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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview with Lionel & Nicole Richie

Aired May 31, 2009 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Richie family exclusive -- he had the music world at his feet, but Lionel Richie couldn't control his little girl.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIONEL RICHIE, SINGER: I wish I could have been there more for her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: She was the darling of reality TV, but Nicole Richie had problems with her dad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLE RICHIE, DAUGHTER OF LIONEL RICHIE: We went through phases of not speaking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It's their first interview together in six years and they will not hold back on fame, each other...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. RICHIE: Actually, she makes me nervous. Let me just be honest with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And the crisis that almost killed her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. RICHIE: The bad news is that Nicole is going to die. The good news is she doesn't have to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Truth and triumph -- Lionel Richie, Nicole Richie exclusive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. RICHIE: It's the best therapy that I've (INAUDIBLE). Slide the check over to me, my God. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And a special appearance by baby Harlow, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

What a treat tonight. My man, Lionel Richie, is with us.

One reminder, my book, "My Remarkable Journey: By Larry King" -- that's me -- is now out and available everywhere. Most of the proceeds go to the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. I hope you find it an enjoyable read. More about it later.

Lionel Richie is the legendary singer-songwriter. He's sold more than 100 million albums. He's earned five Grammies and an Oscar. His first studio album in more than two years is out. It's titled, "Just Go." I have it in my hand and you'll see it on your screen.

You're going to be 60?

L. RICHIE: Now, listen, I don't even want to play around with that. That's a -- that's a serious number.

KING: How did that happen?

L. RICHIE: I don't know how that happened. Somewhere along the way, they kept adding numbers up.

KING: You're a grandparent?

L. RICHIE: I'm a grandfather and happy about it. I cannot believe that something this monumental -- the number, the title -- all of a sudden became the greatest thing in my life.

KING: Frank Sinatra told me once -- not to drop names -- that there is a lot to be said for longevity.

How do you account for yours?

L. RICHIE: Well, I must tell you something. Somewhere along the way, I -- I lucked out and found a subject that never goes out of style -- love. I don't care whether you started out in prison or you started out with hard times or you started on top of the world, somewhere along the way, you're going to say, "I love you" to somebody.

And what happened in my case was I think that people were engaged, married, went to school, broke up, had divorce, whatever the case may be, one of those songs that I wrote in -- somewhere along in my career applied to that particular circumstance. And I plug into their lives.

KING: But didn't other singers sing love songs?

L. RICHIE: You know, the rest of that, I can't even imagine how I lucked out because, truthfully, I think back when my parents said to me, why would you think that you're going to be different from eight million other singers?

And the answer is because we're The Commodores, of course, you know.

KING: Yes, well...

L. RICHIE: So I mean what...

KING: You've also said that in your world, the oldest person you deal with is 35.

Doesn't that make you feel old?

L. RICHIE: Well, that's what I'm saying. I spend every day kind of running -- running away from the other side of that. Our business is a young business. It's youth-oriented. So when I go out on the road and start dealing with people every day, I get the opinions of everyone from 21 or 19, 18 to 35. That's the group. That's the age. And so my entire life is geared around their opinions.

KING: Does it force you to sing things you don't like?

L. RICHIE: No. No. What it does, it keeps me current -- you know, this little wheel that happens called the music business. And a lot of artists have gone away for a weekend or gone away for a couple months and came back. And they were number one when they left. They were ice cold when they got back.

KING: Yes.

L. RICHIE: This is the only business in the world where I have to -- if I want to stay in it, I have to keep always asking the question, what's next, what's coming next?

Because that's where it is. And the 19 to 35 year olds know everything. They've got it down.

KING: Now, you did "American Idol," a European tour, a new CD. No -- you ever give thoughts of just cooling it?

L. RICHIE: My answer to that is very simple -- I don't like fishing. I'm pretty much like you. I -- this is my hobby. This is exactly what ...

KING: Yes, me, too.

L. RICHIE: The same thing. I -- I woke up one morning and someone said to me, would you like to hang out with the band?

And I thought that was the best hobby in the whole world. And since then, it's been just that -- the greatest adventure ever.

KING: What's -- what's the new album about?

L. RICHIE: You know what I decided to do on this album?

Something different. Instead of controlling, which is what I love to do -- I'm the writer, I'm the arranger, I'm the producer, I'm the singer -- I decided, let me start another way. Let me go back and ask that one question to the guys in the 35-year-old back. If you were Lionel Richie, 2009 and 10, Ne-Yo, Akon, Tricky, Dream and Kook, all these guys, if you -- Stargate.

If you were Lionel Richie 2009 and 10, what does he sound like?

And then I walked out of the room.

