• Brenda Harvey-Richie is the ex-wife of Lionel Richie and adoptive mother of Nicole Richie
• Brenda is a music composer and owns a publishing company that owns the rights for Lionel Richie's songs
• She attended Tuskegee University and graduated with a BA in social work
• She is active on social media and has a net worth of over $15 million
• She is known for her classy style of clothing and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren

Brenda Harvey-Richie is best-known for being the now ex-wife of the legendary singer Lionel Richie, and the adoptive mother of Nicole Richie, a TV personality and fashion designer. Let’s find out more about her life, current net worth, age, etc.

Early life and family

Brenda Harvey was born on 2 September 1952, in Brewton, Alabama USA, so under the sign of Virgo, and holding American nationality. Her father was Marshall Harvey, a veteran of WWII, and her mother was Lucille Harvey, a teacher and guidance counselor, mastering Social Studies and English in the school Brenda studied in.

Brenda once shared on her Instagram post, that her mother was the black woman in Alabama who wrote proposals for Head Start and Upward Bound; Lucille was the first person of color to graduate with honors from Central College, located in Pella, Iowa. Brenda has a brother named Stephen C. Harvey. It’s worth noting that her relatives from her mother’s side were also teachers. Her aunt Evelyn Woods was teaching Biology and Chemistry at Southern Normal High School, and taught Brenda, her cousin Dr. William Harvey (who is now the President of Hampton University), and all other younger members in of her family.

Another aunt, Mary Louise Tucker, was also a teacher, who taught Brenda at the Jr College in Monroeville. Brenda has several godchildren: Isabella Davis Rickel, who is a model, Mariella, who is also a model, and Ryan Hanna King, who is a real estate developer and manager.

Educational background

Brenda took her studies seriously, as a great number of her family members worked as teachers. She matriculated from Southern Normal School located in Brewton, in 1970. She was a cheerleader while at high school, participating in various dancing contests for cheerleaders, and performing at all school sports events. Right after her matriculation she enrolled at Tuskegee University, from which she graduated in 1974 with a BA in social work.

Brenda Harvey-Richie

She also attended self-development courses at Jr College in Monroeville.


As to Brenda’s career, music has always been her passion: she’s a music composer, and has experienced high demand for her work, writing songs for various performers. For instance, she participated in writing her ex-husband’s son “Penny Lover” (released in 1984) and his later collaboration with the popular country singer, Blake Shelton, “You Are” (released in 2012). She is also the CEO and President of Brenda Richie Publishing, a company which own the rights for Lionel Richie’s songs “All Night Long”, “Hello”, “Say You, Say Me” and “Dancing On The Ceiling”.

Personal life, ex-husband Lionel Richie

Married life with Lionel Richie

During her school days Brenda dated her friend Ingrid Willis’ brother, Bruce. However, she soon changed her mind and switched to Lionel, who she met during her studies at Tuskegee University. Brenda and Lionel shared their passion for tennis, so a lot of their friends think it was there where they met for the first time. The couple married on 18 October 1975; they weren’t blessed with their own children, however, they got a chance to become parents, adopting Nicole Camille Escovedo (Richie) from their friends Peter Michael Escovedo and Karen Moss, who just couldn’t afford to bring up a child, as they had really hard times when she was born.


Nicole was three years old when she moved to the Richies, and was officially adopted when she turned nine. In 1986, Lionel began his relationship with Diane Alexander, a dancer from his troupe. In June 1988 Brenda was broken-hearted to witness their secret meeting, as he and Diane met in her Beverly Hills hotel apartments. Brenda entered the room introducing herself as a room-service worker from behind the door, and then attacked both Lionel and Diane. The police let her go after bail of $21,000 was paid. Brenda and Lionel officially divorced on 9 August 1993 – Brenda hasn’t married anyone since, and is still single.

