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The Ex Files, Week of March 1, 2004

There's a reason they're called the "richies"

Lionel Richie's estranged wife seeks $300,000 a month in support.

by Jeffrey Cottrill

The wife of pop singer Lionel Richie, who's best known for '80s hits like "All Night Long," "Hello," "Dancing on the Ceiling," and "Say You, Say Me," is seeking child and spousal support of no less than $300,000 per month. Diane Alexander Richie, the star's estranged spouse, claimed that the couple regularly spent more than this amount monthly in a written declaration, dated February 26, that was recently published in the Smoking Gun website.

"[Lionel] and I had an extraordinary, extravagant lifestyle," Mrs. Richie, a former waitress, dancer, and clothing designer, wrote in the income declaration. She says that they "regularly spent in excess of $300,000 a month. We could comfortably afford to spend unlimited sums of money on everything and anything we chose. I had no limit on what I could spend."

Mrs. Richie filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court in January citing irreconcilable differences. She estimated in the court papers that she needs $125,000 a year for tuition for the boarding school in Colorado for their nine-year-old son, Miles, as well as $15,000-$20,000 a month to visit him there. The annual tuition for their five-year-old daughter, Sofia, is $15,000. In addition, she says that the Richies spent a minimum of $1,000 per month on gifts when Sofia attended friends' birthday parties, while $2,000-3,000 a month went to charities and the children's schools.

Her court declaration also lists a yearly expense of $20,000 for plastic surgery, as well as monthly expenses of $15,000 for clothing, shoes, and accessories, $3,000 for dermatology, and $1,000 for laser hair removal. On a monthly basis, Mrs. Richie spends $600 each on hair, Pilates, massages, and therapy, $500 on her trainer, $450 on facials, $250 on nails, and $150 on electrolysis.

In spite of the current divorce proceeding, Lionel and Diane Richie are still sharing their $40 million, 30-room mansion in Beverly Hills. According to Mrs. Richie's papers, the house's upkeep includes a mortgage of $75,000 per month, salaries for a nine-member full-time staff, and others to "maintain our plants, detail our cars, care for our pool, groom our dog, maintain our aquarium, and a painter for regular touch-ups on the house."

Mrs. Richie claims that her husband "has never had a problem earning money," according to the declaration. "I know that he earns in excess of $300,000 per month, because we have always comfortably spent at least that in any given month."

Lionel Richie, 54, and Diane Alexander Richie, 37, met in 1984 while he was still married to his first wife, Brenda. Five years after the singer's divorce, they married in 1996 in New York. In addition to being the father of Miles and Sofia, Richie is the adoptive father of Nicole Richie, who co-starred with Paris Hilton in the Fox reality-TV hit The Simple Life.

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