Nicole Camille Richie (born September 21, 1981) is an American actress. The adopted daughter of Lionel Richie, she is best known for her role in the reality show The Simple Life.
Nicole Richie (born Nicole Camille Escovedo) was born in Berkeley, California. Her biological father is widely rumored to be Afro-Latino musician Pete Escovedo, brother of 1980s pop percussionist Sheila E., but this was directly denied by Richie in the November 2005 issue of Jane magazine. According to an April 2006 Tatler magazine interview with Richie, her biological father was a drummer who worked with Lionel Richie; her biological mother was a backstage assistant for Lionel. When Nicole was 3, Lionel and his wife Brenda Harvey-Richie informally adopted her and raised her as their daughter. When she was 9, they went through the legal formalities of the adoption; she still speaks with her biological mother who is also of Black & Mexican descent and currently resides in the Dominican Republic. Richie said of her heritage that she was a "mix of everything", but when asked she just says she is African-American and Hispanic. Her godfathers are Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones.
A year later, Lionel and Brenda split, and in their guilt over the separation, "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. She used marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, was arrested three times, and was involved in five car accidents. Not until she went into drug rehabilitation in 2003 did Richie and her parents have an open conversation about her addiction. "I'm now, at 24, just learning to deal with my problems instead of concealing them with drugs", she said in the interview.
Richie has studied the guitar, cello, violin, piano, and figure skating. Richie attended The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California. She also attended the University of Arizona to study Arts and Media for two years after graduating from Montclair Prep High School. Quincy Jones said in a People magazine interview that he has "known her since she was a baby. She's a very smart girl. When she was younger she worked eight hours a day for eight years to become an Olympic figure skater. She's a very talented girl."