Things You Didn’t Know About Nicole Richie

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Nicole Richie quickly rose to fame after she was cast alongside her longtime friend, Paris Hilton to star in their own reality television series. Today she’s broken away from her controversial past and become a doting mother, wife, author, actress, style icon and fashion designer. As the adopted child of soul singer Lionel Richie, she was destined to live a life of luxury, but the success she’s built today as a businesswoman was all the result of her hard work and dedication. The House of Harlow designer is married to musician Joel Madden with two children, Harlow and Sparrow. Nicole’s life has been pretty hectic ever since she was a child and she’s essentially grown up in the eye of the public. Her and Joel work hard to keep their personal life private these days, but we’ve managed to dig up a few interesting facts. Here’s 12 things you probably didn’t know about Nicole Richie!

11.  Figure Skater

As a child growing up she didn’t dream of becoming a reality star or Hollywood fashionista — she wanted to be a figure skater! She trained eight hours a day and competed on a national level. Today, she credits figure skating for her interest in fashion. “I was a figure skater my whole life. My dad’s costume designer, Edna, would make my figure skating outfits when I would compete, and she urged me one day to go to her studio downtown, and she showed me how everything worked,” said Nicole. “It was when Nancy Kerrigan won an Olympic medal wearing Vera Wang that I was introduced to the designer world. Edna said to me, ‘You have all these ideas, why don’t you come in and design everything yourself?’ I was nine or 10. I went to stores and bought charms with strips of velvet to make chokers.” Nicole was considered an extremely intelligent and gifted child. She also took on extra circular activities like learning the cello, violin and piano.

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10. First Engagement

Today, Nicole is happily married to her husband, Joel Madden, but she once almost married someone else! After two seasons of filming The Simple Life, things began to change for Nicole Richie. In 2004 she began dating Adam Goldstein, also known as DJ AM, who was 10 years her senior. A year later they announced they were engaged. The couple moved in together in the Hollywood Hills, but only 10 months into their engagement they split up. They rekindled their relationship in March 2006 during a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico, but it had fizzled again by May. Richie stated that they were still good friends, but her new lifestyle which didn’t include the nightlife scene, clashed with his career as a DJ. During an interview with Vanity Fair, Nicole said her extreme weight loss was in part due to her heartbreaking split with Goldstein. A few years later in August 2009, Goldstein died in his New York City apartment from a drug overdose.


9. Falling Out with Paris

After three successful season of The Simple Life, the two party girls were caught up in a media frenzy with reports that they were no longer on speaking terms. Things got so bad they even had to film the fourth season of the show separately! Paris was famously quoted as saying, “Nicole knows what she did, and that’s all I’m ever going to say about it.” Of course the media went crazy trying to figure out what it was that “Nicole did,” but neither ever really spoke publicly about it. Then in an interview with Vanity Far, Richie opened up about the dissolution of her friendship with Paris: “We never had a fight I just decided I didn’t want to be her friend anymore. We’re just two completely different people; we don’t have that much in common. I really don’t have anything horrible to say about her. When I got out of rehab, I had to figure out what path to go down, and part of that included taking certain people out of my life. When Paris made her little announcement that ‘Nicole knows what she did,’ I didn’t really understand what that was about, because we hadn’t been friends in such a long time. I can only guess that she had House of Wax coming out.” said Nicole. “It’s not like I hate Paris and it’s war; I just didn’t want to be her best friend anymore. I can totally imagine how that would be hurtful. But you can’t threaten people into being your friend; you can’t bribe them into being your friend.” A few months later they were spotted sitting together at a fashion show and reconciled long enough to film their last season together.

Lionel Hahn/ABACA.

8. Adoption Story

Lionel Richie first met Nicole Richie at a Prince concert. “We went to of all things a Prince concert. The discovery was not the show for Prince. The discovery there was a 2-year-old on stage with Prince playing the tambourine. All of the sudden I’m asking myself the question, is that one of Prince’s kids? No. Is that one of the band members kids? No. Who is the kid? Now I’m obsessed with the fact of who are you?” said Lionel. After the show, he spent some time with her backstage playing around and thought she was the cutest little girl, but was also curious about what a child was doing on tour. “About six or seven weeks later, I came by the house one day with Shelia [Lionel’s sister] and I realized, there she is again. Well, we now discovered the difficulties of what is happening here and the behind the scenes thing that is happening and we were a little worried about, well a little kid can’t go on tour because a 2-year-old needs to be stationary. Can’t keep her on the road,” he said. They came up with the idea of keeping Nicole at the house with Shelia and their family. Then a few years went by and the situation wasn’t getting any better. When she was 9 the adoption was made legal and binding. “My parents were friends with Lionel. They trusted that they would be better able to provide for me,” Nicole said.


7. She Never Wears Make Up

In a recent interview with People, Nicole Richie announced that she would be joining Alicia Keys in her “Make-Up Free Movement.” Richie is often spotted sporting no make up and its kind of become her signature style lately. She said she stays away from it because it clogs her skin and even admitted that she doesn’t know how to do her own make up which is another reason she rarely wears any. “I know people [who] are so comfortable in makeup and they feel alive and that is what they love to do. So I wouldn’t say that I am against it because I know people that really get joy and feel the most like themselves when they put on makeup. I feel the most like myself when I don’t have any on and so that’s the road I go down.”