This album is exactly that. I just gave up the power completely. There's only one song on this album that I actually wrote, called "Eternity." And the rest, I turned it over to them. And believe it or not, they remembered more about my career than I could remember. And it's a hybrid of exactly what I would have written after "All Night Long" or after "Hello."

They covered it. This is an amazing record so.

KING: The "American Idol" thing, was that fun to do?

Why did you do it?

By the way, a lot of Tweets are suggesting that same question.

What did it feel like to perform there?

L. RICHIE: It's the best fun in the world because it reminds -- it's a reminder of exactly how we started. Danny was so wonderful. He kept saying, but -- but suppose I mess up or suppose I sing your line instead of my line?

And I said one great thing to Danny. I said, remember, the crowd never came to rehearsal. You can't mess this one up. And if you feel like you want to sing my part, sing it loud and strong. You know and, of course, he nailed it.

It was so much fun to watch everybody backstage. The tension of what goes through that show, I don't think I can do it. I don't think I would.

KING: What about the controversy over the outcome -- Kris Allen winning over the judge's favorite, Adam Lambert and this talk about vixen...

L. RICHIE: It's always there.

KING: What do you make of that?

RICHIE: No, no, no. (INAUDIBLE). When you come down to the vote of the people, they are always going to find their group. I know when we did "We Are the World," you know, we were going to do just four of us, then five of us. And they said, well, we want to bring in country. Well, let's bring in country. Let's bring in Willie Nelson. Well, if you bring in Willie Nelson, let's bring in rock and roll. Let's bring in Springsteen. Well, if you've got Springsteen, you have to bring in Bob Dylan.

You're dealing with everyone between New York and L.A. And they are all looking for their face and their guy. And it could have gone either way.

I'm telling you something, the talent between the two of those guys, unbelievable, unbelievable.

KING: They're both going to get big -- go big?

L. RICHIE: They're going to be big. I mean, first of all, you just don't do a Freddie Mercury sing-along with Queen. You just don't do that every day.

KING: What do you make of the success of that show?

L. RICHIE: I think everyone has this idea that stardom is right there. They love that word called "overnight" -- I should say, the phrase "overnight success." I'm still 35 years and trying to still make it, because it's -- as you know, it continues to grow each time.

But the truth of the matter is, I think everyone has this stars in their eyes, it can happen overnight. As I said backstage with them, I'm not worried about them winning. The old way we used to do it was you get the hit record first and then you had to get famous.

They have it even harder. They're famous all over the world, now they have to find the hit record. That's harder than anything, because they have to be famous today. And so it's really a different world. And this is John Q. Public voting now.

KING: Were you ever on stage in a concert and not know what city you're in?

(LAUGHTER)

L. RICHIE: Today is a good example.

(LAUGHTER)

L. RICHIE: Until I walked into the studio, I had to -- where am I? We just did three-and-a-half months on the road, a city every other night and -- of Europe. And how they do it now is they either write it on the floor -- "you are in Berlin" -- or you're in Munich. Because what will happen is, I will go out on stage -- excuse me, I woke up in Frankfurt, had breakfast, got on the plane and flew to Berlin.

The only example is I still think I'm in Frankfurt. So you walk out on stage and say it's great to be here.

KING: Lionel's famous daughter Nicole is here. It's their first interview together in six years.

Nicole Richie joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

KING: We're back with Lionel Richie, the Grammy winning singer, songwriter. The first studio album in two years now out. We've showed it to you, "Let's Go."

And joining us here in L.A. Is Nicole Richie, the former reality TV star and best-selling author herself. She is Lionel's daughter and the mother of Lionel's first grandchild, Harlow. This is their first TV interview together in six years.

Why so long, Nicole?

Why haven't you been together?

N. RICHIE: We don't really do work things together. Even...

L. RICHIE: Actually, she makes me nervous.

(LAUGHTER)

L. RICHIE: Let me just be honest with you.

KING: So you normally don't do this?

L. RICHIE: Yes, we don't. No.

N. RICHIE: No, we don't.

L. RICHIE: No.

KING: So why now?

L. RICHIE: She's brut -- she's brutally honest.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Why now?

N. RICHIE: You know, I'm just -- I'm really happy for my dad. And this is -- this is an album out right around the time that Harlow's -- she's able to see him on television and she points out -- you know, she points him out and she's really proud of him.

And so I just wanted to just come and support him and just -- you know, just show how proud I am of him.

KING: What's it like to be with her -- I mean, in this setting?

L. RICHIE: Well, you know, I must say, it's the other way around, too, because we went through so many interviews with, is she going to be OK?

What about her life?

What is happening?

I just wanted her -- I was so happy when she said that she wanted to come on with me because so many people -- it was so negative for so long.

KING: About her?

