Nicole Richie, Joel Madden and children – family facts

Bio and birth dates - facts on the Richie-Madden brood, Harlow and Sparrow

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Nicole and Joel’s vital stats:

  • Nicole Richie born 1 September 1981
  • Joel Madden (real name Joel Rueben Combs), born 11 March 1979
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Nicole and Joel’s children:

  • Harlow Winter Kate, born 11 January 2008
  • Sparrow James Midnight, born 9 September 2009

1981 – 2005

Adopted by singer Lionel Richie when she was 3 years old after her biological parents (and close friends of Lionel) felt they couldn’t provide for their daughter, Lionel brought Nicole Richie up as his own with his then wife Brenda Harvey. Nicole was officially adopted aged 9, with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson named as her godparents. 

After years of living the party lifestyle and a stint in rehab for her drug addiction, Nicole Richie got her feet back on the ground when she met her future husband, Good Charlotte singer, Joel Madden. But it wasn’t without a few hitches along the way…

2006 – 2008

After socialising in the same circle of friends for years, Nicole and Joel officially met in 2006. Joel was in a relationship with singer Hilary Duff at the time, but they soon split and Nicole and Joel becoming an item not long after.

At the time, Nicole described Joel as a “good mama’s boy in a bad boy’s body”. It was around this time that Nicole was subjected to anorexic rumours after she became worryingly thin. She also lived a party girl lifestyle with her childhood friend (and fellow socialite) Paris Hilton as her sidekick.

Nicole was forced to slow her partying lifestyle down completely after she was arrested for driving under the influence of drink and drugs in December 2006. Nicole was sentenced to serve 4 days in prison in the August 2007. It was the same time that she sensationally revealed that she was 4 months pregnant with her first child with Joel.

Due to her pregnancy, Nicole was let off of her full sentence and went to serve 82 hours instead. She later issued an apology and said she was determined to steer clear of drugs and alcohol for the sake of her baby.

Pregnancy was the making of Nicole, with it spurring her to turn her image around and clean up her act. At the time, Nicole admitted that her becoming pregnant made her closer to her biological mum and adopted dad Lionel.

“When I found out that I was pregnant, there was something inside of me that felt a responsibility to mend the issues that I’ve had in the past with my parents,” Nicole said at the time. “I put them through hell and I wanted to make it all right again now I was going to be a parent myself.”

In November 2007, Nicole and Joel founded the The Richie Madden Children’s Foundation and also hosted a surprise baby shower for mums-to-be at the Free Clinic in LA, where they donated a generous $200,000 worth of baby gifts themselves to pregnant mums in need.

Nicole was often seen flaunting her baby bump and seemed to embrace her changing body by showing it off in a bikini on beaches such as Hawaii and Mexico before she gave birth.

She also revealed that she had a pregnancy craving for chicken pasta, too! “I just got made fresh chicken past at midnight. I’m not one for thank you’s, but you know who you are” Nicole tweeted at the time.

Nicole was caught up in rumours that she was seen smoking during her pregnancy, but vehemently denied these, saying, “False and unsubstantiated. The healthy birth of my child is my no.1 priority.”

Nicole also revealed that she was planning on keeping any chemicals and drugs out of her body completely – including pain killers during labour! It’s rumoured that she wanted a natural birth and “didn’t want to take aspirin or anything to ease the pain of labour.”

A few months before the birth, Nicole was treated to a Wizard of Oz themed baby shower in Beverly Hills. Although the shower was supposed to be top secret, picture were leaked to the press, and revealed a huge Oz themed cake featuring Toto and the ruby slippers saying, ‘There’s no place like giving birth at home’. It was at this shower that Paris Hilton gave her friend a reported $10,000 worth of baby gifts.

After the shower, Nicole donated lots of the generous gifts to her and Joel’s children’s foundation, only keeping hold of keepsake items like baby books and sentimental gifts.

Nicole gave birth to her and Joel’s 1st baby, a girl, on 11 January 2008, at the Cedas-Sinai Medical Center in LA. Nicole was in labour the same time as fellow celeb mum-to-be Christina Aguilera and gave birth just down the corridor from each other. Christina went on to give birth to a baby boy named Max Liron.

Nicole and Joel named their baby girl Harlow Winter Kate Madden, who weighed 6lb 7oz. “The beautiful healthy baby girl left the hospital with her ecstatic parents,” their spokesperson said at the time.

Talking about the influences behind Harlow’s baby name choice, Nicole explained, “I wanted a hippy name but Joel wanted something biblical. Harlow’s a cool name because it feels like a classic name at the same time,” she said.

2009

In February 2009, Nicole and Joel announced that they were expecting their 2nd baby together. Breaking the happy news on his official website, Joel said, “I am so happy to tell everyone that Harlow is going to be a big sister! God has truly blessed my family and I couldn’t be happier.”

During her 1st pregnancy, Nicole had become something of a style icon with her choice of chic maternity outfits and effortless look. She decided to share her pregnancy style tips by modelling and designing her own maternity collection for A Pea in A Pod. The collection was a huge success, with a host of fellow celebrity mums-to-be bagging items from the range. She also launched a jewellery range in honour of her daughter called House of Harlow.

Nicole gave birth to her and Joel’s 2nd baby, a boy named Sparrow James Midnight Madden , on 9 September 2009. Although there wasn’t a pregnant pop star down the corridor this time, Nicole gave birth at the same hospital and her baby boy weighed a healthy 7lb 4oz.

Just weeks after she gave birth to Sparrow, Nicole was spotted looking svelte and toned. She also posed for the front cover of People magazine with her new addition, with proud big sister Harlow and dad Joel by her side. “I’m glad I had a girl before a boy. Harlow loves him so much and is very gentle with him,” she said in the interview. She also posted a host of adorable family snaps on her official website.

After choosing a 2nd alternative baby name for their child, Nicole explained the reasons behind her bird-inspired name choice. “I didn’t realise both our baby’s names ended in ‘ow’. Joel and I have different taste but we both agreed that we liked Sparrow from Captain Jack Sparrow.”

2010 – 2017

Nicole and Joel married in December 2010 at Lionel Richie’s house in Los Angeles.  It’s rumoured that Nicole and Joel Madden hired a real trained elephant for their wedding as it was always Nicole’s dream to have her wedding guests ride an elephant during the nuptials!

As of January 2017, Nicole and Joel are still very much together 💜

Images: Instagram/Joel Madden

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