Back in the day, closer to the turn of the millennium, two very blonde and very L.A. socialites suddenly became household names.
As “reality” TV continued to become increasingly popular, the ideas for shows got more and more, well, creative, to try to attract viewers’ interest.
And then, someone came up with quite the plan: to feature besties Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in a little show called The Simple Life, in which the two would become the houseguests of a rural American family and partake in activities such as milking cows, fraternizing with the locals, and even working real regular-Joe jobs.
Flash forward about 15 years, and man, some things have changed.
With additional TV shows, books, and various projects under their belts, these women famous for being famous have still been in and out of the spotlight time and time again.
Nicole, daughter of famous American singer / songwriter Lionel Richie, is actually Nicole Richie-Madden these days. She married husband Joel Madden, the lead singer for the pop-punk band Good Charlotte, in 2010.
Daughter Harlow was born back in 2008 (and is of course now 10 years old), with son Sparrow (now 8 years old) coming along in 2009.
From those early days with her babies to more modern shots, check out 15 eye-opening pictures of Nicole Richie living that mom life.
15 Coffee In One Hand, Baby In The Other
Before anyone judges a mom for carrying what appears to be a hot beverage cup in one hand and a potentially quite squirmy and wiggly young child or baby in the other, consider this: The beverage in question may not even really be hot anymore.
In fact, it’s a classic mom dilemma, in my circles, in any case, that it can be pretty tough to ever (ever) get to actually drink your coffee while it is still hot.
So without jumping to any conclusions, let us now consider this shot of Nicole carrying her son Sparrow as she walks, apparently quite happily, through a parking lot.
Both mother and babe are all smiles.
Nicole sports a black biker jacket adorned with metal studs, as well as a sweater and long T underneath. Black stretch leggings on the bottom complete the L.A. look. Well, actually, it’s the pair of aviator shades that do it, I suppose.
As for the little one, his outfit is put together in layers and with accessories, as well.
He wears a long-sleeved striped T, a dark sweater vest, Nike sneakers, and of course that little-brimmed hat.
People.com says that Nicole’s little “style star,” Sparrow James Midnight, was 17 months old at the time, in 2011.
14 Holding Harlow
Does anyone else feel like they’ve heard about a lot of “Ha—” names such as Harlow and Harper popping up still over the last decade? Maybe it’s because of Nicole’s famous choice for her famous first child.
As a mom to two myself, I can identify completely with this seemingly quite normal moment featuring the mother and her first little one as a baby.
They seem to be dressed comfortably for warm weather, and Mom has remembered to protect her own face with a brimmed hat.
Sitting in the shade, baby Harlow stays comfy with a blanket over her little lap. Awwww.
PopSugar.com included back on June 23, 2008 (just about TEN years ago… what??), “We've seen plenty of Nicole and Joel these days but this weekend we got a rare treat to see the adorable baby Harlow. She looks so sweet in her pink little onesie sitting in her mom's lap. Nicole took her daughter with her to enjoy the hot Summer day at a friend's house in LA. Harlow looks like a mini me of Joel right now but she clearly has mom's colorful style. We only wish we got to see more of this little munchkin.”
13 Playing At The Park Pregnant
The mother sports a visible baby bump in this shot. She wears her long hair down and colored with blonde highlights, dark aviator shades, and black leggings (it is L.A., after all).
A loose plaid shirt completes the casual look.
She holds her toddler daughter Harlow, who was apparently getting in some good practice romping around outside on this day.
Zimbio.com says that the pregnant Nicole Richie was watching daughter Harlow take some of her early baby steps as the two spent time at a park in Los Angeles. (The sites dates the photo as being from May 12, back in 2009.)
I remember, myself, as I’m sure many other moms out there can identify with, those final months with just me and my first little one.
It’s such a special time, when such a big change is about to come for the entire family.
I also remember that it can be kind of challenging to hold a toddler while you are also quite far along in your pregnancy! You just don’t have that same curve in your side that allows you to so easily rest your little one on your hip, as I recall!
Before little brother came along, the celeb seems to have enjoyed some nice one-on-one time with her firstborn.
12 Hair Back And Huddled With Harlow
Wearing jeans in a light gray shade and her hair pulled back, with a black shoulder bag and bulky jacket, Nicole went out on the town with her daughter, who had a puffy parka along to protect against the cold.