L. RICHIE: Yes. That I just wanted to just -- I'm so proud of her right now, you can tell, there's just such a pride that she has turned this corner. She's an amazing mother. And when someone takes that much of a turnaround to come back the other way, to be so solid right now, you know, I want the world to kind of know where she is. I'm very proud of her.

KING: Yes. We all ought to be.

N. RICHIE: Thank you.

KING: It's one thing (INAUDIBLE)...

L. RICHIE: Very proud. Very proud.

KING: It's easy to be up.

L. RICHIE: Yes.

KING: It's easy to be up.

Now you're pregnant with a second child, right?

N. RICHIE: Yes. Yes, I am.

KING: And the father is the same?

N. RICHIE: Yes.

KING: You going to get married?

N. RICHIE: Eventually, yes. Yes.

KING: But that's not important or paramount?

N. RICHIE: I think, you know, for both of us, we are going to do it because we want to, not because that's what you do. And we're -- he's making an album right now and I've got my own things going on. And we're going to do it when -- when the time is right.

KING: What kind of grandfather is him?

N. RICHIE: Well, he's very animated. He smiles like this all the time. And so he's nothing but fun for Harlow. She absolutely loves him. L. RICHIE: Although, I must tell you, I scared the baby to death for the first -- the first couple of times together because I come in the room, "Hi!," and it's too much, too loud.

N. RICHIE: It's too much.

L. RICHIE: It's too loud. They had -- I had to tone it down. But I just only know how to be loud in that area.

KING: Is grandfathering different from fathering?

L. RICHIE: Much different. Yes, for one, I actually am a genius now. You know, the first time, when you have your kid, you are -- it comes with no instructions.

KING: Right.

L. RICHIE: This one, I -- I know everything. So when she brings a crisis to me, I start laughing immediately. Grandmother starts -- Brenda is laughing hysterically. And then when everything gets really, really good and then disaster comes, you take the baby and you go, Nicole, here. Here. Give her back.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: You know, Larry Gelbarth, the great comedy writer, I saw him walking down the street once with his little granddaughter on his shoulder.

And he said, do you know why grandchildren and their grandparents get along so well?

I said, why?

They have a common enemy.

(LAUGHTER)

L. RICHIE: That's true.

N. RICHIE: That is true.

L. RICHIE: It's true.

KING: Does he spoil her?

N. RICHIE: Absolutely. Both of my parents do. It's -- it's -- that's been the most difficult challenge with both my parents.

L. RICHIE: Did you hear this?

KING: (INAUDIBLE).

L. RICHIE: It's been the most difficult challenge.

Did you hear this? N. RICHIE: Well, it's true.

L. RICHIE: Oh, I can't believe that. It's love. It's called love. It's love. It's (INAUDIBLE).

KING: You see, that's all -- that's all he's interested in is love.

N. RICHIE: Of course.

L. RICHIE: Oozy, oozy stuff. But the baby is in trouble. I must tell you, between Brenda and myself, it's -- Harlow is...

KING: When you were born, your father was a star, wasn't he?

N. RICHIE: Yes.

KING: So what was it like growing up with that?

It's all you knew.

N. RICHIE: It's hard for me to say, because that is -- that is all I know. And he isn't Lionel Richie, the entertainer, when we're at home. He's in sweats. He never gets dressed. He doesn't brush his hair. I'm sorry.

L. RICHIE: Well, thank you very much. I can leave now. Thank you so much.

N. RICHIE: He gardens all day long. He cleans the pool. I mean, he's -- he's my dad. So I don't really look at him that way.

KING: Did you go see him work a lot as a kid?

N. RICHIE: I went onstage a couple -- a couple of times and I was on tour with him but that was more -- it was part of my childhood. And it was what I did. And I just didn't really think anything of it at the time.

KING: Would you say you had a good childhood?

N. RICHIE: I had a great childhood, a great childhood.

KING: So the problems that came later weren't caused by dad or mom?

N. RICHIE: No. I mean, look, I -- I really believe that you need to take responsibility for your own actions. And, you know, I could sit here and give you a million excuses -- my parents were divorced or this or that. But, you know, I made the decisions to do the things that I've done and I made mistakes. Everyone's made mistakes so.

KING: Really?

(LAUGHTER) KING: I haven't.

L. RICHIE: You know, what I tell her...

(LAUGHTER)

L. RICHIE: You know, what I tell her all the time is she used to say to me over and over again, dad, I'm sorry. Dad, I'm sorry.

And I said, will you stop apologizing?

I said, the only difference between your generation and my generation is we didn't have the Internet. We didn't know -- I could actually leave, go with The Commodores, Amsterdam, have the party of my life, damn near died, came home and I'm still little Richie.

In her case, it's -- everywhere in the world they have a camera.

KING: Right.

