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Lionel Richie says daughter Nicole Richie was a “godsend” when he adopted her

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In a cover story for this week’s People magazine, Lionel Richie says his daughter Nicole, whom he adopted when she was nine years old, changed his life.

Lionel and his then-wife, Brenda Harvey, adopted Nicole because her parents, friends of Lionel’s, were struggling financially. “Nicole was actually a godsend. She was a little girl who needed a shot,” he tells People. “She was used to people coming and going. She looked at me and I’d say, ‘I’m not going anywhere.'”

Nicole even helped Lionel after he and Harvey divorced in 1993. “Brenda and I went through a very interesting time,” says the American Idol judge, adding, “We didn’t agree on a lot of things, but we did agree on [Nicole].”

Nicole, who’s married to Good Charlotte rocker Joel Madden, has given Lionel two grandchildren: daughter Harlow, 14, and son Sparrow, 12. 

“I’ll say something and she goes, ‘Dad, we don’t use those kind of words around the kids.’ And I go, ‘Excuse me?'” Lionel says with a laugh. “She turned into a fantastic young lady.”

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominee is also the father of Miles, 27, and Sofia 23, whom he shares with his second wife, Diane Alexander. Lionel and Diane divorced in 2004.

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