Lionel Richie

Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. was born on 20 June 1949, in Tuskegee, Alabama USA, to parents Alberta R. Foster and Lionel Brockman Richie Sr. He started performing in 1968 when a student at his Alma Mater, Tuskegee University,  with his band “The Commodores”. His popularity grew after the collaboration of his band with the legendary “Jackson 5”. In the ‘70s he wrote a lot of songs for other performers – among his works are such hits as Kenny Rogers’ “Lady”, also producing his album “Share Your Love”. In 1981 he recorded a duet with Diana Ross, singing the theme song he wrote for the movie “Endless Love” starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt.

However, Lionel became popular world-wide after releasing such immortal hits as “Hello” and “Dancing On The Ceiling”, selling over 100 million copies around the world, by some counts breaking the record as the world’s best-selling artist of all times. After his divorce from Brenda Harvey, he married Diane Alexander on 25 December 1995; the couple gave birth to two children, son Miles Brockman Richie on 27 May 1994, and daughter Sofia Richie on 24 August 1998. However, the marriage didn’t last long, and they divorced in 2003. He is now dating a girl named Lisa Parigi.

Lionel is now the judge in the super popular TV talent show “American Idol”, along with Luke Ryan and Katy Perry.

Adopted daughter, Nicole Richie

As mentioned, Brenda and Lionel took two-year-old Nicole Camille Escovedo into their family – Nicole later admitted it hurt her a lot, and since her adoptive parents were very rich, she considered she had got the freedom a young girl shouldn’t have had at such a young age. However, Brenda and Lionel did all they could to make Nicole’s life a dream. She later became a fashion designer, TV personality, launching her own show along with her childhood friend, actress Paris Hilton and author of two novels “The Truth About Diamonds” (2006) and “Priceless” (2010). However, Nicole had really hard times battling drug addiction, finding herself in rehabilitation centers, and even in jail after failing a sobriety test.


Regardless, Brenda and Lionel were always there for her to support and help. Nicole is now married to Joel Madden, the front man of the band “Good Charlotte”.

Relationship with Lionel Richie’s other kids

A lot of Brenda’s followers and subscribers praise her relationship with Lionel Richie’s kids from his marriage with Diane Alexander. Even though Brenda was caught by the police attacking her then-husband and his then-girlfriend, she later understood the kids were not the ones to be blamed. So she is now in great relationships with Miles and Sofia, Diane’s children. She attends their birthday parties, and congratulates them on her Instagram account, even calling Sofia ‘her youngest’.

Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts

Brenda likes spending her spare times with her friends, going out and attending various charity events and dinners.

She also spends a lot of time with her grandchildren, Nicole Richie’s two children. Brenda likes cooking, and enjoys spending time in the kitchen.

Social media presence

Brenda is quite active on various social media platforms, Instagram and  Twitter, while she also has a Facebook page. As to other members of her celebrity family, her ex-husband has an Instagram account, and her daughter, Nicole, has a Twitter profile and an Instagram account . Sofia Richie, Lionel and Diane Alexander’s daughter whom Brenda calls ‘her youngest’, has an Instagram account too.

Brenda Harvey-Richie

Appearance, clothing style

Brenda has long dark brown naturally curly hair and brown eyes; her height, weight and vital statistics aren’t known at the moment. As to her clothing style, she enjoys wearing classy long dresses, blazers and high heels, as she often attends various dinners and events.

Net worth and salary

Brenda’s current net worth is estimated at well over $15 million, accumulated from her own business efforts, and the settlement from ex-husband Lionel, although the latter amount hasn’t been disclosed. It’s known that her ex-husband has over $200 million, and her daughter, Nicole Richie over $10 million. Brenda still benefits from her publishing company, which owns the rights for the most popular songs of Lionel Richie; nevertheless, her annual income is still undisclosed.

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As a Freelance Writer at Biography Pedia, I oversee the full writing process, from in-depth research to the development of compelling narratives, ensuring accuracy and excellence in our output. Our goal is to produce insightful profiles that deeply explore the lives of prominent figures in business, entertainment, and other fields. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, we spotlight the significant journeys and achievements of individuals who captivate and inspire our readers.

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