"She's got the attitude," the singer said of Sofia Richie

By Gabrielle Chung and Christina Dugan
February 13, 2020 01:25 AM
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Lionel Richie isn’t afraid of doling out tough love when it comes to daughter Sofia Richie.

The singer, 70, said he doesn’t sugarcoat the harsh realities of show business to his children, revealing on Wednesday the tough career advice he gave to Sofia, 21, when she first expressed interest in following his footsteps.

“I told her, ‘I wish you lots of failure, young,'” he told reporters at an American Idol event.

“We’re in a business where it’s how you recover and ‘yes, yes, yes’ does not feel terrible, so you have to get smacked in the face,” he said. “I said, ‘You’re going to have a little bit more of a different time because you’re coming from a family where they expect a little bit more.'”

Lionel and Sofia Richie
Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Lionel — who is also dad to daughter Nicole Richie, 38, and son Miles Richie, 25 — went on to share an anecdote about a young Sofia learning of the pressure that comes with having a famous musician for a father.

“When Nicole was about 4 years old, she went on a talent show. She’s about to go on to do her little act and they said, ‘And now we have Lionel Richie’s daughter’ and she froze,” he recalled. “She said, ‘Dad I don’t want to be here.'”

He continued, “I remember that being, what a terrifying moment.”

The four-time Grammy winner said the ultimate advice he gives his children is “do your best, give them attitude and kill it.”

(left to right) Nicole Richie, Lionel Richie, Sofia Richie and Miles Richie

“She’s got the attitude,” he said of Sofia, adding that all of his kids “have great attitudes” when it comes to working in the entertainment industry. “She sings too. I’m so excited about her.”

“They’re all taking chances and I want them to do it now,” he added of his children. “Sofia’s doing fabulous right now.”

While Lionel isn’t afraid to provide his daughter with guidance when it comes to breaking into Hollywood, he revealed that he doesn’t advise Sofia on her personal life.

“I don’t,” he shared. “You can’t step in there. It just doesn’t work. If you’re a parent, you’ll understand.”

Earlier this month, Sofia announced she would be taking a break from Keeping Up with the Kardashians to focus on her acting career, telling Entertainment Tonight she is “gonna be doing acting stuff really soon.”

Lionel and Sofia Richie
Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

“I feel like, for a while, I kind of held back on things because I was afraid of failure, but 2020 is [the year of] no fear!” the model said of pivoting her career.

Sofia — who is currently dating Kourtney Kardashian‘s ex Scott Disick — shared that she feels a strong connection to her upcoming acting projects. “The roles I’m reading for right now are kind of similar to me, so they’re easy for me to play, and I really, really enjoy it,” she said.

Sofia went on to explain that growing up, she “kind of felt like I was stuck in everyone’s shadow.”

“I’m very different from both my sister and my dad, so I feel like I’ve kind of navigated into my lane and it’s been great for me,” she added. “Great things are happening and I’m really excited about it.”