Nicole Richie has grown up under the sometimes-harsh light of Hollywood media scrutiny.
When she was just three-years-old, little Nicole Escovedo went to live with the pop star Lionel Richie and his wife, who were friends of her biological father. Six years later the couple adopted Nicole and she took her adoptive father's last name. "My parents were friends with Lionel," she said. "They trusted that they would be better able to provide for me."
Richie's wild streak began in her teens. After high school graduation, she left Los Angeles to attend college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, studying arts and media. She eventually dropped out after two years.
Back home, the socialite was busted in February 2003 for heroin possession and driving with a revoked license. She pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced to probation and rehab.
After leaving rehab in 2003, Richie linked up with childhood friend Paris Hilton to film The Simple Life, a reality series that followed the rich girls' comical exploits on a farm in Arkansas. The show ran for five seasons—despite a public rift between the two stars—and ended in 2007.
As the show progressed, Richie slowly began focusing on other priorities. "I will go to some parties and stuff, but I really just don't have time," she said. In 2005, she wrote a semi-autobiographical novel titled The Truth about Diamonds, and got engaged to boyfriend Adam Goldstein, aka DJ Am. However, the couple split only 10 months later.
In 2006, rumors began circulating that Richie was suffering from an eating disorder. However, the star vehemently denied all reports. In December 2006, she was pulled over after 911 calls claimed that she was driving her Mercedes Benz SUV on the wrong side of the highway. She was released on $15,000 bail and pled not guilty to her second misdemeanor DUI. She was sentenced to four days in jail and three years on probation.
After her release, she announced that she was four months pregnant by Good Charlotte front man, Joel Madden. The couple welcomed their daughter Harlow Winter Kate Madden in January 2008. In September 2009, the expanded their family with a son named Sparrow James Midnight Madden. In January, the couple announced their engagement after four years together, and tied the knot in December 2010.
In the midst of creating a family, Richie was also creating a successful brand. Over the years, she had become a style icon in Hollywood so it was only natural that she released a jewelry line called House of Harlow 1960 after the birth of her daughter in 2008. She soon added clothing into the mix, launching her Winter Kate fashion line in spring 2010. She even went back to reality television to mentor aspiring designers on Fashion Star in 2012.