Lionel Richie is finally opening up about the details that led him to adopt his now-famous daughter, Nicole.
During an interview with Piers Morgan, which will air Friday, the legendary R&B singer opened up about how Nicole came to be his daughter.
He said, “I went to a Prince concert and there on stage in the middle of the concert was this 4-year-old kid playing the tambourine. So I went backstage and I knew the mother and I knew the father [Karen Moss and Peter Michael Escobedo] and, of course, they were having difficulties with their relationship. I said, ‘While you are having the difficulty, the kid is sitting out there in limbo so I’ll tell you what I’ll do, just put the kid in my house until the tour is over with and then we will sort this out later.'”
But he said it took a while for him to “fall in love” with the little girl. He continued, “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 and so I said, ‘OK, 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.'”
And from then on she had won his heart. Even during her dark times growing up, he stood by her as only a truly great father could. When she got into trouble with drugs, he gave her some sobering advice and literally stuck by her during her time getting clean.
He said, “I went to her and I said, ‘When I was growing up, I lost three friends [to drugs]’… I said, ‘It’s going to happen to your generation. I don’t want you to be in that list of three.’ Three months later, her friend died of an overdose, and I went back to her and very quietly, I said, ‘I am sorry to hear that, that’s one.’ And then sure enough, one year later the second one died, and I said, ‘That’s two,’ and I got a phone call and she said, ‘Dad I need help, I don’t want to be the third.'”
His response could not have been more perfect. He said, “I am with you,” and he cancelled his tour. He then did something amazing: He and his ex-wife, Nicole’s adoptive mother, checked into rehab with her.
The elder Richie sure did make good on his promise to take care of that little girl with the tambourine. What sweet words and what an amazing dad! Nicole Richie is now flourishing with a family of her own and another hit reality TV show.