The two were enjoying a day as mother and daughter, which they spent doing some shopping (what else?!) in none other than Hollywood, California, back on a February day, according to CelebBabyLaundry.com.
The one-time reality star who has since taken to designing clothes and more, as noted by the same site, accompanied her casual look, including the dressier jacket, with flat booties. (Aren’t flats the BEST when you are going to have to carry around your kid for much of the day? Um, yeah.)
The star reportedly held Harlow’s jacket around the child as she carried her.
At the time, Richie’s son, Sparrow (not pictured), was 4 years old.
How nice to have some time with just the mother and daughter together, I bet!
CelebBabyLaundry.com quoted Richie as saying (for Marie Claire Mexico’s then-recent issue),
“Motherhood makes you way more conscious of how you distribute your spare time. Kids are so precious that your priorities change completely.”
Here’s to that valuable time together!
11 The Darkness
Of juggling all that her life requires, “I think that’s a global struggle and we, all women, are constantly trying to find a solution. I’m like any other working mother trying to make things work and dealing with this situation one day at a time. I have an amazing family and they’ve all been very supportive, my parents live only ten minutes away and my husband and his twin brother help me when I need it,” CelebBabyLaundry.com reports that Richie said to Marie Claire Mexico.
The famous mom is seen here posing with her family sporting black costumes, with even her long hair worn in a matching shade.
They all sport serious expressions and yet seem to reveal subtle smirks as they pose for the shot.
And here’s to that all-important time spent together, even if you happen to be a famous musician and celebrity at the same time that you happen to be parents to young children.
And how, exactly, did their second LO get his fancy name?
Of the couple’s unique name for their second child, Mom.me ventures, “Nicole Richie and Joel Madden took a flight of fancy when they named their second child, a boy, Sparrow. Perhaps they were big fans of Johnny Depp and his portrayal of Capt. Jack Sparrow in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ series, but we think they are just fans of the cute little birds.”
10 Kisses For The Missus
Sometimes, you just wanna spend some quality time with your little babe, just as the celebrity mother is seen doing here some years back now, with her baby daughter.
The image recalls a time that life was changing for the celeb, as noted by the blog at BlackCelebrityKids.WordPress.com, which described the time around when Richie and Harlow Madden-Richie went out to lunch that day in late June.
Nicole Richie had recently said that “she owes her life to her Baby Harlow Madden,” according to that site. “The 26-year-old was a regular on the Los Angeles party scene before she became pregnant last year, and had several brushes with the law including a drunk driving conviction.”
She was interviewed by the British magazine New, and the blog above summarizes that “Richie is sure that if she hadn’t become a mother in January, she would have fallen prey to alcohol and drug addictions that often ravage young stars.”
She was reportedly quoted in the Brit mag as saying, “I never took life seriously before. I’m in a completely different place now. I owe my baby my life. I have a responsibility now. I have to really be someone I want my child to look up to. I’d really like to show how much I appreciate the fact that I’m still here, because I almost didn’t get the chance.”
9 And Then Life Changed
Let’s take it way back, to one of the earliest pics the world got to glimpse of Nicole as a mom with her little family.
PopSugar.com reported on when the family was featured on the cover of People magazine and inside for a spread.
“The whole photospread is unbelievably sweet and the interview from the new parents is just as heartwarming,” wrote Molly Goodson for PopSugar.com back on February 28, 2008.
The new parents shared some details about how they decided on their first baby’s unique name, and why it was meaningful for them both in special ways.
“We couldn't agree. I wanted a hippie name and he wanted a more Biblical name. … And no one has it. … I always liked the name Kate, but I knew I'd never name my kid that because it was just too plain.”
Husband Joel reportedly shared, “I really like Jean Harlow the actress, and she likes Shalom Harlow the model. Harlow's cool because it feels like a classic name. … Winter was so serene and quiet and that's how she is.”
The couple also shared that they didn’t have a nanny at the time, as well as sharing some of the details of new parenthood, such as how to read those various newborn cries.
8 Literally Doing It All
Anyone who has attempted this particular maneuver certainly knows that it isn’t easy. I have two little ones spaced out about two years apart myself, and when they both want to be held, well, they both want to be held.
