Lionel Richie is proud of his beautiful children!
The music legend got candid about fatherhood in a recent cover story for PEOPLE‘s magazine, in which the issue celebrated Black History Month.
Naturally, the 72-year-old entertainer couldn’t discuss parenting without gushing about his three famous children — the actress Nicole, model Sofia, and musician Miles.
Lionel Richie Opened Up About His Experiences As A Parent
When it came to parenting, the “All Night Long” singer couldn’t believe his luck as the icon was blessed with three exceptional children, who changed his life in various ways.
Regarding his evolution as a father, the R&B singer stated that his kids turned him into their paternal grandparents. In Lionel’s words:
“My kids turned me into my parents.”
However, the chart-topper’s experiences as a father differed from the way he scared his parents as the songwriter’s children repeatedly shocked him with their accomplishments.
Although he was proud of the trio’s successful careers, the “Endless Love” musician clarified that his children began changing his life long before they were adults.
These transformations began with his eldest child and daughter, Nicole, whom the “American Idol” judge adopted with his first wife, Brenda Harvey.
At the time, the couple chose to raise the little girl after her biological parents, who were also close friends of the Soul artist, became financially unable to care for their daughter.
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This little girl became Lionel’s stability, especially during his rocky divorce from Harvey in 1993 following allegations that the record producer had an affair with the fashion designer Diane Alexander.
The Johnny Mercer Award winner described Nicole as a “godsend,” plus her adoption was one of the few things he and his ex-wife could agree on.
However, the icon’s oldest daughter was no longer the little girl from the past as the father-of-three proudly told the news outlet that she had grown into a “fantastic” mother with two children.
As shared by CountryLiving, the 72-year-old entertainer once stated in an interview that his three kids “defined him more than any hit record or award.”
The 4-time Grammy winner was blessed with his other two children, Miles and Sofia, during his second marriage to Alexander in 1995, two years after his divorce from Harvey.
Unfortunately, the second time wasn’t the charm for the R&B star as his marriage to the fashion designer ended in 2003. Nonetheless, the “Hello” singer’s children remained his constant supporters.
The Golden Globe award winner continued to put his family first, especially on important occasions like having his children join him on red carpets and award ceremonies.
The Academy Award Winner Became An Icon Despite Facing Harsh Criticisms About His Heritage
During his interview with PEOPLE for Black History Month, the record producer reflected on his difficulties at the start of his music career.
The legend grew up in the Black community of Tuskegee, Alabama, where he also attended Tuskegee University, a renowned college known for its Black history.
From a young age to his adult life, the “We Are the World” singer was surrounded by inspirational Black figures, which greatly influenced his music, especially as a songwriter.
Richie rose to fame as co-frontman of the famous 80s funk band, The Commodores. However, his talents as a lyricist paved the path to his solo career after writing hit songs like “Lady” for Kenny Rogers.
However, the road to becoming one of the music industry’s iconic faces didn’t come easy as many people criticized the musician for not being “black, ” a notion that baffled the chart-topper.
The 72-year-old confessed that he was troubled by these allegations because he always tried to express his rich culture and heritage in his music. In his words:
“No one had ever questioned my Blackness before. Like, do you know who you’re talking to?”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee stated that he grew up around Black icons such as the writer of the “Negro Folk Symphony,” William L. Dawson and Alfred ‘Chief’ Anderson.
Regardless of the criticisms and judgments about his color and music, Richie remained steadfast on the road to becoming the greatest songwriter of all time — a goal he proudly declared had been achieved decades ago.