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How A Prince Concert Led Lionel Richie To Adopt Nicole

"I said, 'I’m never, ever going to leave you.'"

01/06/2016 11:38 PM AEST | Updated 01/06/2016 11:40 PM AEST
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It all started at a Prince concert.

That's how the story goes for Lionel Richie and his daughter, Nicole Richie, who interviewed each other for the latest episode of The Huffington Post's series Talk To Me. The legendary singer talked to his daughter about his roots in Tuskegee, Alabama, and his musical influences. He also opened up about how a Prince concert led him to an important "discovery."

"The discovery was not the show for Prince," Lionel said. "The discovery was: there's a 2-year-old on stage with Prince playing a tambourine."

That little tambourine player was Nicole, whom Lionel met backstage after the show. The singer, who knew Nicole's biological parents, realized later that Nicole's "family situation was falling apart" and wanted to help.

"I think we decided that ... what we'll do to kind of give you some stability was we'll be like legal guardians, but nothing more," he said.

That eventually led to Lionel and his then-wife, Brenda Harvey Richie, adopting Nicole. At this point, the "All Night Long" singer was at one of the heights of his career and explained to Nicole that while work required him to be gone for weeks and sometimes months at a time, he would always come back.

"I remember you had abandonment issues for obvious reasons. You'd been handed around to every relative in the family," he said. "I remember what I said to you. I said, 'I’m never, ever going to leave you.'"

That was a promise he made to Nicole, and soon Lionel realized, in the midst of touring and songwriting, that he ended up getting the same thing in return. 

"I think you...changed my life a great deal in terms of softening my heart, because everything up to that point was about songwriting and the business and touring," he said. "All of a sudden I found something that I could actually fall in love with that was never going to leave me. How about that?"

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