Lionel’s little liabilities: As his son Milo is held at Heathrow for threatening to blow up a plane, ALISON BOSHOFF reveals how the perils of parenthood are still keeping Lionel Richie up all night long
On Saturday, Lionel Richie is due on stage in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Now 69 and said to be worth £150 million thanks to his golden voice and hits such as All Night Long, Hello and Say You, Say Me, he could be forgiven for entering his eighth decade enjoying a well-earned retirement. Instead, he has never worked harder.
In addition to 70 or so gigs a year, a stint as a judge on American Idol and a residency in Vegas (they sold mugs that read: ‘Hello, is it tea you’re looking for?’), he has several endorsement and advertising deals, as well as a range of bedding and homewares for a department store chain.
Miles (pictured with father Lionel Richie) was cautioned by police after telling airport security staff in London he had a bomb in his bag
Pictured: Daughter Sofia Richie, 20, attending the launch of the new website Prettylittlething.com
You can see why he is feted as one of the hardest-working performers in showbiz. But he is also known as one of the nicest.
Never sulky, never cool and never entirely in fashion, Lionel’s reward has been that he has never gone out of fashion, either.
By way of contrast, meet his three children: Nicole, 37, Miles, 24, and Sofia, 20. Raised in incredible privilege, unlike their uncool father, they are stars of the reality TV and Instagram era. If it’s in vogue they’re into it.
They are known for brattish behaviour, run-ins with the law, drug rehabilitation and questionable choices of romantic partner (Sofia has dated the troubled pop star Justin Bieber and her current boyfriend is reality TV star Scott Disick).
When he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame last March, Lionel gestured to his children and joked: ‘They’ve done so much to try to kill me.’
Certainly, the latest incident, involving Miles, a model, will have done nothing to lower a loving father’s blood pressure.
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Miles, known latterly as Milo, was cautioned by police after telling airport security staff he had a bomb in his bag that he would detonate on a plane.
The incident unfolded at Terminal Five of Heathrow Airport on Saturday morning after Miles, who had been in Paris for a fashion assignment and was believed to be en route back to the U.S., was prevented from boarding a flight (it is not clear why).
He apparently then saw red and claimed he would detonate a bomb on board if he wasn’t allowed on.
The threat suffers from a rather evident faulty logic, but Miles has previously talked about suffering from anger issues, so perhaps he wasn’t thinking clearly.
Witnesses claim he punched one of the members of staff before being detained by police.
Miles is not the only Richie child to have been in trouble with the law. Nicole has come through addiction to heroin and cocaine, and an arrest for driving the wrong way down a dual carriageway
Pictured: Bare-footed Nicole Richie looking extremely thin as she goes grocery shopping
He is not the only Richie child to have been in trouble with the law.
Nicole — who was adopted by Lionel and his first wife, Brenda — has come through addiction to heroin and cocaine, and an arrest for driving the wrong way down a dual carriageway while high on the painkiller Vicodin.
Lionel dotes on her so much, he even went into rehab with her in 2003 to give her extra support. She is now an actress and fashion designer and mother to two girls.
Younger daughter Sofia, also a model, is distinguishing herself by dating Disick, the luxury-loving, faithless ex-husband of the least interesting of the Kardashian sisters, Kourtney. He is 15 years her senior and has three children.
Gossip maintains that he is planning to propose marriage to Sofia on Valentine’s Day this year, encouraged by his former mother-in-law Kris Jenner, who feels the move would be good for TV ratings and the Kardashian brand.
Lionel has said of the relationship: ‘Right now it’s just a phase and I’m going to stand real still in the corner, get me a good drink and not make too much noise.’
Clearly, he is as horrified as any father would be.
It is not yet known what Lionel thinks of Miles’s weekend transgression. Miles has since been released, and his spokesman did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.
A police spokesman said: ‘On Saturday, January 19, a 24-year-old man accepted a caution for communicating false information causing a bomb hoax, and battery, following an incident at Heathrow Terminal Five earlier that morning.’
What is clear from his social media accounts is that Miles’s life has always been one of glorious luxury.
His mother Diane Alexander and Richie started their relationship when Richie was still legally married to Brenda, his college sweetheart. He married Diane in 1995, a year after Miles was born, but separated less than a decade later.
In documents filed during their 2004 divorce, Diane asked for £165,000 a month, noting that in their years together she never knew Lionel earn or spend less than £230,000 a month.
‘We could comfortably afford to spend unlimited sums on everything and anything we chose,’ she said.
The family home, which had 17 bathrooms, a recording studio and a panic room, was worth an estimated £31 million and staff included a house manager, head housekeeper and three subordinate housekeepers.
These days, Miles is pictured on social media on private jets, sometimes with his father and sometimes alone — not bad for a man who only made his modelling debut last year.