L. RICHIE: And it's a whole different (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: There's no privacy.

L. RICHIE: But there's no privacy, there's no experimentation. You can't play. And not only does your mom and dad know about it, but the whole world knows about it.

KING: We'll be back with father and daughter, Lionel Richie and Nicole Richie, and look at their collaborative -- collaborative -- at their creative collaboration in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Lionel Richie and Nicole Richie, their first interview together in six years.

Nicole starred in the 2006 video for Lionel's song, "I Call It Love."

Watch.

(MUSIC)

KING: How did that come about, Nicole?

N. RICHIE: My dad asked me to do the video. I was like a hundred percent. Yes.

Why not?

L. RICHIE: She has been the -- you know what happens in my case, you know, when you have kids, if you don't want the truth, you don't ask them the question, right?

KING: Of course. L. RICHIE: And so I said to her, so, what do you think about the song?

I love the song.

What do you think about doing the video?

I want to be in it.

Now, the other answer could have been I don't like the song and I don't want to be in the video. I mean that's -- but she's been right there from the beginning, straight through.

KING: Do you have fun being with him?

N. RICHIE: I do.

KING: Onstage.

N. RICHIE: I do. I mean, we've only done that a few times. We more spend time together just as father and daughter.

KING: You wouldn't tour together?

(LAUGHTER)

N. RICHIE: No. No, no, no, no.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: (INAUDIBLE) would go nuts.

L. RICHIE: Oh, yes.

KING: We'll be right back with more -- more of the Richies, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

KING: We're back with Lionel, the father; and Nicole, the daughter. The Richies are with us, their first time together in six years. We're very happy to have them, two extraordinary people.

All right. Nicole, you've been through some turbulent times. You had Yes abuse, wild child behavior. You said you got so much so fast that nothing really excited you. You entered rehab in 2003.

How have you come through all of that?

What did it?

N. RICHIE: With the support of my family, really. I've always stayed really close with my mother and my father. I have really great friends. And I just have a really great circle around me who support me no matter what -- don't judge me no matter how low I've ever gotten. And I really think that's the key to everything.

KING: Do you ever know why you started?

N. RICHIE: I don't.

KING: No one does, do they?

N. RICHIE: No.

L. RICHIE: (INAUDIBLE).

N. RICHIE: No. But I really don't think about it anymore. I mean, everyone has made mistakes, like I said. And it's really all about moving forward and learning from your mistakes. And that's really where I'm at in my own head.

KING: How did you deal with it, Lionel?

L. RICHIE: I think for Nicole's mom and for me, it gave me an amazing opportunity to step up to the plate. I said to her one day -- I came in and I said, we -- I have some good news and I have some bad news.

I said, the bad news is that Nicole is going to die. The good news is, she doesn't have to. I remember that look on her face of sheer panic.

And I said, the only person who is going to be able to save Nicole is Nicole.

And she went away. And about three weeks later I got a phone saying, dad, I want to go into rehab. And when she checked into rehab, her mother and I checked into rehab with her, because we wanted to know exactly...

KING: You stayed there with her?

L. RICHIE: We stayed there for the first...

N. RICHIE: Three days, maybe.

L. RICHIE: Three -- well, actually, it was a week. We stayed there because we wanted to make sure we understood exactly what she was getting into. And I just commend her on the fact that she -- she stepped into it. She did.

KING: When you learned of it, were you angry?

L. RICHIE: At first. No, no, not angry. That's not the right word. Afraid -- terrified, because this is my baby. And you don't know how to save -- you want to save her. That's the first thing. That's the first problem. You want to jump and save her.

But it's -- you realize as you go to this treatment, that she has to want to save herself. And the treatment is about you saving yourself as a parent, because it's all about letting her do this. And so it took us a moment to kind of get that in the head of -- our heads of tough love. Tough love is very hard when you are in love with something like this. This is your child. And it took us a moment to kind of back away from it and let her fall, if you will. Let her fall.

KING: Yes.

How about you?

Were you worried about what your parents thought?

How did you deal with that?

N. RICHIE: I never want to disappoint my parents, ever. They are people that I always look up to. Both of them aren't screamers and both of them were really great about telling me, listen, I've gone through this, too, or I've had friends that have gone through this. We all go through it. And that time has ended and it's just time to get yourself together.

And the less big of a deal they made about it, that's what made me say, OK, I'm ready.

KING: What was the toughest part about rehab?

N. RICHIE: Let me see. Well, it was -- it was a while ago. You know, to be honest, it was right before "The Simple Life" came out. And my privacy, really -- I mean, just the fact that I couldn't do it in private really was unfortunate for me.

But I stay positive and we didn't watch TV there or we had no, really, connection to the outside world, which I thought was really great. So I just focused on being positive there and focused on myself.

And my parents were there with me. They came for family week. And so I just focused on that and everything just kind of fell in place.

