Lionel Richie's tumultuous marriage: How cheating scandal led to Brenda Harvey’s 'drop-kick' moment and arrest

Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey divorced in 1993 after the singer started dating Diane Alexander, the same woman he had until that time allegedly cheated on his wife with

Lionel Richie's tumultuous marriage: How cheating scandal led to Brenda Harvey’s 'drop-kick' moment and arrest
Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey divorced in 1993 (nicolerichie/Instagram)
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Acclaimed musician Lionel Richie has an extensive discography and he is certainly amongst the finest singer-songwriters to walk on this planet. One of the most successful balladeers of the 1980s, he will soon be seen as a judge again on the talent hunt show ‘American Idol’ along with pop sensation Katy Perry and country legend Luke Bryan.

The latest installment is coming back soon for a fourth season on ABC. It will officially begin on Sunday, February 14, 2021, at 8 p.m. ET. The first few episodes will broadcast the tryout process for Season 19. Ryan Seacrest will also be returning as the host for the upcoming season. He has been hosting the reality show since its premiere on Fox back in 2002. Richie has always been in the spotlight for his work but like a lot of other artists, he also made headlines for a few wrong reasons and one of them is when the news of his cheating scandal rocked the nation in 1988.

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Lionel Richie attends Rolla's x Sofia Richie Launch Event at Harriet's Rooftop on February 20, 2020 in West Hollywood, California. (Getty Images)

All was good in the paradise

Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey-Richie were high school sweethearts who grew up just next door to the Tuskegee University campus. They also went on a tennis scholarship together. According to multiple reports, the duo joined a musical group, which later allowed Lionel to go on tours. They started dating around the same time. The couple got married on October 18, 1975. They also adopted three-year-old Nicole after a decade into their marriage. She was legally adopted at the age of nine.

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Lionel Richie’s cheating scandal

According to several reports, Lionel first met Diane Alexander during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics ceremony. Richie had performed his hit single  ‘All Night Long’ at the same venue. Alexander also appeared in the singer’s 1986 ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’ music video. According to the website Women Working, Richie's neighbors revealed that the much-celebrated singer had to sneak out to Alexander's apartment to meet her for years. 

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To everybody's shock, Lionel Richie and Brenda Harvey divorced in 1993 after Lionel publicly started dating Diane Alexander. Yes, the same woman he had until that time "allegedly cheated on his wife with."

Actress Nicole Richie and her mother Brenda Richie pose at the 2004 Fox Network TCA Summer Party at Fox Studios on July 16, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

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Brenda Harvey’s infamous “drop-kick”

Rumors of the much-discussed affair also reached out to Brenda Harvey’s ears and she soon decided to act upon it. According to the website Women Working, she surprised Richie when she landed at Alexander's apartment at 2 a.m. with an intention to clear her suspicion. It is reported that Brenda lost her cool after seeing them together and Richie soon faced her wrath right there.

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According to People magazine, Brenda “drop-kicked” Richie in the stomach area after which he fled the scene. Brenda apparently did not spare Alexander as well. Speaking about the situation, Lt. Robert Curtis said, "Our officers arrived in less than a minute, observed suspect Brenda Richie striking and kicking the victim on the floor of the apartment. A second victim, entertainer Lionel Richie, later phoned and stated to officers he had been kicked in the stomach area by Mrs. Richie (at the apartment).” 

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Promotional portrait of American r&b and pop singer Lionel Richie, earl;y 1980s. (Photo by Motown Records/Courtesy of Getty Images)

According to People magazine, Francies Devinney, a neighbor of Alexander’s asserted, “They were screaming and you could hear everything. Lionel was there, and it was obvious that his wife had just found him with Diane. His wife was really, really mad. Glass broke and furniture crashed around inside. It sounded like she was killing someone. It wasn’t very civilized.”

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Harvey was booked on suspicion of corporal injury to a spouse, resisting arrest, trespassing, vandalism, battery, and disturbing the peace but was later released on $5,000 bail. After the much-controversial scandal, Richie and Brenda got divorced in 1993. The 71-year-singer married Alexander in 1995, however, their marriage only lasted for eight years. 

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