Lavishly tattooed, he has the words ‘true love’ on his knuckles and ‘amor vincit omnia’ — love conquers all — on the back of his neck. His entire back is covered with a giant image of Buddha.
Pals include the hard-boozing singer Ed Sheeran — the two of them were snapped sharing a drink last summer.
He is also friends with Michael Jackson’s model daughter, Paris — Jacko and Lionel Richie were friends — who went into rehab last week.
Four years ago he dated Kylie Jenner, the youngest of Kardashian matriarch Kris’s daughters. Her initials are among his many inkings.
He has attended social engagements such as the GQ Man Of The Year event in Los Angeles, and the Victoria’s Secret catwalk show.
Sadly, the luxurious upbringing Richie has give his children doesn’t seem to have resulted in happy, contented offspring.
In an interview last year, Miles said: ‘I was a very angry child. I was sent away to a boarding school in Colorado for four years when I was nine years old.
‘They taught me how to control and handle my emotions in a more ‘reasonable’ way. I still get myself into trouble sometimes because that’s just life.’
Last year, he also noted: ‘I’d like to not be viewed as a celebrity person or something. I’d like to be known as a model or an actor, not just ‘the son of’ or ‘the brother of’ . . . I’d like to develop my own identity in those scenarios.’
His sister Nicole, meanwhile, has said she had too much, too young and turned to drugs just for a thrill.
She was adopted as a young girl, initially in an informal arrangement. Her biological father is a percussionist, Peter Escovedo.
Of the moment he first saw little Nicole after a Prince concert, Lionel has said: ‘I went backstage and I knew the mother and I knew the father and they were having difficulties with their relationship.
‘I said, ‘While you are having the difficulty, the kid is sitting out here in limbo, so I’ll tell you what I’ll do. Just put the kid in my house until the tour is over with, then we will sort this out later.’
‘So it took about maybe a year for me to just fall in love, and of course by that time I was Dad.’
Nicole had birthday parties at her godfather Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch, took up piano and competitive figure-skating, and went to school with Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.
But Lionel’s divorce from her adoptive mother hit her hard. Nicole started doing prescription pills and cocaine in high school and partied her way through two years at the University of Arizona.
It was Lionel who persuaded her to go to rehab in 2003. He recalled: ‘I went to her and I said, ‘When I was growing up I lost three friends — they were the hippest friends I ever knew in life.
‘ ‘One was the hippest guy at the clubs, he drank and he died in a car accident. The second friend died of drugs and the third one, suicide.’
‘I said, ‘It’s going to happen to your generation. I don’t want you to be in that list of three.’
‘Three months later, her friend died of an overdose and I went back to her and very quietly I said, ‘I’m sorry to hear that. That’s one.’
‘And sure enough, one year later the second one died and I said, ‘That’s two’ — and I got a phone call and she said, ‘Dad, I need help. I don’t want to be the third one.’
‘I said, ‘I’m with you’, and I cancelled the tour. I said, ‘Me and your mother’ — who didn’t get along that well — ‘me and your mother are checking into rehab with you’.’
Nicole went on to become famous on The Simple Life, the reality TV series she made with heiress Paris Hilton.
She and Paris, both aged 22, were sent to live and work on a farm, with Nicole famously asking in the first episode: ‘What’s a soup kitchen?’
The two girls became famous for wild partying at the Hollywood hotel Chateau Marmont and various nightclubs.
Nicole picked up a conviction after driving under the influence of marijuana and Vicodin, and sought treatment for an eating disorder.
Falling pregnant with daughter Harlow in 2005 with husband Joel Madden made her realise her wild phase needed to end.
Now, says Lionel, she has made him a grandfather twice over and he couldn’t be prouder of her.
Yet a decade and a bit later, he is going through many similar challenges with Sofia.
Lionel has said: ‘Now I have the joke with Miles and Sofia where every time they try something, I say, ‘Your sister already did that.’ ‘
In 2017, he added: ‘Sofia is now phase two of Nicole. The adventures of Sofia are equally terrifying. She’s just driving me crazy. Some days you don’t want to know, but she’s in the fashion world.
‘When Nicole came along, her adventures were to Miami, New York, LA. Sofia, she knows friends all over the world and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Oh my God!’ ‘
Asked about Miles recently, Lionel seemed to hope that a niche in fashion might help his troubled son.
Miles’s plans for 2019 include making his acting debut and releasing his own ‘design collection’ with a brand. He wants the designs to feature a lot of silk, and trousers with ‘hand-lettered Japanese writing on’.
Lionel said: ‘He is now coming out of the craziness. Thank God, he made that turn.’
Given those troubling events at Heathrow, he must be hoping his son will soon find his way back on to the right path.
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