27 NOVEMBER 2007

As Nicole Richie prepares to give birth to her first child in January she has been receiving plenty of support from her girlfriends - especially best pal Paris Hilton. The hotel heiress has only just returned from a busy trip to China but she was soon making arrangements to see her former Simple Life co-star.

The stylish 26-year-olds, who both wore their signature oversized sunglasses, enjoyed a lunch date on Monday at Beverly Hills eatery Forte, where they were joined by Paris' younger sister Nicky. Their apparent closeness seemed to quash reports suggesting their friendship was under strain again. One of Nicole's other pals had claimed Paris might have leaked photos of the mum-to-be's baby shower, something which Paris' spokesman has vehemently denied.

The blonde actress and socialite recently co-hosted a Wizard Of Oz-themed baby shower for her friend at the Beverly Hills Hotel, along with Nicole's sister Sophia. "I am so happy for her, it is really great," Paris told reporters as she arrived at the bash. "I can't wait for them to have the baby." Nicole and boyfriend Joel Madden have yet to confirm the sex of the new addition to their family, but they received mostly blue gifts, indicating they are expecting a boy.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The friends were the picture of closeness as they were snapped side by side while out for lunch in Beverly Hills on MondayPhoto: © RexClick on photo to enlarge