Skip to main contentSkip to footer

How Lionel Richie emerged from his 'massive depression'

The American Idol star struggled for four years

lionel family tragedy
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
26 February 2023
Share this:

Lionel Richie is a favourite among American Idol viewers for his upbeat attitude, but the Dancing On The Ceiling singer hasn't always been so optimistic.

Following the death of his father, Lionel Richie Sr., in 1990, Lionel struggled with his mental health for four years. "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 told Lorraine Kelly during a candid interview in 2018. "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.

"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."

lionel richie playing the piano© Photo: Getty Images

Lionel Richie returned to his music career for his children

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

RELATED: Lionel Richie's mysterious health battle that almost cost him his voice

"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.

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

lionel richie on the red carpet© Photo: Getty Images

Lionel Richie has three children

The singer - who is a father to Nicole Richie, 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.

DISCOVER: Sofia Richie's $300k engagement ring is mighty like father Lionel Richie's

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

Lionel is currently starring in the 21st season of American Idol - get a sneak peek of the new season below...

WATCH: Get a first look at season 21 of American Idol

Subscribe to Hello Happiness, for your ultimate guide on how to be happier.

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.