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The heartbreaking reason behind Lionel Richie's 'massive depression'

The singer was left devastated

Lionel Richie has led a celebrated life full of career and family highs, but the star admits things haven't always been easy and one moment, in particular, had a heartbreaking impact on his mental health.

The American Idol judge opened up about the death of his father, Lionel Richie Sr., who passed away in 1990 at the age of 75.

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Lionel spoke to ITV's Lorraine Kelly in 2018 and revealed the agony of losing his "hero" and how he dealt with it.

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"My father was ill and I went through a very - I won't say a depression, a massive depression - because, you know, my dad was my hero," he said. "I went through that whole period of my life."

The star was crushed and struggled to come to terms with his dad's death and it wasn't until the birth of his second child, four years later, that he began to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

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"It was something about the birth of my kid," Lionel revealed. "Miles came along and Nicole [daughter Nicole Richie] was already there, and I realized I had a group of people that were kind of looking up to me to be the head of the house."

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Lionel's children helped him get out of his depression 

Lionel had also been on hiatus from his music career since 1986 and he became aware he should start making hits again.

"They [his children] didn't know what the hell I did for a living so I thought at that particular point, let's go back and prove to the kids what I do.

MORE: American Idol judges' children: Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie

"And so that was the incentive. I realized, this is what I should be doing."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lionel Richie (@lionelrichie)

The American Idol judge took a hiatus from his career in the 80s

The singer - who is a father to Nicole, who he adopted with his first wife, Brenda Harvey, and to Miles and Sofia Richie from his second marriage to Diane Alexander - told ABC News that while it was difficult to say goodbye to his dad, he had a good life.

"He had a great, full life," he added. "Fortunately, he didn't die suddenly."

Lionel Sr. was a U.S. Army systems analyst, and his mother was a teacher who later became a school principal.

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