Nicole Richie is opening up about her "reckless" past in an essay for Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter

By Char Adams
October 25, 2016 12:41 PM
Jason Merritt/Getty

Nicole Richie‘s “wild child” past is no secret, but the star says she isn’t looking to apologize for her “beastly” days.

“I could fall into the role-playing that some people seem to want and say, ‘YES! I am so sorry. I was bad. I am good now! I promise.’ But I don’t believe in that story of redemption, a good-prevailing-over-evil story. It’s one I’m just not in,” Richie, 35, wrote recently in a candid essay for Lena Dunham‘s Lenny newsletter called “Untitled: and That’s the Point.”

“I am not going to apologize for being me so you can get your triumphant ending. I don’t believe the world operates in absolutes, in black and white and short and tall — I like living in the gray, in the medium.”

As Richie grew up in the spotlight (thanks to her famous father, musician Lionel Richie), she was under the scrutiny of the public as during sevearl run-ins with the law and some (brief) time behind bars.

And the Candidly Nicole star, who rang in her 35th year last month, wrote that her troubled past left her feeling uncomfortable when she left her home, describing her public life as a picture of “danger, darkness, and shame.”

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“I was so used to hearing others’ views of my life that I found myself believing them,” she continued.

“I sat and wondered, Why do I laugh at home, but feel shamed out in the world? With my family and close friends, I am owning my past, relishing in the absurdity, slightly flinching at my own naïveté, and giving myself props for the unabashed bravery that streaked through my youth. But not trying to hide from it, not trying to change it, just allowing it to help propel me forward.”

She added: “When I am out in the world naked and vulnerable, I acknowledge that I was young, had a lot of freedom, and made some ‘bad decisions’ … but how bad are they if it’s part of a journey to understanding who I am and what I stand for?”

Now, married to musician Joel Madden with two children, Richie wrote that she has gratitude for those tough times because “being ashamed of your life is not OK.”

“Mostly, the utter freedom I experience from having all of my past out in the open allows me to truly accept and embrace my former self, allowing her and every subsequent version of me to know that we are going to be OK, because we are not static,” she wrote.

In closing, Richie added: “I’ve been given many titles: Wild child. Reality star. White-washed black girl. Skinny. Rich. (I guess the last two aren’t so bad). Now, at 35, the only titles I am taking on are the ones I give myself.”