Lionel Richie is opening up about one of the hardest periods of his life — and how he worked through it.
In an interview with ITV’s Lorraine, the Grammy-winner revealed that he struggled after his father, Lionel Richie Sr., died in 1990.
“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,” Richie, now 68, said. “I went through that whole period of my life.”
The father of three said that welcoming his second child — son Miles — in 1994 marked a turning point. He explained to ITV, “It was something about the birth of my kid. Miles came along and [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.”
The same time period also marked a hiatus from music for Richie, following the 1986 release of his album Dancing on the Ceiling. His kids, too, helped jumpstart a return to recording, Richie told Lorraine: “They 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.”
In a 1996 interview with ABC News, Richie opened up about saying goodbye to his dad and taking time off to take care of him, revealing of his father, “He had a great, full life.”
“Fortunately, he didn’t die suddenly,” he recalled to ABC, before addressing fans’ long wait for an album during that period, “If someone said, ‘Spend time with your father or your new album,’ there’s just no contest.”
Now, Richie is a host on the American Idol reboot. Of the latest adventure in his career, Richie told Lorraine, “At the ripe old age of 200, someone calls on the phone and says would you like to be one of the co-hosts on American Idol? Now I’m just enjoying the position.”