Inside Nicole Richie and Joel Madden’s Successful Marriage
Thirteen years into their marriage, Joel Madden is still gaga over his wife, Nicole Richie. “I feel lucky,” the 44-year-old gushed in a recent interview. Calling his spouse “beautiful” and his “queen,” the Good Charlotte singer told talk-show host Tamron Hall that Nicole, 42, “is the greatest partner.” It’s taken more than luck to keep their relationship solid. “They communicate well and have been proactive about keeping their marriage healthy,” an insider exclusively tells Life & Style. “They have check-ins where they both bring up their grievances, no matter how small, so they can face them head-on.”
Both children of divorce, they made a conscious decision before becoming parents to daughter Harlow, 15, and 14-year-old son Sparrow that they wouldn’t put their kids through what they experienced.
“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,” Nicole has said. “But we’re recognizing that now, so let’s work at it and let’s go through this as a team.” Now that they’re parents of teenagers, it’s even more vital that they have each other’s backs. “They joke that it’s them against the teens,” the insider tells Life & Style. “It’s not far from the truth because they really make a big effort to stick together and back each other up.”
Family bliss didn’t seem likely for the pair, who met via friends in 2006. She was a wild child who rose to fame as a clueless rich kid with pal Paris Hilton on The Simple Life, with multiple arrests, a rehab stay and even jail time. In fact, her probation for missing an anti-drunk driving class wasn’t lifted until December 2010, the same month she and Joel married. (For his part, the rocker had caught flack for dating 16-year-old Hilary Duff when he was 25.) “Nicole looks back at her party-girl days and hardly recognizes herself,” says the insider. “It really feels like a lifetime ago.”
The Making the Cut alum has gone from raising hell to raising chickens at the family’s home in L.A. “Nicole and Joel are very focused on family life, and when they aren’t working, they prefer to stay home with their kids,” notes the insider. “Times have really changed.” A big night for them might be having her bestie Cameron Diaz and Joel’s twin brother, Benji Madden —
who wed in 2015 — over. “Dinner and board games is one of their favorite things to do,” says the insider. “Nicole can’t believe her luck in getting to have Cameron as a sister-in-law. She gets to see her all the time.”
And alone time is just as important. “They’re both extremely busy with work but they still manage to prioritize time together,” reveals the insider. That means planning date nights or scheduling little trips away for just the two of them. “We love to laugh and have fun,” the Great News star has said of her husband. Notes the insider: “Nicole and Joel are best friends, and even after all these years they still genuinely love spending time together and can make each other laugh like no one else can. They also really appreciate each other and accept each other, flaws and all.”