Lionel Richie will soon be appearing on ITV show Piers Morgan’s Life Stories where he has shared his experiences and views on family, racism, romance, his daughter Nicole and meeting Nelson Mandela.
The article below, taken from the Mirror, outlines Lionel talking about Nicole and the problems they faced with her battle with drugs. It’s a truly heart-warming piece and we’re all proud of how far Nicole has come.
Talking to interviewer Piers Morgan for his hit ITV show Life Stories, he reveals how he faced racism with his beloved father, how he came to adopt daughter Nicole and helped her battle her drug demons a decade later, and his heartbreak over his dad’s death.
The way Lionel ended up adopting daughter Nicole, now a reality TV star, is a story destined to live on in the annals of showbiz strangeness. It began in 1983 as way of helping her biological dad Peter Escovedo, who had been a member of his band.
“I went to a Prince concert and there on the stage in the middle of the concert was this four-year-old kid playing the tambourine,” he says. “So I went backstage and I knew the mother and I knew the father and, of course, they were having difficulties with their relationship.
“I said, ‘While you are having the difficulty the kid is sitting out here 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’.
“And 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.’
“I remember just saying to her – because I don’t think she understood adoption – I think I just closed the door and said, ‘OK, I am never going to leave you ever again’.
“And I said, ‘Do you understand that?’ and she said ‘Yes’ which I am probably sure she didn’t. She didn’t know what that meant.”
And he stuck by his promise through the good times and the bad, such as Nicole’s battle with drugs. She was arrested for possession of heroin in 2003.
Lionel says: “I sound like my father now, but I went to her and I said, ‘When I was growing up I lost three friends, they were the hippest friends I ever knew in life.
‘One was the hippest guy at the clubs, he drank and he died in a car accident. The second friend died of drugs and the third one, suicide.’
“I said, ‘It’s going to happen to your generation. I don’t want you to be in that list of three because after that you’ll be just fine’.
“Three months later her friend died of an overdose and I went back to her and very quietly, I was very shocked, and I said, ‘I am sorry to hear that, that’s one’.
“And 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 one’.
“And I said, ‘I am with you’ and I cancelled the tour. I said, ‘Me and your mother’, who didn’t get along that well, ‘Me and your mother are checking into rehab with you.’”
Today Nicole, 33, has settled down with musician husband Joel Madden. They have two children: Harlow, seven, and five year-old Sparrow. Lionel says: “There is not a day that I don’t send a text to her and I put down, ‘Proud of you’.”
An incredible life Lionel Richie is leading, read more about it in the Mirror’s wonderful summary of his appearance on Piers Morgan here.
You can catch Piers Morgan Life Stories: Lionel Richie this Friday (September 4th) at 9pm on ITV.