While Lionel Richie judges and mentors young contestants on American Idol, his personal life with his daughter Sofia is another matter. HollywoodLife.com caught up with the 70-year-old music legend at the American Idol premiere event at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Feb. 12. We asked him if he gets involved with 21-year-old daughter Sofia‘s personal life, especially when it comes to dating much older boyfriend Scott Disick, 36. “You notice, I don’t,” he observed about media attention surrounding the couple. “I don’t. You can’t step in there. It just doesn’t work. If you’re a parent, you understand that,” he explained.
While he’s staying out of Sofia’s dating life, Lionel is giving her advice when it comes to her budding acting career. “I told her, I said, ‘I wish you lots of failure young.’ Because again, we’re in a business where it’s how you recover. And yes, yes, yes, yes, yes does not build the character. And so you got to get smacked in the face,” he revealed.
“And I said, ‘You’re going to have a little bit more of a difficult time because you’re coming from a family that they expect a little bit more.’ I remember when her sister Nicole was about four-years-old. She went on a talent show, and she was about to go out and do her little act and they said, ‘And now we have Lionel Richie’s daughter,’ and she froze,” he confessed. “And I went up and said, ‘Do you want to be here? And she says, ‘Dad, I don’t want to be here.’ So I remember that as being, what a terrifying moment. But I think, what I do tell them is do your best, give them attitude, and kill it. And so she’s got the attitude. Now I must tell you that. All of my kids have a great attitude. That’s half the battle.”
Lionel began his career with some amazing mentors, and he’s hoping to pass along his vast experience in the music industry to AI contestants. “I had the best mentors ever because they were right down the hall. There’s Marvin Gaye, and there’s Stevie Wonder, and this Barry Gordy, and then you’ve got your guys outside. There’s Bob Marley down the hall. We all started the same time, and so it was an interesting class….Think about it, it was the best ever,” he gushed
“What we try to do now, the reason I’m on this show is somebody has got to pass the baton to the next ones because they think they have it down. But they don’t know the…it’s a little thing here. It’s not just how loud you can sing, it’s a whole survival package,” the “All Night Long” hit maker continued.
Lionel said what the Idol contestants go through is quite emotional, which brings tears to the eyes of the judges. “I don’t want to admit it, but bring your tissue. Okay. For these are what these kids are going through, and for them to have the ability to stand up and belt a song out. And you can see the leg shaking while they’re singing, and they’ve never been here before. Think about this. They never experienced a hotel room. Think about this. And now they’ve got people patting them down, and it’s a lot to take on,” he explained.