In addition to his work as a performer and songwriter, Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. is also a record producer and a television judge. He rose to stardom in the 1970s as a songwriter and the co-lead vocalist of funk band the Commodores; penning and performing the hit singles “Easy”, “Sail On”, “Three Times a Lady” and “Still”, with the group before his departure.
In 1980, he wrote and produced the US Billboard Hot 100 number one hit “Lady” for Kenny Rogers. When he and Diana Ross released “Endless Love” together in the following year, it became one of the biggest hits in both their careers and remains among the top 20 best-selling songs ever.
In 1982, he formally debuted his solo career with the album Lionel Richie, which sold over four million copies and spawned the singles “You Are”, “My Love”, and the number one single “Truly”.
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Lionel Richie’s Early Life
His parents, Lionel Brockman Richie Sr. and Alberta R. Foster were both teachers and raised in the Tuskegee, Alabama, area. On March 4, 2011, he appeared on NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, which found out that his maternal great-grandfather was the national leader of an early African-American fraternal organization. Notably, J. Louis Brown was:
A post-Civil War fraternal society for black males, he was the principal organizer and Supreme Grand Archon of the Knights of Wise Men. Formed in Nashville in 1879, it was a fraternal insurance and funeral benefit company, as were so many others throughout the period. A native of Tuskegee, Alabama, Richie attended the Joliet Township High School East Campus in Joliet, where he received his high school diploma.
Lionel Richie’s Personal Life
Brenda Harvey, his college love, proposed to Richie on their wedding day on October 18, 1975. On an unofficial basis, the couple adopted Nicole Camille Escovedo (now Nicole Richie) in 1983, when she was two years old and the niece of Lionel’s bandmate Sheila E. The Richies reared Nicole as their daughter and adopted her formally when she was nine years old.
In June 1988, Harvey was arrested and charged with corporal injury to a spouse, resisting arrest, trespassing, damage, violence, and disturbing the peace after she spotted Richie at Diane Alexander’s Beverly Hills apartment.
After nearly 18 years of marriage, Richie and Harvey divorced on August 9, 1993. Richie married Diane Alexander on December 21, 1995. They have a son, Miles Brockman, (born May 27, 1994), and a daughter, Sofia Richie (born August 24, 1998). (born August 24, 1998). The marriage was terminated in 2004.
Lionel Richie’s Net Worth
Lionel Richie is an American singer-songwriter who has a net worth of $200 million USD. The Commodores gave Lionel Richie his big break, and he went on to have a successful solo career. He also experienced a very successful solo career. Lionel Richie reportedly made $10 million as a judge for his debut season on “American Idol” in 2019.
My sold-out residency at the Encore Theatre at @WynnLasVegas has been extended through ’22! I’m returning for 14 nights between July 2 and Oct 22. See you there! 🤗 VIP Packages go on sale Tues at 10am PDT – General Tickets go on sale Fri at 10am PDT!
— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) April 4, 2022
Lionel Richie’s Career
In 1968, Richie joined the Commodores as a singer and saxophone player. In 1968, the band got a recording contract with Atlantic Records for one album and then moved to Motown Records. When they released “Easy” and “Three Times a Lady” and other R&B hits like “Brick House,” “Machine Gun,” and the title track from their debut album, The Commodores became an R&B powerhouse.
Richie began creating songs for other musicians as early as the late 1970s. He wrote Kenny Rogers’ 1980 number-one hit song “Lady” for him. Richie and Diana Ross sang the movie “Endless Love” title tune together in 1981. It was one of Motown’s biggest successes and was nominated for an Academy Award. A solo career launched as a result of Richie’s success is now a reality for him.
What Disease Does He Have?
After nearly losing his voice, Lionel Richie was on the verge of a “nervous collapse.” The 72-year-old musician has reflected on a terrible era in the 1990s when he endured four different surgeries to treat an unknown disease in his throat. Remembering that moment, he told PEOPLE magazine’s Black History Month issue: “About as close as you ever would’ve come to a nervous breakdown.
“I never expected it to come to an end.” After being diagnosed with diet-induced acid reflux, Lionel made a full recovery and hasn’t had a relapse. He can vividly recall meeting a fan during the tough time which encouraged him to keep going.
In the end, Richie — who was also in the throes of a tough divorce from his first wife Brenda Harvey and caring for his elderly father — was diagnosed with diet-induced acid reflux that was damaging the area. He went on to recover and hasn’t suffered since, but Richie still recalls a chance contact with a fan during that terrible time that helped carry him through.
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