KING: Lionel, do you think tabloids and tabloid -- all of this hampers recovery?

L. RICHIE: Absolutely. It's -- it's actually just more -- the sad part about it is I felt so sorry for her, was, you know, they're selling papers. So all that they don't have as proof, they'll make up.

And so, you know, on top of all of -- I know how much she wanted to get this over with. They kept feeding it more. And this is how thin she's getting and this is -- she's on her last days and I mean -- and I kept thinking to myself, you know, this is not good. This is not what I would want for my kid to hear while she's going through this.

And what you want to hear is good for you, Nicole. You're in rehab and good luck. We're behind you. Instead, they're trying to feed more of the disaster side of it, because they're trying to sell more papers. It was -- it was a tough period.

KING: We'll be back with the duo here, the Richies. They call him the outrageous Lionel Richie. I don't call him that, but they call him that.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And the delightful Nicole Richie, right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

KING: We're back with Lionel Richie and daughter Nicole.

When all those troubles were going on, didn't it affect performance?

L. RICHIE: No, actually, that was kind of...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: You're on stage, you're not worried about it?

L. RICHIE: No. No. I -- of course I was. But thank God for the stage. What the stage, for me, was an outlet. It gave me a chance to kind of get away from it for a moment. It made interviews rough because, of course, you know, every interview I did on anything I ever did was, tell me about Nicole, tell me about Nicole.

But stage was that place -- that sanctuary I could go to escape.

KING: We have a Tweet on our Twitter system. For Lionel via KingsThings, which is our Twitter site, ask Lionel if he's ever been embarrassed by Nicole.

L. RICHIE: My father said to me one time back when I was, of course, a Commodore, and I came home with more hair on my head than he's ever seen before, and platform shoes -- I did a song called "Brick House." My grandmother never went to church for the next three and a half to four weeks.

I said, what's the problem? My father said, one day you'll get yours back. Well, god gave me Nicole. And the answer is, embarrassed? I would say so on many occasions.

But I kind of got the joke now. It starts out as embarrassment, and then it becomes the joke. Because if you've ever done anything to your father or mother, which we all have, you look at it with a sense of humor. Your kids are here to embarrass you. They are here to absolutely make a fool out of you, and they do a great job.

KING: You said you were not a good dad to Nicole growing up, that you didn't get it, wasn't there for her. You regret that? L. RICHIE: No. It's truthful in one case. When I said that, you have to look at something. When I was growing up, my father was a provider. He wasn't there to do peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and school. That's what -- my dad went to work every day. I saw him in the morning for breakfast and dinner in the evening. We didn't spend time together, except on the weekends, maybe.

According to the standards of the new world we live in, where do you spend hours with your father and mother? No, I didn't. I'm not that guy. I was trying to be Lionel Richie.

There is a part of that that's guilty because I wish I could have been there more for her, but I was trying to make it as the solo guy at that time. She caught me right at that wonderful period where the rocket took off again for the second time. There is one side of me that says, I'm sorry I wasn't there. but the other side is I'm glad I made it where we did, because we wouldn't be standing here today.

KING: What kind of dad was he?

N. RICHIE: I really hate when he says that. I hate when he says he wasn't a good dad, because my memory of my childhood was nothing but good memories. I remember him coming down to the kitchen in the morning, singing songs and us playing. Was he gone a lot? Yes. But he also toured a lot. For a minute, even when him and my mom divorced, it was kind of like he was on tour. So I was kind of OK with it.

He's not perfect. He's a human. We went through phases of not speaking. I could sit here and say I was a terrible daughter, too. But I'm not going to say that. My memories of my time with him was amazing. If we hadn't gone through what we went through, I don't think we would have the extremely honest relationship we do now.

KING: Are you closer now than ever?

L. RICHIE: This is the best therapy. I want to thank you. I want to pay you. I'll write the check over to you. Thank you. That was very nice.

KING: Are you comfortable now in everything? Do you ever get up and worry?

L. RICHIE: Always. My father years ago had a great line. He kept saying, I'll be glad when Lionel Jr gets ready to walk. His mother said, he's going to jump off your lap and onto your heart. That is where he'll be forever. There is not a day that I don't worry about where she is or what she is doing, because that is natural parenting.

But I must tell you, we are at a wonderful stage in life where it all came together. That's what I'm celebrating today. If you honestly want the truth about it, we've gone full circle. We went from wonderful family at the beginning, disaster in the middle, and we are coming out the other side. She calls me now. Instead of it being, oh, my god, dad, I've got a problem. It's hi, dad, I'm calling to check on you and see how you are doing. And that's it, dad. That's all I wanted to do was check on you. I'm on the other side going, what was that?

KING: How do you like her boyfriend?

