Nicole Richie has come a long way from her days parading around Hollywood and on The Simple Life with former BFF Paris Hilton — not to mention when she got a DUI in 2006. But the fashion designer, now 35, doesn’t regret her “wild” past. In fact, she embraces it.
“It is no secret that I have, at times, taken advantage of my time on this planet. And as much as I have to look at those moments and learn from them, as we all do, it’s important for me to have gratitude for that time, too. Not shame. Being ashamed of your life is not OK,” the former reality star wrote in a Lenny Letter published on Tuesday, October 25. “I realized I am actually extremely thankful I was so beastly in front of the world for a few reasons. It’s so bad in people’s minds that there’s nothing that can embarrass me now. I got a little surprise gift of freedom! I also truly believe if I didn’t have so many eyes on me, it would’ve been easier for me to slip back into my reckless behavior. I had people rooting me on and watching me at a time when I needed that.”
Richie, who is now married to Joel Madden and is the mother of two kids, previously admitted to having abused heroin, cocaine and alcohol while growing up in Bel Air as the daughter of famed musician Lionel Richie.
“I learned by being me in my teens and 20s [my experiences are] just more tools that allow me to live in a more peaceful, safe way,” the House of Harlow designer continued in her letter. “The simple yet difficult act of forgiving yourself is so powerful, because it’s all within you. We have to embrace ourselves and hold every part of our journey in some type of light. Instead of reliving my past as a point of shame, I’ve embedded the lessons into my skill set.”
The successful designer, who penned the letter in reflection of her recent 35th birthday, concluded that the biggest lesson she’s learned through her past is that you have to have confidence to just be yourself.
“So as a mom at a school, as an actor on a comedy series, as a designer at Fashion Week, I don’t have to worry that I won’t fit into expectations, but rather, my inner acceptance and peace will allow my true self to shine through and carry me along,” she shared. “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.”
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