothes, teaming up with Frankies Bikinis, Miss-Guided and House of Harlow for guest lines.
And although she didn't follow her father into the music industry, she is always happy to get advice from her dad. "My dad's advice is to always have fun with everything I do," she told PEOPLE in 2016. "And when I get to give 1,000 percent and surrender to the moment."
As for her romantic life, the 24-year-old briefly dated Justin Bieber for a few months in 2016, and was in a relationship with Scott Disick from May 2017 to August 2020.
While she was with Disick, her father was vocal about his lukewarm feelings on the relationship — which touted a 15-year age difference. "She's 19," he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2018. "When you're 19 you know everything. Is it going to be for life? I don't know. But for right now it's just a phase and I'm going to stand real still in the corner, get me a good drink and not make too much noise."
Sofia is currently engaged to music executive Elliot Grainge, son of Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge. "Forever isn't long enough @elliot," announced Sofia alongside photos of the romantic moment in April 2022.
Lionel fully supports the relationship, too. "I love Elliot," he told Access Hollywood after the engagement news broke. "I've known him since he was 12 … It was one of those things where I don't have to go back and check out the kid. I know who it is."