L. RICHIE: Love him. Joe, I must tell you, it's funny. When she first introduced me to Joel, I saw this guy walk in the door with tattoos on his arm. I said, I'm OK. Then he said something very basic. He said, sir, I would like to let you know I have your daughter and I'm completely there with her. I love her very much. He did this east coast thing that was so wonderful.

N. RICHIE: He's from southern Maryland and my dad is from Alabama. They have that southern bond.

L. RICHIE: The only thing he didn't have on was the suit and tie. I kept thinking, Joel? He is a sweet heart. If you see these two together, it's almost disgusting.

KING: First, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back with Lionel Richie and Nicole Richie. Joel Madden and his twin Benji were guests on this show earlier this year. Take a look what Joel had to say about Nicole and Lionel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL MADDEN, NICOLE RICHIE'S BOYFRIEND: We met through some friends, you know. We hit it off right away. She is like an awesome girl. She is my best friend.

KING: You have one and one on the way?

J. MADDEN: We have a daughter Harlow, who is 15 months old and one on the way.

KING: You are not married?

J. MADDEN: Not married.

KING: Are you going to get married?

J. MADDEN: One day. We are really focused on our family and we feel like -- you know, we already feel kind of married, you know? We have a great -- our family system we have down, we feel like this is a real family. And marriage one day, it will come.

KING: You have a great father-in-law.

J. MADDEN: He's great.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Don't you want them to get married?

L. RICHIE: I want them to take their time.

KING: You do?

L. RICHIE: I really do. I'm from the school -- I know that's a big shocker. I know a lot of people who they met, it was spontaneous, oh, my god, we can't keep our hands off each other, and they broke up five minutes later. I like the idea of take your time. Get it right, because you have kids in common. I'm more interested whether they like each other and are best friends, because that means they'll be great parents forever. Then from there, if it happens to be something where they want to do the marriage and live forever together, that's another thing.

KING: Isn't that a little remarkable to you, Nicole, that he feels that way? Because most parents would say, you are going to get married.

N. RICHIE: A hundred percent. Joel's family, they are very Christian from Maryland. Joel grew up very Christian. Even his idea when he grew -- when he was little was I'm going to get married and I'm going to have kids and very programmed that that's the order that everything happens in.

Of course, when I was a little girl, you dream about getting married. That is definitely a dream of mine one day. Right now, we are really, really focused on our family. We are focused on our foundation. As far as feeling that need of commitment, we both really have that in each other. My dad calls him his son. We call each other's parents our in-laws. We all have fights.

KING: What do you make of his partner?

N. RICHIE: Of whose partner? Benji? Benji and I actually might be closer than Joel and I. Benji and I have very similar personals. Benji is much more free. He is always joking. He is a jokester. Joel is much more serious.

L. RICHIE: He is firmly rooted though. I must say, these guys are so down to Earth with absolute Christian values. When I'm saying this to you --

KING: If they have values, would they get married?

L. RICHIE: Eventually they are going that way. I can tell you now. It's just that right now that's not where they are. And I understand that. But instead of pushing the envelope and using that God awful word gotta or supposed to, just stop for a moment, give them a moment to breathe a little bit. A lot is happening in a very short period of time. Give them a moment to breathe. And I promise you everything will be fine.

KING: Would you say, Nicole, you are happy now?

N. RICHIE: I'm so happy. So happy and so blessed.

KING: We'll be back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(SINGING)

KING: We're back with Lionel Richie and Nicole Richie.

We do a segment each week at this time, it's called "Heroes." We'll meet a hero of ours in a minute. But, Lionel, do you have a hero?

L. RICHIE: I do. I have a couple of great heroes in my life. When I came to this town, you know, I knew no one. And of course, my father was my first hero, I must tell you. I truly admired him as a hard-working guy. And then when I came here, Sidney Poitier and Quincy Jones were--

KING: Not bad.

L. RICHIE: -- my heroes.

KING: Nicole?

N. RICHIE: My heroes are my parents.

KING: Both.

L. RICHIE: Yes, both.

KING: Our "Hero" is Susan Lakhan-Baptiste. She is the chairman of Nature Seekers, a group that protects natural resources, educates communities about conservation. And I asked her about how it works.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN LAKHAN-BAPTISTE, CHAIRMAN, NATURE SEEKERS: Nature Seekers is a community based organization that is responsible for the conservation and protection of the (INAUDIBLE) beach. It is using eco-tourism as a tool for conservation.

KING: Susan is in Trinidad. What made you want to protection these creatures?

LAKHAN-BAPTISTE: I felt that the (INAUDIBLE) was something in a country that was not being addressed. A lot of sea turtles were being killed. I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to be a part of something that will make history, that will make a difference in the lives of many people.

