Lionel Richie’s life could have turned out much differently had he stayed on his initial path. The 69-year-old star told People that before music, he had plans to be a man of the cloth.
“I left my mom and dad’s house to go to Tuskegee University, and I met my Commodore friends there,” Richie said. “At the time I was seriously considering being an Episcopal priest.”
Richie didn’t say if he began studying or how far into the idea he got. However, he says things soon changed.
“[But] the first time I played with the Commodores, a group of girls screamed,” he recalled. “Up until that moment no one, no girl, had ever screamed at me. I didn’t play basketball, football, baseball. I played on the tennis team, and no girl ever screamed at the tennis court. It was right after those girls screamed, I remembered saying to myself, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna be priest material.’”
From there, Richie’s career took off with the Commodores and then a solo career emerged in the ’80s with hits “Hello,” “All Night Long” and “Endless Love” with Diana Ross.
Elsewhere in his interview, Richie talks about his two trips down the aisle and his current love with girlfriend Lisa Parigi.
“I’m a man who’s been through the ups and the downs, the ins and the outs of love,” he said. “Love is not an exact science, it’s something you have to go through. 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.”
He adds that Parigi may be the key to his new outlook on love saying, “Lisa kind of makes everything feel a bit safe. She’s extremely beautiful, but most importantly she’s smart and helps me deal with my crazy world. There is light at the end of the tunnel, for sure.”
Richie was previously married to Brenda Harvey, with whom he shares daughter Nicole Richie, from 1975 to 1993. He was also married to Diane Alexander, with whom he shares kids Miles and Sofia Richie, from 1995 to 2004.