Nicole Richie and Joel Madden have been married since 2010
Though the actress and the rock star are “polar opposites,” their lives changed forever when they met at a party in 2006. “When I met her, I think we were both on different trains,” Madden told 60 Minutes Australia in 2013. “We might have just for a second got off at the same station and met each other, and then we both got on a completely different train.”
Richie told 60 Minutes Australia that their shared goals ultimately trumped their differences. “I think that part of what gravitates Joel and I together is our appreciation for the same things,” she said. “He’s very romantic.”
From their two children to date nights with Madden’s ex, here’s everything to know about Nicole Richie and Joel Madden’s relationship.
2006: Nicole Richie meets Joel Madden at a party
According to Richie, the couple met in passing at a friend’s party when she was 25 and he was 27. “He was there hanging out with my girlfriend’s sister and we met very, very briefly,” she told 60 Minutes Australia. “He was very shy … just kind of kept to himself. I couldn’t get a read on him for the life of me.”
Of meeting his future wife, Madden told the same outlet, “That was definitely not in my plan.”
December 2006: Nicole Richie and Joel Madden begin dating
The couple was first spotted together in December 2006 at the Roosevelt Hotel bar in Hollywood. Richie later appeared on On Air with Ryan Seacrest and recalled that she told a little white lie at the start of her relationship with Madden — and it later got her into trouble.
“When I met him … he said, ‘Have you ever watched The Wire?’ And so I lied and said that I did, so he would hang out with me,” she said. “Little did I know he literally dropped me in like, season 3, he’s like, ‘Oh cool, season 3, episode 4.’ … I pretended to know everything and it was horrible, and then I hated the show.”
Aug. 2, 2007: Nicole Richie confirms she and Joel Madden are expecting a baby
In their interview with Sawyer, Richie confirmed that she was expecting her first child with the musician. “I’m almost four months,” she shared.
The fashion designer later told Winfrey about her and Madden’s parenting philosophy. She recalled: “From the second we found out we were going to be parents together, we looked at each other, and we said, 'Okay, both of our parents are divorced. We both have had ups and downs with our parents and we don't really have a strong example of what a healthy family life is. But, we're recognizing that now, and so let's work at it and let's go through this together as a team.’ ”
In November 2007, Madden told PEOPLE: “Having a baby is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me and to us. [We’re] really happy.”
Dec. 3, 2007: Nicole Richie and Joel Madden launch the Richie Madden Children’s Foundation
While awaiting the arrival of their own bundle of joy, Richie and Madden were inspired to start the Richie Madden Children’s Foundation, a now-defunct charity that provided direct assistance to families in need. “We grew up in Los Angeles, and we want our child to be a part of the community, and to know that there’s a responsibility to help the community,” Madden told reporters at the organization’s launch event.
The pair handed out more than $200,000 worth of gifts to 100 expecting and new mothers.
Jan. 11, 2008: Nicole Richie and Joel Madden welcome their first baby
Richie and Madden’s first child, Harlow Winter Kate Madden, was born on Jan. 11, 2008. The proud new parents shared photos of their daughter in a PEOPLE exclusive. “She gives life a whole new meaning and a whole new purpose,” Richie shared.
Feb. 22, 2009: Joel Madden announces Nicole Richie’s second pregnancy
In a now-deleted blog post, the Good Charlotte frontman shared the happy news that he and Richie were expecting another baby. “I am so happy to tell everyone that Harlow is going to be a big sister!” he wrote. “God has truly blessed my family. Hope [you’re] all feeling as good as I am right now.”
In June 2009, Madden spoke to PEOPLE about his wife’s second pregnancy, sharing that the couple would wait to find out the baby’s sex until its birth. “We waited on the first one and it was such an awesome experience that we can’t wait to see what the next one is,” he said. “It’s exciting to wait it out.”
According to the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” singer, the pair was less stressed about the arrival of their second child. “It’s a lot easier,” he said. “You’ve already been through it and it’s not as intense and dramatic. We’re a little more relaxed. It’s actually kind of nice.”
Sept. 9, 2009: Nicole Richie and Joel Madden welcome a baby boy
PEOPLE confirmed that the Madden family had grown by one with the birth of their second child, Sparrow James Midnight Madden, in “the middle of night” on Sept. 9, 2009. “He weighs 7 lbs. 14 oz. Nicole, Joel, Harlow and Sparrow are all doing well,” the pair shared on Richie’s website. “Thank you for all of your good wishes.”
Feb. 15, 2010: Joel Madden announces engagement to Nicole Richie
In February 2010, Madden confirmed rumors that he and Richie were engaged. “Yep. I’m engaged,” he tweeted. “Very happy. Yeah we’ve been engaged for a while, so you’re all kind of late on that. But thanks for the hoopla all the same.”