KING: You are extraordinary as you protect these turtles and ensure that they nest successfully. WE salute you, Susan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Susan, we wish you well. You're a hero and an example of how one person can impact so many.

More with Lionel and Nicole right after this, stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: In connection with the publication of my autobiography, "My Remarkable Journey," tonight's "remarkable question" comes from Patrick in Philadelphia, sent this via e-mail.

"Which part of this 'Remarkable Journey' has been the most challenging for you: growing up without your father; the struggle to and getting to the incredible top of your career; or coping with the numerous women in your life? I need to know."

Well, we'll tell you. Probably coping with the women. I -- I don't know if I was very good at it, get married often, or not good at it, to lose so much. But you also gain so much. I don't have any regrets. Got some great kids. I've gotten along with those that I've been with. Tried to lead a better life. But nature took its course.

Patrick is going to receive an autographed copy of my new book, "My Remarkable Journey," and will have a chance -- he'll have a chance to come to L.A. and meet me, see this show live.

If you've got a question for me, go to CNN.com/larryking, send it our way. You too could receive and autographed copy of my book and win that trip to Los Angeles. Book is also available in audio tape. Good luck. I'd love to meet you.

In -- almost in that regard, we have a tweet question, the question was tweeted to "King's Things" from Jeffrey G: "Where is Brenda and what is she doing now?"

N. RICHIE: Is that a question for me?

KING: I guess.

L. RICHIE: Yes.

N. RICHIE: She is being grandmother of the year.

L. RICHIE: She is the happiest person on the--

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Are you friendly?

L. RICHIE: Oh yes, oh yes. It took a moment, you know--

KING: I'll bet.

L. RICHIE: It took a moment. N. RICHIE: I think I was 20 when they started talking. And they actually didn't start talking until I went to rehab. Now they're best friends. And it's really great. She is the best grandmother in the world, in this -- I mean, look, it frustrates me, because I'll say, she needs a pair of shoes, and my mom will come back with 20 pairs of shoes.

L. RICHIE: We're trying to get her to slow it down.

N. RICHIE: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: She spoils.

N. RICHIE: Spoils is an understatement.

KING: She dotes.

N. RICHIE: Oh yes. Yes, yes. She loves her so much. But you know what, it's nice--

(CROSSTALK)

N. RICHIE: -- because I was an only child and my mom was so focused on me all of the time, and now it has kind of taken the attention away.

KING: You were adopted.

N. RICHIE: Yes.

KING: Bob Considine, the great Chicago -- late, great Chicago writer, wrote once: "I have four children, two were adopted, I forget which two."

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And you were -- shows it, how old was she?

L. RICHIE: Three-and-a-half--

N. RICHIE: Eight.

L. RICHIE: No, we didn't --

N. RICHIE: Well, I was three-and-a-half --

L. RICHIE: When we adopted it was eight, yes. When we first met her, she was three-and-a-half.

KING: Took five years?

L. RICHIE: Yes, yes. We were -- we went through legal guardianship for a minute. You know, we went that route. She stayed with us for two years before we even thought about legal guardianship. You know, we went through a slow motion --

KING: Was she aware?

L. RICHIE: Towards the end, I would think so, you know, it was around seven --

KING: So you went to your own adoption, right?

N. RICHIE: Yes, I did.

L. RICHIE: Oh yes.

KING: Because I went to my son Andy's adoption.

N. RICHIE: Yes.

KING: That's a big kick, isn't it, to sit there?

N. RICHIE: Yes, yes.

KING: And the judge tells you.

L. RICHIE: The judge, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: I know the scene, right? Did you feel funny when you found out you were adopted?

N. RICHIE: No, because I never found out. That was always part of the decision. I was old enough, I was eight years old.

L. RICHIE: She went through the process with us so she was up front all the time.

KING: Was there a doubt about doing it, Lionel?

L. RICHIE: It was a tremendous responsibility but I fell in love. Brenda fell in love. And once you fall in love, you don't know anything else. I mean, no. I'll answer the question.

KING: Did you learn a lot about her parentage?

L. RICHIE: Yes. We had --

KING: And that helps with medical things, right?

L. RICHIE: We had a steady -- we knew everybody, it was just a simple case of trying to get everybody on board. It was --

KING: You knew the parents?

L. RICHIE: We know the parents. It was very interesting, though. It was one of those situations where we got involved and with Nicole -- it was one of those things where I really had to study her background, what it was all about, because coming from a big family and not really knowing what the heck to do with all of this. It took a moment for me to get ourselves together.

KING: What a happy -- we're glad you're here together.

N. RICHIE: Oh, thanks.

KING: One segment left. Nicole has written an exclusive for our blog. It's at cnn.com/larryking. Read what she says about motherhood, fame and the issues she cares about the most. You'll find it only at CNN.com/larryking and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. Our remaining moments with a special treat. A third guest has joined us. Harlow is here. There she is.

