Lionel Richie Unofficially Adopted His Oldest Daughter, Nicole, When She Was Just 3 Years Old

Heather Finn

From Good Housekeeping

  • Iconic singer and American Idol judge Lionel Richie has three children, who also have high-profile careers.
  • Lionel unofficially adopted his oldest daughter, Nicole Richie, when she was just 3.
  • He later welcomed son Miles and younger daughter, Sofia, both models.

Singer and American Idol judge Lionel Richie has long been a music industry icon, building himself a career filled with chart-topping hits and multiple Grammy awards. But he's also a father to two daughters and one son — all of whom are famous in their own rights.

The Oldest: Nicole Richie

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.'"

Photo credit: Ron Galella - Getty Images

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.

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 now appearing as a judge on the Amazon Prime reality show Making the Cut.

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, and son, Sparrow, with her husband, Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden.

The Middle Child: Miles Richie

Lionel's second child and only son, Miles, was born on May 27, 1994, to the singer and his second wife, Diane Alexander.

Photo credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. - Getty Images

Miles is a fashion model signed with the prestigious agency Wilhelmina. He's also the least well-known of Lionel's three children. But as it turns out, that might be intentional on Miles's part: "I'd like to be known as a model or an actor, not just the 'son of,' or the 'brother of,'" he told Garage in November 2018. "I'd like to develop my own identity in those scenarios."

Miles's name did shoot into the spotlight in early 2019, however, when the young model was allegedly detained by authorities at London's Heathrow Airport for both claiming he had an explosive device and punching a security guard, according to a TMZ report.

The Youngest: 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, 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 (think: Tommy Hilfiger and Adidas), and along the way, has amassed a seriously impressive social media following.

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