Lionel Richie and Diane Alexander welcomed Sofia Richie in 1998
Sofia Richie Grainge puts family over everything.
The model and influencer is very close with both her singer dad, Lionel Richie, and her actress mom, Diane Alexander. She often sings their praises to the world, calling her mom her “best friend” and her dad her “role model.”
“I learned how to deal with people knowing who you are from my dad. He handles it with such grace,” Sofia told Town & Country in September 2023. “He’s another level of megastar, and my whole life I’ve watched him. I’ve never seen him say no to a picture. I’ve never seen him be rude to anyone who walks up to him on the street.”
Diane thinks Sofia has a very similar personality and takes pride in her daughter’s humility. In May 2017, she shared how Sofia “amazes her” with her empathy for others. “Taking care of everyone and making sure they're feeling good and included,” Diane added. “She gives so much more than she receives.”
Gushing over both of her parents, Sofia shared a black and white throwback photo with her mom, dad, and siblings on Instagram in November 2020, writing, “I thank god every day for these people, I am so thankful.”
From supporting each others’ career achievements to playing a special role on her wedding day, here’s everything to know about Sofia Richie’s relationship with her parents, Lionel Richie and Diane Alexander.
Sofia grew up living with Diane
Sofia was born on Aug. 24, 1998, and was just 6 years old when her parents divorced. Though she’s extremely close with both of them, she grew up mostly at her mom’s house, and they have an extremely close relationship.
“She was the baby that never cried,” Diane wrote on Instagram in 2020, sharing insight into Sofia’s early years for her 22nd birthday. “She would stay in her crib and wait for me to come in her room every morning. Even though she could climb out or call for me to come get her. I think she loved that special moment everyday when I opened the door and she saw the joy on MY face when I saw her.“
Sofia and Diane still share a very special bond. “I am the luckiest girl in the entire world to have you as my mom,” Sofia shared about her “best friend for life” on May 9, 2021. She’s also described her as “the best mom in the world.”
Sofia started following in Lionel’s footsteps as kid
While she hasn’t followed in her dad’s footsteps professionally, Sofia took an interest in his career early on. In 2018, she told Sydney Morning Herald's The Goss that she was “in singing lessons from a really young age.”
“I've played piano with my dad growing up, so I have that part of me," she said. "[My dad] is a really respected soul singer and I feel like that is a lot of responsibility."
Sofia admitted that she wanted “to be like her parents,” so she gave the music industry a try. “I admired my dad so much, and that drove me down a music path for a moment. But it didn’t feel right for me,” she told Town & Country in 2023.
Instead, she’s forged her own career in the world of modeling. "I can never get away from the fact that my dad is Lionel Richie," she added. "I think that's actually what drives me to work and do my own thing and want to make my own mark … Because I want to be seen as my own person — even though I have all these amazing people in my life that I love so much."
Sofia made her red carpet debut alongside her dad
While much of Sofia’s childhood was pretty private, she was no stranger to red carpets. She made her first appearance at the 25th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in 2008, alongside her dad and older sister, Nicole Richie. She was 10 years old at the time.
Just one year later, Sofia was her dad’s date to the Official Launch Of New Disney & Muppet Myzos at Fred Segal on August 22, 2009. In April 2012, she joined her mom, sister and brother in supporting her father at his Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert event, presented by ACM, in Las Vegas.
More than a decade later, the “Hello” singer loves supporting his daughter’s projects and premieres. In February 2020, he and girlfriend Lisa Parigi appeared at Sofia’s Rolla's x Sofia Richie Launch Event in Los Angeles.
Sofia’s parents pushed her to graduate
Though she was part of a famous family since birth, and was signed to a modeling agency at just 15 years old, Sofia’s parents still encouraged her to graduate — a goal she accomplished on May 22, 2017, according to her mom.
“So proud of my little nugget. She graduated today after a long year of juggling work (traveling) and school,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. “We stressed her beyond belief and she did it for us more than herself. Thank you baby for making me proud to be your mama!”
Lionel always has words of wisdom for Sofia
Even working in different industries, Sofia reveres her famous father and looks to him for guidance. "My dad's advice is to always have fun with everything I do," she told PEOPLE in 2016. "And when I get to give 1,000 percent and surrender to the moment."
But on the flip side, Lionel also told Sofia, “I wish you lots of failure, young," he shared with PEOPLE in 2020. "We're in a business where it's how you recover, and 'yes, yes, yes' does not feel terrible,” he explained. “So you have to get smacked in the face."
Lionel makes a point to stay out of Sofia’s personal business
"She's 19," Lionel said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2018. "When you're 19 you know everything. Is it going to be for life? I don't know. But for right now it's just a phase and I'm going to stand real still in the corner, get me a good drink and not make too much noise."
That said, his personal philosophy is not to try to influence his kids’ personal lives. "You can't step in there. It just doesn't work," he told PEOPLE.
Lionel and Diane were a fixture on Sofia’s wedding day
Sofia’s and Elliot Grainge and got engaged in 2022, and Lionel gushed over his future son-in-law to Access Hollywood. "I love Elliot," he said of Universal Music Group CEO Lucien Grainge’s son. "I've known him since he was 12 … It was one of those things where I don't have to go back and check out the kid. I know who it is."
Both parents were there to support their daughter on her wedding day on April 22, 2023. Lionel looked sharp in a classic tux, while Diane was regal in a gilded gown.
Lionel walked his daughter down the aisle, saying, “That’s my kid,” during the special moment. They shared a dance to “My Girl” at the reception, and he even sang his hit “Stuck On You (Guess I'm On My Way)” while the couple enjoyed their first dance.
Lionel shared a touching message to his daughter following the big day. “My little girl is all grown up and starting her own journey with the love of her life,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “You’ll always be my little bird, but I’m so proud of the woman you’ve become. Endless Love to you and Elliot.”
Sofia is her dad’s biggest fan
Sofia is always there to support her father and all of his achievements, like when she walked the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Patron of the Artists Awards red carpet with him in November 2017, where Lionel received the inaugural Recording Artists Inspiration Award.
Following the event, she posted a silly picture on Instagram, with the caption “Congrats on being honored tonight dad. You deserve it all.”
Sofia also stood by Lionel in 2018 when he received his hand and footprints at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
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