  A photo posted by @nicolerichie on

6. Relationship with Joel Madden

When Nicole and Joel started dating in January 2007, nobody thought their relationship was for the long haul. They met through mutual friends and had seen each other around. According to Joel, he had to convince Nicole into giving him a chance. She was skeptical because Madden had just broken up with his girlfriend of two and a half years, Hilary Duff, while Richie was in the midst of some legal issues. Regardless, they made it last and in July of that year there were already reports of a pregnancy. A few days after being sentenced to four days in jail and three years probation, Nicole announced she was four months pregnant. In January 2008 they welcomed their first child, a daughter named Harlow Winter Kate Madden. After two children and four years of dating Nicole and Joel finally got married in December 2010! These two were good at keeping their relationship extremely private. When they did decide to publicly announce their engagement in the new year following the birth of their second child, a son named Sparrow, Joel said the engagement was old news. He said, “Yeah we’ve been engaged for a while so your all kind of late on that.” Their wedding was small with only 130 close family members and friends at her father Lionel’s Los Angeles estate. Their guest list included names like Gwen Stefani, Benji Madden and Samantha Ronson.

A photo posted by @nicolerichie on

5. She’s Got a Green Thumb

It might be surprising after watching a few episodes of The Simple Life, but this former party girl and born and raised city chick has quite the green thumb. She wakes up at 5:30 a.m. everyday in order to get a little bit of alone time before her chaotic day begins as a working mother: “that’s my time alone. Then I spend some time tending to my garden.” In the backyard of her Los Angeles home, Richie has a chicken coop, turtle pond and a fruit garden. “We have apple trees, blueberry trees, lemon trees, strawberries, butter lettuce, arugula, snap peas, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, mint, thyme, oregano and sage,” she said. She uses the eggs from her chicken coop for her family’s meals and created a turtle pond from a few pet turtles that were originally intended for her son, Sparrow. “I built them the most beautiful outside lagoon that you have ever seen. Now they’re mine. No one takes care of them but me.”

  A photo posted by @nicolerichie on

4. Famous Godparents

Being the daughter of Lionel Richie, Nicole grew up around some of the greatest musicians in the world. Her godparents were Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and Nancy Davis. To her, Prince, Kenny Rogers and Michael Jackson were her Uncles! “From what I remember it was pretty normal for me. There were a lot of people around is what I do remember. There were people in and out of the house pretty you know much all the time, but now that I’m older and I’m in this business I get it,” she said. In a separate interview, Richie did admit that while she had an amazing childhood with incredible mentors; she was too young to realize it, but she does remember that her first puppy was a gift from Prince.


3. Weight Loss

In 2006 Nicole Richie was hounded by the media with reports about her dramatic weight loss. She was called “scary skinny” and accused of having an eating disorder which she vehemently denied. Richie did acknowledge her thin appearance and said her weight loss was stress related. “I had a bad breakup, and it eats me up inside when I’m upset about something. I get really stressed out, and I do lose my appetite, but I do force myself to eat. I tried to put the weight on my way, eating burritos, but that wasn’t working, so I started seeing a nutritionist and a doctor. I was scared that it could be something more serious, because it wasn’t making any sense to me; I was really trying. So I had thyroid tests and all that. I do recognize that I have a problem, and I want to be responsible and fix it, and I’m on that path right now,” she told Vanity Fair in 2006. “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.’ I know that they will, which is another reason I really do need to do something about it.” Today, Richie has packed on a few more pounds. She’s still quite thin, but is no longer accused of having an eating disorder.

Everett Collection /

2. Legal Issues

Growing up with abandonment issues and a famous father who couldn’t watch over her every move, Nicole got into the club scene at a young age. At the age of 14 she was using fake IDs to get into clubs and began experimenting with drugs. After graduating Montclair high school, she left California to attend the University of Arizona Tucson, but eventually dropped out. In 2003, a 21-year-old Richie was caught with a balloon of heroin in her car and for driving with a revoked license. She was placed in the Sierra Tucson drug rehab center in Arizona. Richie openly admits that she started smoking marijuana when she was 13, progressed to cocaine at 14 and by 19 she was injecting herself with heroin. She was arrested 3 times, had 5 car accidents and did two stints in rehab. In October 2006, after two years of feuding, Paris and Nicole mended their friendship. A few months later, she was arrested for driving in the wrong direction on the highway. Nicole admitted to smoking marijuana and taking Vicodin. She was released on $15,000 bail and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for DUI. She was eventually convicted, but only sentenced to four days in jail and three years of probation.

Source: CBS News

1. Biological Parents

Nicole’s biological father is Peter Michael Escovedo, a musician who briefly played in a band as a drummer with Lionel Richie. Her biological mother, Karen Moss, was the executive assistant for Lionel’s sister, Shelia, who was also a singer. It has been reported that Peter and Karen allowed Lionel to adopt their daughter because of their ill finances. They did not have the means to raise her. Nicole was born with the last name Escovedo, but she later changed it to Richie after she was adopted. Despite feeling abandoned by her parents, Richie somewhat kept in touch with her biological mother, but the relationship was strained at times. When she was pregnant with her first child, Harlow, she said in an interview that she felt the need to mend any issues with her parents before giving birth. “When I found out I was pregnant, there was just something inside of me that felt a responsibility to mend any issues that I’ve had with my parents in the past, because listen, I have put them through a lot,” she said.

A photo posted by @nicolerichie on

Katherine G

Katherine G

Katherine is the Managing Editor for Health and Parenting, but she has a soft spot for entertainment. She loves binging shows on Netflix, reality TV is a guilty pleasure, and country music is her go-to playlist. When she's not writing, she's spending time outdoors, especially with her puppy Zoey!