It takes quite a skilled combination of crouching and lifting and balancing just to get to this position, and then imagine the strength actually required to carry two children at once for any amount of time.
And fashionable one, according to the people of the Internet…
At Pinterest.co.uk, one user featured this shot of the mom as a way to “discover ideas about Trendy Baby,” and it’s specifically noted that you, too, can buy a certain brand of baby shoes if you want to “get the look.”: “Nicole Richie loves Pediped for Harlow & Sparrow – Superstar Babies,” the comment notes.
Nicole lets that hippie style shine through here, with her hair worn long and colored dark, and featuring long and feathered bangs. A drapey and colorful peasant top with a bold pattern is paired with cut-off jean shorts below, and toddler daughter Harlow’s arm reaches under a long beaded necklace as it clings to her famous mom’s neck.
7 Her Own Disney Princess
They could be any ordinary young family carting the kids around with a weathered stroller in Disneyland, right?
On Wednesday, April 3, 2013, NRichieNews.com reported that Nicole Richie and the family had been spotted at none other than famous Southern California family vacation spot Disneyland.
They are said to have spent the afternoon there on March 29 of that year.
Maybe the kids were finally at that sweet spot (which I’m still waiting for, myself, with my own young family), where they were finally old enough that it wasn’t a total pain to haul them both all over the park for the day, they were old enough to actually enjoy some of the attractions, and yet not so grown up that they were no longer really interested…
The same site as above includes some notes on the star’s chosen outfit for the excursion, saying that she wore an Ozzy Osbourne T-shirt, which she paired with Erin Wasson shorts. On her feet were studded black converse, and she carried her stuff around in what the blogger described as an “amazing” backpack from Simone Camille.
While not every mom sports recognizable high-end pieces to their favorite family amusement park, one certainly could say that this is the stuff of regular, old family time.
6 A Walk Around The Block
Although she has a very recognizable and very famous face – and family – she still apparently does perfectly normal things like walk around with her dog and her daughter, as well.
The famous reality star was on an outing with daughter, Harlow, and the two were reportedly taking their four-legged friend to a doggie class over in West Hollywood, California, on August 13 of 2014, according to CelebBabyLaundry.com.
What’s the pooch’s name? Iro. And the same site as above says that Nicole Richie and hubs Joel Madden adopted the dog a few years prior to the time of this picture in 2012.
Harlow wore her hair up and a summery dress, with flip-flop sandals in a similar hue, while her mom kept the furrier family member on a short leash on the crowded sidewalk.
Richie sported blue-colored locks cut short and a chunky gold necklace.
Her ensemble for the outing also included dark pinstriped pants, closed-toed black shoes, a white sleeveless top, and a black vest.
Did you know that the famous mom of two (humans) also had a fur baby?
Personally, there are few things I appreciate more than a well-trained dog with a caring and responsible owner (as opposed to the opposite)!
Here’s to adopting pets to give them second chances and practicing responsible ownership!
5 That Daily Grind
With a young athlete and a little ballerina in tow, famous mom Nicole Richie went about her day much like many of the moms we probably know in our own lives.
And look at how grown up her two babies seem to have become in this pic, as they smile happily and hold hands (safety first!) in the parking lot.
Having recently been in the news for showing up decked out in a fashionable dress to friend Gwen Stefani’s baby shower, the star was then captured in her more ordinary, every-day role as a mom.
According to DailyMail.co.uk, as reported on February 9, 2014, “On Thursday, Nicole was significantly more dressed down and make-up free as she escorted her two children to their ballet and basketball classes in Los Angeles.”
The Brit celeb news site noted that the mom of two stayed warm against the rainy winter day in a soft blue cap, paired with a dark pea coat and rubber rain boots.
What was Harlow, then 6 years old sporting? Why a pink leotard, tights, and ballet flats suitable for training at the barre and practicing plies, of course!
As the family walked into the parking lot, Sparrow “looked ready for action,” as the same site as above phrased it, wearing basketball shorts by Nike and athletic shoes.
4 Quite The Crouch
Has anyone else noticed that toddlers go through some phases, particularly between being like 1 and 2 years old, where they want to come up, then go down, then come up again, like, a LOT of times throughout each and every day?
