Nicole Camille Richie (born
September 21, 1981) is an American actress, author, socialite,
celebutante, singer, and television personality. The adopted daughter of
soul singer Lionel Richie, she is perhaps best known for her role in the
Fox reality television series The Simple Life, alongside fellow socialite
and childhood best friend Paris Hilton.
Nicole Richie was born Nicole Camille Escovedo in Berkeley, California.
Richie's birth father is Peter Michael Escovedo, who was Lionel Richie's
former percussionist and also percussionist Sheila E.'s brother.
At first, Lionel became her guardian. Then at age 2, Nicole went to live
with Richie and his wife, Brenda Harvey, who began to raise her as their
daughter. When she was three years old, Nicole began attending weekly
sessions with a psychotherapist and remained in therapy throughout her
childhood. She was legally adopted by the Richies when she was nine.
Shortly after the adoption was formalized, Lionel's affair with another
woman became public knowledge. The Richies went through a bitter and
highly-publicized split, and as a result, indulged Nicole's every whim.
"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," said Richie in
an interview with Vanity Fair magazine. Lionel Richie remarried following
the divorce, and through him, Nicole has two younger half siblings, Myles
(born 1994) and Sofia (born 1998).
Richie has one godmother, Nancy Davis, daughter of Marvin Davis and mother
of Brandon Davis. Richie's godfathers are Michael Jackson and Quincy
Jones. Jones said in a People magazine interview that he has "known Nicole
Richie since she was a baby. She's a very smart girl".
In 1986, she started kindergarten at The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks,
California where she met Paris Hilton. Richie graduated from Montclair
College Preparatory School in 1999. She also studied Arts and Media for
two years at the University of Arizona.
In 2003, Richie and best friend Paris Hilton starred in Season 1 of the
reality series The Simple Life, in which they lived for a month with a
family in the rural community of Altus, Arkansas. The series debuted on
Fox on December 2, 2003, to high ratings. The premiere episode drew 13
million viewers, increasing Fox's Adults 18-49 rating to 79%.
In Season 2, The Simple Life 2: Road Trip, the girls traveled the South
driving a pink pick-up and living in a trailer. They had no money, credit
cards or cell phones and were required to work various jobs during their
trip to earn money. Their jobs included farm workers, mermaids in an
underwater show, hotel maids, sausage makers, crawfishers, working for a
baseball team, working in a beauty salon, Deputy Sheriffs, and working on
a cattle ranch. They stayed with different families or in trailer parks
and on one occasion, in a nudist resort.
In Season 3, The Simple Life 3: Interns, the girls traveled the East
Coast, staying in the homes of 15 different families. Unlike Season 2,
they did not have a swanky private home on wheels, instead traveling on a
regularly scheduled Greyhound bus with the common folk.
In late 2005, Fox chose not to renew The Simple Life, explaining that they
didn't see a place for it in their schedule. A month later, cable network
E! picked up the series for its fourth season. The Simple Life 4: 'Til
Death Do Us Part, followed the girls as they traveled around California,
acting as wife and mother to various families, though both would do tasks
separately and not be seen together on screen.
The Simple Life 5: The Simple Life Goes To Camp, debuted on E! on May 28,
2007, with Hilton and Richie reconciling on Richie's birthday in the
season opener. For Season 5, Hilton and Richie worked as counselors at
Camp Shawnee. The camp was host to five different specialty groups:
Wellness Camp, Pageant Camp, Couples Camp, Survival Camp and Drama Camp,
with two episodes focused on each specialty group.
Although Season 4 was a hit for E!, drawing nearly one million viewers per
episode, Season 5 saw a sharp decline in ratings. While the premiere
episode and ones that followed during this season drew about the same
viewership, by the 7th episode the ratings had declined to around 700,000
viewers. It was announced on July 30, 2007 that the show would not be
renewed for a sixth season.
In 2005, Richie made her acting debut in the comedic drama Kids in
America. Richie has guest starred in television series including Eve, Six
Feet Under and American Dreams, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage
Daughter, and Chuck.
In July 2008, plans were announced to turn Richie's 2005 novel, The Truth
About Diamonds, into a television series.
