Entertainment Music Lionel Richie Opens Up About Girlfriend Lisa Parigi: 'She Makes Everything Feel Safe' The American Idol judge and music legend opens up to PEOPLE in this week's issue about lessons learned in life and in love — and the woman who has his heart By Janine Rubenstein Janine Rubenstein Instagram Twitter Janine Rubenstein is Editor-at-Large at PEOPLE and host of PEOPLE Every Day podcast, a daily dose of breaking news, pop culture and heartwarming human interest stories. Formerly Senior Editor of music content, she's also covered crime, human interest and television news throughout her many years with the brand. Prior to PEOPLE she's written for Essence, The Cape Times newspaper and Los Angeles Magazine among others. On-screen Rubenstein can be found featured on shows like Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight and she routinely hosts PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly's star-studded Red Carpet Live specials. Follow the San Francisco native, Black Barbie collector and proud mom of two on Instagram and Twitter @janinerube People Editorial Guidelines Published on April 18, 2019 10:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Lionel in love! The American Idol judge and music legend is currently dating long-time girlfriend Lisa Parigi. The star, 69, opened up to PEOPLE in this week’s issue about the lessons he’s learned over his near 50-year career in entertainment — including his hard-learned lessons in love. “I’m a man who’s been through the ups and the downs, the ins and the outs of love,” says Richie. Venturelli/Getty He initially married high school sweetheart Debra Harvey, but the two — who together adopted daughter Nicole when she was just a toddler — went through a painful public split, divorcing in 1993. Forgive Me Father? Young Lionel Richie Wanted to Be a Priest — Then He Heard Girls Scream for Him Two years later Richie wed Diane Alexander with whom he welcomed kids Miles and Sofia, but the marriage ended in 2004. “Love is not an exact science, it’s something you have to go through,” says Richie. “People don’t walk in love, people fall, which means you’re out of control, there’s no logic. How you survive is your story.” Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage Steve Grayson/WireImage Still, the star admits, “I’m a hopeless romantic.” He found love again with model and entrepreneur Lisa Parigi. “She’s extremely beautiful, but most importantly she’s smart and helps me deal with my crazy world,” says Richie of Parigi, who is of Swiss, Chinese and Caribbean descent and speaks four languages fluently. Lionel Richie Jokes About Kids Nicole, Sofia and Miles: ‘Their Job Is to Scare Me to Death’ Says Richie, “At this time in my life when you can be so jaded about things, [my girlfriend] Lisa kind of makes everything feel a bit safe.” Parigi joined Richie for the honor of a lifetime, accompanying him to receive his 2017 Kennedy Center Honor alongside his kids. And there just may be another big event to come in their future. “There’s always big plans,” he says, playing coy when asked whether he may take another trip down the aisle. “Do I have an exact time on this? Oh, hell no. I don’t. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sure.” For more from Lionel Richie, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.