Nicole Richie Tells Oprah Winfrey About the Easiest/Hardest Part of Being Married to Joel Madden

#CandidlyNicole star also talks about motherhood and The Simple Life

By Zach Johnson Jul 29, 2014 12:12 PMTags

Nicole Richie and Joel Madden have been happily married for three and a half years, but the #CandidlyNicole star is the first to admit that it takes works to sustain a relationship. Nicole sat down with Oprah Winfrey for the July 27 episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now? to discuss her family life.

Oprah asked Nicole about the best and worst part about being married to the Good Charlotte rocker. "We met and we were partners from day one. And from the second we found out we were going to parents together, we looked at each other and we said, 'Okay, both of our parents are divorced. We both have had ups and downs with our parents and we don't really have a strong example of what a healthy family life is. But, we're recognizing that now, so let's work at it and let's go through this together as a team.' It's been great," Nicole said. "And I would say that's the easiest and hardest part."

The California-based couple are parents to daughter Harlow, 6, and son Sparrow, 4.

When it comes to motherhood, Nicole said, "There's always room for improvement." Almost daily, she said, she'll talk with other moms to figure out "the best way to have a strong relationship with our kids."

What's Nicole like as a mother? "I have to always come from a place of love and compassion with them," the former wild child said. "My kids operate best when I let them have a voice. I really explain things to them, because really, kids want to be told the truth. They just do. They just want you to be truthful."

"They can feel it," Oprah agreed.

"They can feel it and they know you," Nicole said. "And they know you more than you know yourself."

Nicole was also asked about being one of the first people to become "famous for being famous" after she co-starred with Paris Hilton for five seasons of The Simple Life on Fox and E! from 2003 to 2007.

"The Simple Life was definitely one of the first five reality shows just to be out ever," she said, "so I had no understanding of [what to expect] because there were no examples of it. There was no precedent."

"To me, it was extremely fun. I was 21, 22. Somebody asked me if I wanted to go away with my best friend for 30 days and get paid for it. I went into it like that. I thought, 'This is like backpacking, except I'm going to do it this front of people." As the daughter of singer Lionel Richie, "Fame, on some level, has always been in my life," Nicole explained. "I do feel like I have an understanding of that."

Oprah: Where Are They Now? airs Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.