Nicole Richie: From Troubled Addict to Model Mom?


By Staff Writer

Original Source:

Most parents have things in their past they’re not wild about discussing with their children. In many families, kids don’t learn the sordid parts of their parents’ history until they’re in or approaching adulthood.

But most parents aren’t Nicole Richie, who spent a sizable portion of her “wild oats” years on camera and wearing a microphone. And even when she wasn’t filming “The Simple Life” with Paris Hilton, she was still Nicole Richie — Lionel Richie’s daughter — which meant she was relentlessly pursued by paparazzi and journalists. It seems when Michael Jackson is your godfather, people pay a lot of attention to everything you do.

Take a second to think of everything you hope your kids don’t find out about your past. Now imagine those things — all of them — available online, all day, every day. What would you do?

It’s a serious question for Richie. Her legal issues are legendary: nightclub brawl; heroin possession; driving the wrong way on the freeway while fueled by alcohol, marijuana, and Vicodin. Beyond the legal realm, there’s a decade’s worth of tabloid gossip and internet speculation about the life of one of the flashiest characters of the early 2000s.

So what will Richie do? Now married to Good Charlotte lead singer Joel Madden, she has two children. And Richie plans to simply tell the truth: “Everything is out there and I have no choice but to be honest with them. And you know what? That is very freeing to me.”

So Richie plans to “ease them into it” when they’re ready. At the moment, they’re 8 and 9 years old, and she simply tells them “Mommy got grounded a lot.” But eventually, they’ll hear all of it: her early dabbling with alcohol and marijuana; her progression to cocaine and heroin; her legal troubles; and her rehab and eventual sobriety.

It’s a fair bet that if you could travel back to 2002 and ask 100 network TV viewers where Richie would be in 15 years, not one of them would have guessed “devoted, thoughtful mother.” And yet: here she is, by all accounts an exceptional parent — much like her father, who cancelled a tour in 2003 so he could enter rehab with his daughter to provide her emotional support and unconditional love.

Harlow and Sparrow, Nicole’s two children, will surely benefit from the unconditional love of their mother as well — coupled with a mature understanding of reality: “It is what it is. What I can do is use [my]experience as a tool for my kids when they get older.”