On January 1, 2010, it was announced that Richie would guest judge on
In 2005, Richie wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, The Truth About
Diamonds, which was released by Bharell Jackson Publishing. The novel is
loosely based on her life, but is mostly fictional. It chronicles the life
of Chloe Parker, the adopted daughter of a singer who makes her way
through all of the hottest nightclubs and parties in Hollywood and battles
a drug addiction. In early January 2006, The Truth About Diamonds peaked
at number #32 in Hardcover Fiction on The New York Times Best-Seller List.
In April 2007, Richie announced plans to start a jewelry, accessories, and
sunglasses line along with a perfume and style book. In October 2008, she
debuted a jewelry line, House of Harlow 1960. The line became available at
Kitson's online boutique.
In 2009, Richie joined maternity store A Pea in the Pod to create the new
collection maternity clothes.
Richie was a member of the rock band "Darling" in 2009 along with Josie
Maran and Soleil and Sofia Alberti. A year later, she made her musical
debut on The View playing the piano.Although widely speculated that Richie
is working on an album, she told People that it's not true; however, she
said "I do eventually, but right now I have a lot on my plate". A demo of
the LFO song "Dandelion" leaked onto the internet and radio in 2004.
In 2004, she auditioned for the part of Maureen in the popular Broadway
hit, Rent, but did not get the part. In 2008, she was offered the lead
role in the hit musical Chicago as Roxie Hart.
In April 2005, reports surfaced that Richie and longtime friend Paris
Hilton were no longer speaking. Hilton commented on the reports stating,
"It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends. Nicole knows
what she did, and that's all I'm ever going to say about it." Neither
Richie nor Hilton ever spoke publicly about the cause of the split, though
rumors suggested that the pair fell out due to Nicole showing one of
Paris' home made sex tapes to a group of their friends. The two eventually
reconciled in October 2006.
In early 2006, Richie made headlines with a dramatically thinner
appearance, after spending two seasons of The Simple Life slightly heavier
than her usual weight. In May she told Vanity Fair, "I know I'm too thin
right now, so I wouldn't want any young girl looking at me and saying,
'That's what I want to look like.'" She also said, "I started seeing a
nutritionist and a doctor. I was scared that it could be something more
serious." During this time it was reported that she had also sought the
help of a psychiatrist and a personal trainer. Later that year, in
September, Richie stated "I am not anorexic. I am not bulimic. I do not
have an eating disorder." On October 27, 2006, it was announced that
Richie was seeking treatment for "an inability to put on weight," though
it is not treatment for an eating disorder.
In March 2007, Richie was taken to the hospital for dehydration. On March
21, her reps announced she was diagnosed with hypoglycemia.
Richie has had a string of high-profile relationships. She dated DJ AM
(Adam Goldstein) from 2003 to 2005, and they broke up after a nine-month
engagement. Richie was also briefly linked to childhood friend Brody
Jenner of MTV's The Hills.
Richie's highest profile relationship thus far has been with Good
Charlotte lead singer Joel Madden. They have two children: daughter Harlow
Winter Kate Madden (born January 11, 2008) and son Sparrow James Midnight
Madden (born September 9, 2009).
In February 2003, Richie was arrested in Malibu, California and was
charged with possession of heroin while driving with a suspended driver's
On December 11, 2006, Richie was arrested by the California Highway Patrol
after she failed a field sobriety test. She was charged with driving under
the influence on State Route 134 in the Burbank/Glendale, California area.
Several motorists had reported a black Mercedes-Benz G-Class entering the
SR134 freeway on the exit ramp and traveling in the wrong direction. She
admitted to using marijuana and Vicodin before the incident. July 27,
2007, Richie was sentenced to four days in jail, but served only about 82
minutes of the sentence as Richie checked herself into the Century
Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, California on August 23, 2007 at
15:15 PDT and was released at 16:37 PDT.
A spokeswoman for the sheriff's department told People magazine that
Richie "was released early due to overcrowding in the jail system. This is
standard procedure for nonviolent offenders." After spending 82 minutes in
jail, Richie was "Of course pleasantly surprised to be released so
quickly," said her attorney.
Richie signed up for an 18-month SB 38 anti-drinking driver education
program, according to papers filed with the Superior Court of California.