Nicole Richie rocketed to fame in the early aughts as a Hollywood party girl then a reality star on The Simple Life. Years later, fans became familiar with her younger sister, model Sofia Richie. Keep reading to find out how the pair are related.
How Are Sofia Richie and Nicole Richie Related?
Sofia is music superstar Lionel Richie‘s daughter with second wife Diane Alexander. The pair married in 1995 and divorced in 2004, while welcoming Sofia on August 24, 1998. Lionel and Diane share another child, Sofia’s older brother, Miles, who was born in 1994.
Nicole was officially adopted by Lionel and his first wife, Brenda Harvey, when she was 9 years old, although the “All Night Long” hitmaker had known her since she was a small child. Her biological father is musician Peter Escovedo and her mother is Karen Moss, who worked as an assistant for Peter’s sister, singer/drummer Sheila E.
How Did Nicole Get Adopted by Lionel Richie?
Lionel first saw Nicole when she was a 2-year-old playing the tambourine at a 1983 Prince concert. “The beautiful part about it is I realized, ‘Oh my god, what a cute little button,’” Lionel told Huffington Post. “We played around. Never thought about it again.” A few weeks later he saw Nicole again, then known as Nicole Camille Escovedo, and thought, “We [were] a little worried that the little kid can’t go on tour because a 2-year-old needs to be stationary — they can’t keep going on the road.”
Nicole’s parents began having problems that only got worse, and Lionel and Brenda thought it was time to step in and help with the little girl they’d grown to love. They became her legal guardians and Lionel wrote his 1986 song “Ballerina Girl” about Nicole.
“Nicole was actually a godsend. She was a little girl who needed a shot,” Lionel told People in February 2022. “She was used to people coming and going. She looked at me and I’d say, ‘I’m not going anywhere.'”
“So it took about maybe a year for me to just fall in love and she was a little button, and of course by that time I was Dad,” he told Piers Morgan 2015 interview. “So I said, ‘Okay, here is what we are going to do: You’re going to make everyone wish that they had adopted you. You are going to make everyone in your family wish they actually had a chance to get you back,’ and that’s when I said, ‘Let’s adopt her.’”
Lionel and Brenda formally adopted Nicole, who took on the surname “Richie,” before they divorced in 1993. She would become Lionel’s first child before he later welcomed Miles and Sofia.
How Close Are Sofia and Nicole Richie?
Despite a 17-year age gap, the sisters are close but they do lead somewhat separate lives as Nicole was nearly an adult when her little sister was born. Nicole was on hand for Sofia’s engagement to Elliot Grainge in April 2022 when the music executive proposed in Hawaii and was one of the select guests at the Frankies Bikinis model’s lavish bachelorette party in Paris in October 2022, where they wore some NSFW headbands in a selfie together. Nicole will also be there when Sofia weds Elliot in the South of France in April 2023.