L. RICHIE: Unbelievable.

KING: Look at that!

L. RICHIE: I can't even believe --

KING: Hello, Harlow.

N. RICHIE: Want to say hi?

KING: A little hi bit.

L. RICHIE: It's a little hi.

KING: By the way, partly launched -- you launched a foundation in December of 2007 with a surprise baby shower for a hundred moms in need at the Los Angeles free clinic. Each family was given a mom-to- be kit. Does that continuing that now?

N. RICHIE: Yes. We work with the shelter. I am over there all the time actually. So always finding out what they need and --

KING: What got you into that?

N. RICHIE: The Foundation itself?

KING: Yeah.

N. RICHIE: Joel and I had both been involved in different charities and we wanted to have something that our whole family could do together. It's a family foundation. My sister and brother go with me to things all the time and I think both of us coming from broken homes, we wanted to have something that our whole family could do together.

KING: You've launched -- you and Joel have a children's foundation, I said, and you have launched a jewelry line named after your daughter. You also plan to launch a line of apparel and accessories.

N. RICHIE: Yes.

KING: So it's going to be a -- going to be a Harlow what? We're going to see Harlow Jewelry?

N. RICHIE: Harlow Jewelry, which is out now. And then I am doing apparel, shoes, accessories. I'm doing everything and that's really what I've been putting most of my time into right now.

KING: And where do you sell it?

N. RICHIE: I sell it all over, all over the world.

KING: In stores or QVC --

N. RICHIE: In stores. Yes. In stores.

KING: You did her hair. Did you do here hair? I like that.

N. RICHIE: I did her hair. Yes.

KING: She seems like a very composed baby and apparently a show business baby, because a lot of babies would not like bright lights, cameras.

N. RICHIE: She loves it.

L. RICHIE: No, this is Nicole's baby. You have to understand something. This baby was born under the lights.

KING: Does she sleep well?

N. RICHIE: She does. I got very lucky in the sense that she sleeps 12 hours a night.

L. RICHIE: Is that true -- oh.

N. RICHIE: I'm very lucky.

KING: Now having some experience with this. Is she a daddy girl?

N. RICHIE: Yes.

L. RICHIE: Yes.

N. RICHIE: That is definitely one way to put it.

KING: The daughters will drive that way.

N. RICHIE: Oh yes, yes.

L. RICHIE: Melts when dad walks in the room. Joel is in big trouble.

N. RICHIE: Wants to call him all the time. Picks up the phone, wants to call him. KING: And you don't know what she's -- you don't know whether she's going to have a brother or a sister?

N. RICHIE: I don't yet. We didn't find out with her either.

KING: Will you find out?

N. RICHIE: No.

L. RICHIE: She doesn't want to know. Isn't it amazing?

N. RICHIE: Well, I like the surprise.

KING: I understand it but also it saves a lot of planning.

N. RICHIE: Right. But I mean, what's there really to plan. I'll get the clothes after --

KING: The kind of room you want.

L. RICHIE: It's not our generation. Larry, I'm telling you, Larry, I'm telling you.

KING: Do you want a boy?

L. RICHIE: Oh yeah. Joel and I are having pow-wows at night.

KING: You should hear them prep each other for in case I have a boy.

L. RICHIE: We're pumping up. We're pumping up.

KING: You drink a lot of milk, they say.

Are you touring again?

L. RICHIE: We're going to start the second half of the tour starting the first of the year -- or I should say September, September or October we're going out. In the meantime I'm going to go home and try to keep an eye on policing Harlow.

KING: When you stay home do you work in L.A. a lot.

L. RICHIE: A lot. We just stay -- we do private dates in and out and mainly right now I'm doing nothing but promo for this, because I want to be here when this is launched.

KING: This a wonderful CD. And we -- you performed for the Larry King Cardiac Foundation in Washington. You murdered.

L. RICHIE: And call me back again.

KING: You killed 'em.

L. RICHIE: Yeah, call me back again.

KING: Lionel Richie. "Just Go". Nicole Richie, look for the jewelry everywhere, the Harlow jewelry. And Harlow.

It's Harlow Richie, isn't it?

N. RICHIE: It's Harlow Winter Kate Richie Madden.

L. RICHIE: Like I said. Did you hear all that?

KING: Star already. A little actress there.

N. RICHIE: Want to say bye-bye?

KING: Thank you for being with us. Say bye-bye.

L. RICHIE: Say bye-bye.

N. RICHIE: Bye.

KING: Bye-bye.

Give me a big cheer. You're a hit.

And don't forget the book, "My Remarkable Journey". We're very proud of it and time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360," Anderson?

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