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Lionel Richie and Lisa Parigis 40-Year Age Gap Stunned Fans How 10 Years Later She Still Makes Me Feel Safe
Lionel Richie
Celebrities

Lionel Richie and Lisa Parigis 40-Year Age Gap Stunned Fans How 10 Years Later She Still Makes Me Feel Safe

The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes age really is just a number.

Soul icon Lionel Richie, 73, and his girlfriend of nine years, Lisa Parigi, 33,  have generated a whole lot of side-eye gossip in their time together thus far. Although their whopping 41-year age gap is hardly a rarity in the celebrity world, partners a mere 20 years younger are perhaps more normalized, and therefore less shocking.

Parigi may be younger than Richie's daughter Nicole, but that hasn't stopped the family from bonding. 


Judgement and criticism aside, the reality is that Richie is happily in love with the mixed Swiss, Chinese, and Caribbean model and designer since 2014 – and they appear just as smitten today as they did when they first crossed each other’s paths. 

How Lionel Richie Met Lisa Parigi 

Lionel Richie and Lisa Parigi in black tie clothing.
@lisaparigi/Instagram

Lionel and Lisa’s love story began when Lisa Parigi was invited to a dinner party while on a trip to Los Angeles from Switzerland. While she was attending this party, Parigi and the American Idol judge were introduced to one another by mutual friends. Suffice it to say, the sparks between them were immediate, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Although they lived on opposite ends of the world when they met, Richie and Parigi’s connection was 100% undeniable, and could simply not be ignored. Over the course of countless long conversations, they both found themselves magnetically drawn to one other’s unique perspectives, as well as shared passions. In short, they both knew they’d stumbled upon something rare and precious. 

“We had great conversations, we spoke all night long about everything,” Parigi said. “It’s been beautiful so far.”

Richie's Past Relationships 

Lionel Richie and his girlfriend hugging.
@lionelrichie/Instagram

Twice-divorced, Richie’s love life has seen a lot of ups and downs over the years. Although it hasn’t been the smoothest ride, however, it looks like it might just have been worth the journey.

In 1975, Richie married Brenda Harvey, his college sweetheart. They were together for close to 18 years, during which time they adopted then 9-year-old Nicole Richie in 1990. His relationship with Harvey, however, eventually came to a rocky end, and the pair went their separate ways.

In 1996, Richie married his second wife, Diane Alexander. They had a son, Miles, and a daughter, Sofia, before filing for a divorce in 2004. 

After going through the pain of two divorces, the singer opened up about his feelings on marriage, saying, “I don’t think I’ll get married again. I’m a little spooked on that.”

Why Lionel Richie and Lisa Parigi Just Work 

Despite criticism and speculation galore about their relationship, Richie and Parigi have managed to keep their romance mostly private - perhaps even more importantly, they refrain from addressing haters and naysayers. This speak volumes about the strength of their commitment and their desire to focus on their love rather than on what others think of them.

As Richie has shared, “At this time in my life, when you can be so jaded about things, Lisa kind of makes everything feel a bit safe.”

RELATED: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s 50-Year Marriage Was Based on Four Words – Two You Wouldn’t Suspect

“I’m a man who’s been through the ups and the downs, the ins and the outs of love,” he continued, before gushing about Lisa: “she’s extremely beautiful, but most importantly she’s smart and helps me deal with my crazy world.”

The fact that their relationship extends to loving bonds between Lisa and his children as well, is a sure sign that those closest to the couple understand and accept their union. The family can often be seen spending quality time together, and Parigi has even posted pictures on social media showcasing her close relationship with Richie’s daughter, Sofia.

When Richie was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022, he extended his gratitude to those closest to him:

”I’m on the stage tonight. But the most important thing is I want to thank all of my friends, my family, Miles, Sofie, Nicole. The grandkids. Lisa, my heart.”

Lionel Richie’s love for Lisa Parigi is palpable and difficult to deny, no matter how skeptical one may feel about their age gap.

Sometimes, Age Really Is Just A Number

Lionel Richie and Lisa Parigi vacation picture.
@lisaparigi/Instagram

Ultimately, Lionel and Lisa’s love story is a testament to the fact that sometimes, in cases of authentic, heartfelt connection, age truly is just a number. In other words, while age can be measured and quantified, and proven, love is a whole lot harder to pin down, define, or explain. The heart wants what it wants, after all. 

Although it’s undeniably true that significant age gaps cannot be dismissed or simply ignored - since they do create a discrepancy in lived experience and perspective -  where there's a will (or, two wills, to be precise), there's a way to move past it. Sometimes, divergences of experience can even be a strength, as both partners can teach one another, sharing different types of knowledge.

While it can be difficult to tune out the judgement, criticism, and speculation of others, a happy and satisfying romantic relationship is rewarding in and of itself, and can go a long way toward fortifying you against what others happen to think. Remember: they’re basing their views on stereotypes. If you have the confidence to do you, and to do your love justice,there’s not a whole lot that can go wrong.

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