Nicole: Wild to ... Mild?

It's a total-life makeover: From her hair to her diet to her friends, see Richie's most dramatic changes. By Serena Kappes

01 of 09

HER HAIR

HER HAIR
Fred Prouser/Reuters/landov; Brian Lowe/jpi

Then: Nicole Richie (in 2003) rocked ultra-long hair extensions, a look that InStyle called "a complicated mass of colors and textures."
Now: Her sideswept honey-colored bob has earned her comparisons to 1960s British movie star Julie Christie. "The shorter layers flatter her features," stylist Stephen Knoll told InStyle. "She looks polished but still sexy."

02 of 09

HER BODY

HER BODY
Carlos Mendez/PHOTOlink; FLYNET

Then: Richie (in 2004) was curvaceous – and flaunted her figure with micro-miniskirts and low-dipping tops.
Now: A skinny Richie works out three to four times a week with L.A. trainer Adam Irnster (she's a fan of the rowing machine). "I have more energy and I'm more confident," she says.

03 of 09

HER STYLE

HER STYLE
NINA PROMMER/GLOBE; TSUNI/GAMMA

Then: Richie (in 2003) was a walking fashion faux pas (note the sheer bodysuit). PEOPLE even described a 2004 "Mad Max dress" and UGG boots combination she wore as "Muggly."
Now: She's a fashionista – and the Michael Kors-clad star even received the Young Hollywood Style Icon award from Hollywood Life magazine on Oct. 2.

04 of 09

HER BFF

HER BFF
Jeff Vespa/WireImage; Frank Micelotta/Getty

Then: "She's like my sister," Richie once told PEOPLE about her Simple Life costar Paris Hilton (in 2004). But the childhood friends' relationship bottomed out when Richie reportedly screened Hilton's sex video at a party.
Now: Lindsay Lohan (at the MTV VMAs in August) is her go-to girl – and will be a bridesmaid at her wedding. The two even share the same stylist, Rachel Zoe.

05 of 09

HER LOVE LIFE

HER LOVE LIFE
Bauer-Griffin; alex berliner/Beimages

Then: Richie was an L.A. club crawler who partied with guy pals like Matthew Felker (in 2004), a model-actor who kissed Britney Spears in her "Toxic" video.
Now: She's been engaged to Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein, who calls Richie "my best friend," since February. The couple share a home in the Hollywood Hills with their dogs, Foxy Cleopatra and Honey Child, and their cat, Shalom.

06 of 09

HER DIET

HER DIET
RAMEY; Splash News

Then: Richie didn't say no to junk food, including hot dogs, after a late night of clubbing (in 2003).
Now: The star (in Beverly Hills in July) is strict about her diet: She avoids sweets ("I don't like sugar," Richie says) though she still indulges in her favorite foods – sushi and pizza – occasionally.

07 of 09

HER FREE TIME

HER FREE TIME
Michael Caulfield/WireImage; Paul Hiffmeyer/Disney/JPI

Then: The party girl (at Hollywood club Avalon in 2003) once lay down in the middle of Sunset Boulevard to protest not being able to get a sandwich at 2 a.m.
Now: Her antics are more wholesome. The day after her 24th birthday (on Sept. 21), Richie and Goldstein took a trip to Disneyland.

08 of 09

HER LIFESTYLE

HER LIFESTYLE
Splash News/Newscom; Eric Neitzel/WireImage

Then: In 2003, Richie was arrested in Malibu for driving with a revoked license and possession of a controlled substance. "They found one balloon of heroin," she says. She was sentenced to three years' probation.
Now: Since going to rehab that year, Richie (at a charity event in August) has been sober. "No drinking, no drugs," she says. "I am definitely happier now."

09 of 09

HER CAREER

HER CAREER
Jennifer Graylock/jpi; Thomas Concordia/WireImage

Then: As a celebrity model at the Joey and T fashion show in 2003, Richie flashed the audience. "I was excited and wanted to show everybody," she said of her newly pierced nipple.
Now: Richie (who's down from six piercings to one, in her ear) took to the runway again in New York City in September – without incident – plus, she's in a movie (Kids in America), has a book coming out in November (The Truth About Diamonds: A Novel) and is making an album. "She's got a great voice," says songwriter-producer Greg Kurstein.

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