He later told 60 Minutes Australia about the proposal. "I hinted around at it, and she’s not one to beg anyone for anything. Every time I would hint, she was always so nonchalant,” he recalled. “I was waiting for her to go, 'Oh! When are you going to ask?' And that's not the kind of woman she is. She keeps you on your toes for sure."
When he finally popped the question on “a Tuesday,” he got a definitive answer. “I just woke up one morning and I said … ‘What am I doing? I'm a fool. Why haven't I asked her to marry me?' ” he shared. “And did it that night."
Richie helped to design her four-carat Neil Lane engagement ring. “Nicole wanted a beautiful, special ring and wanted to be intimately involved in the design,” Lane told PEOPLE. “Joel just wanted her to have her dream ring.”
June 17, 2010: Joel Madden shares an update on wedding planning with Nicole Richie
Madden gave PEOPLE an update about the couple’s wedding plans in June 2010, clarifying that he and Richie were “absolutely not” exchanging their vows that month — despite rumors claiming otherwise. “We haven’t even started planning,” he said.
Dec. 11, 2010: Nicole Richie and Joel Madden get married
Richie and Madden tied the knot on Dec. 11, 2010. In attendance were Gwen Stefani and then-husband Gavin Rossdale, the groom’s twin brother Benji Madden and Samantha Ronson, among others. Around 130 guests watched the couple exchange their vows at the L.A. estate of Richie’s father, Lionel Richie.
A source told PEOPLE that the bride, who was dressed in a Marchesa gown, wanted her big day to be an intimate one. “Nicole wanted a memorable, elegant affair for only their closest friends and family on their special day,” the source said.
A trained elephant — which Richie has said is good luck — was also on the premises to greet guests at the door.
April 2013: Joel Madden says meeting Nicole Richie was “a religious experience”
Speaking to 60 Minutes Australia in 2013, Madden said that meeting his wife for the first time was transcendent. “That’s like a religious experience,” he said. “That’s like, a life-changing, cathartic event. Meeting the person you know is gonna be your wife.”
He went on to further explain her importance to him, saying: “She’s my best friend. It’s the only person I’ve ever met that’s as influential on my life as my brother Benji.”
Dec. 28, 2015: Nicole Richie shuts down rumors of split from Joel Madden
In December 2015, Richie shut down rumors of a split with a since-deleted Instagram photo of herself sporting a “Mrs. Madden” sweatshirt. “I know Instagram speaks louder than words,” she captioned the snap, according to the Daily Mail.
Dec. 11, 2020: Nicole Richie and Joel Madden celebrate 10 years of marriage
The couple celebrated their 10-year anniversary in December 2020. “10 years married with children 😍❤️,” Madden captioned an Instagram post. “Thanks honey you make life sweet.”
Aug. 5, 2022: Nicole Richie posts an NSFW comment about Joel Madden’s Ink Master gig
In August 2022, Madden announced that he would be hosting the reboot of Ink Master. Richie shared the post and added a spicy comment of her own. “Proud and horny,” she wrote.
Madden laughed off the comment to Entertainment Tonight, saying, “That’s my wife!” Madden wasn’t the only member of their family involved in reality TV — Richie is a judge on Making the Cut. “Our family is a competition show,” Madden joked of his home life. “Our kids have to compete for our love.”
Asked if the couple would consider a reality TV show about their family, Madden said, “Probably not. My kids are not down. … They would be so embarrassed.”
February 2022: Nicole Richie and Joel Madden have a date night with Hilary Duff and Matthew Koma
In February 2022, the couple had a group date night with Madden’s ex-girlfriend Hilary Duff and her husband, Matthew Koma. Also present were Pete Wentz and girlfriend Meaghan Camper as well as music executive Josh Abraham and his wife Gina.
Duff later spoke about her relationship with her former beau. "By the way, I have a good relationship with their whole family. I think people were [blown away],” she told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live. “We're neighbors. And we actually hang out all the time.”
October 2022: Nicole Richie shares her key to a lasting marriage with Joel Madden
The House of Harlow founder opened up to ET Canada about her long marriage ahead of their 12-year anniversary. “I don’t have a secret. We just let each other be ourselves,” she said. “We have fun.”
When asked if it was smooth sailing between them, Richie was candid, saying, “Not all the time,” before joking, “We’re both smooth operators.”
April 22, 2023: Nicole Richie and Joel Madden take part in Sofia Richie’s wedding
The lovebirds made their “second trip down the aisle” on April 22, 2023, walking arm in arm as Richie’s little sister Sofia Richie married Elliot Grainge in the south of France. Both Richie and Madden were part of the bridal party, according to Vogue.
Nicole, who was Sofia’s maid of honor, wore a sweeping black Donna Karan gown with an asymmetrical neckline and a pointy shoulder embellishment. She later changed into a chartreuse sheer Alberta Ferretti gown with leaf embroidery.
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