I’m currently in this very phase with my second little one, and boy, do I recall it well from the time that my first was a toddler and I was noticeably pregnant with my second…
Pregnant Richie appears focused on the task at hand as she bends down to either retrieve her little one, Harlow, or put her down again for another attempt at walking around in the park (as they were reportedly doing, according to Zimbio.com).
It was back in May of 2009, and what we love about this shot, in particular, is that it shows that very real and very physical side of motherhood.
Also, does anyone else out there feel like this could just as easily be a picture of them during an ordinary day? It’s fun to see that celebs are, after all, just people, too.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done the exact same thing wearing, like, the exact same outfit (if, perhaps, while wearing less crazy high-end brands).
3 Those Earth Mama Vibes
With a flowing linen wrap in earth tones and one heck of a boho bag, Richie carries daughter Harlow close as she appears to be talking to her little one.
Her blonde hair is worn long and partially pulled back, with long bangs framing her face.
The celeb’s little daughter sweetly clutches a doll as she looks straight toward the photographer’s lens.
For the little lady, the outfit of the day is black sandals and a knit cardigan in a shade of white.
You can find this image on Pinterest.co.uk under labels such as “Boho Girl,” “Style Icons,” “My Style,” “Hippie Mom,” and “Hippie Gypsy,” and a user has included the caption “I must have been a hippie in a previous life.”
It’s classic, or at least 1970s, anyway, California cool, and Richie rocks it just as well as any of her other various looks.
What do I love about this ensemble, as a mom? It’s practical.
I bet that bohemian bag can be worn cross-body so that it leaves two hands-free to carry, feed, and generally tend to children. I bet you can fit all sorts of snacks and toys in there for just in case, too, so you’re never caught unprepared.
The loose fit and light fabric of the wrap seems like they’d protect you from the sun without causing you to overheat as you do all that physical mom work.
2 Letting Dad Help Out
They’re fairly small, and yet it can be incredibly tiring, actually, to carry them around all day!
In a few pics of the young family when they were just starting out, papa took a turn at cradling the little one in his arms.
BlackCelebrityKids.WordPress.com reported in 2008 about the little family being photographed as they spent “some quality time” together.
Nicole Richie was accompanied by her then-fiancé and of course little Harlow Winter Richie-Madden, who was all of 4 months old at the time these pics were taken on April 24 of that year.
I’m a fan of the little smile on Joel Madden’s face as he carefully supports and clutches his little baby daughter outdoors on the sunny day.
Her pink top and pants are classic girly baby style, and her little white rumpled socks seem to be threatening to slip right off in that way that little baby socks just always seem to do. So cute.
I also love the gathered, flowing white top Richie wears that is so flattering to a postpartum body, and probably comfortable, too!
The two certainly look to be settling into their new roles as mom and dad, as they come from or go for an outing as a family.
Remember those early precious excursions when you were first a mom? Awww, I sure do.
1 A Family Expanding?
Back on August 20, 2015, OKMagazine.com claimed that a source had shared that Nicole and her famous musician husband were trying for a third child.
“It’s actually not as joyous as you might think because Nicole and Joel have been trying for another kid for months with little luck but having the kids start up about it has added to the pressure,” the source said. “Nicole’s desperately worried it’s not happening naturally and with Joel about to head to Australia for The Voice, time’s not on their side for it to happen soon.”
However, the “whole family are more than ready for another baby.” With their little ones looking much more like big kids than babies (and oh, my, how time flies!), the couple was seen exiting a Los Angeles, California, mall.
They appear quite serious in this snap – maybe it was just that time of day where everybody is sort of ready to go home for a little rest and quiet time.
Can any other moms of two out there identify with a similar situation?
I mean, just look at the way Harlow rests on her papa’s shoulder as he carries her.
Richie looks determined as she leads her son by the hand, wearing what appear to be loose-fitting chambray pants, a matching shirt tied around her waist, and a black spaghetti-strap tank.
References: CelebrityBabies.People.com, Zimbio.com, CelebBabyLaundry.com, Mom.me, BlackCelebrityKids.WordPress.com, PopSugar.com, Pinterest.co.uk, NRichieNews.com, CelebBabyLaundry.com, DailyMail.co.uk, Pinterest.co.uk, BlackCelebrityKids.WordPress.com, OKMagazine.com, Google.com