In 2003, Richie and her then best friend Paris Hilton starred in the reality series The Simple Life, in which they lived for a month with a family in the rural community of Altus, Arkansas. The series debuted on Fox on December 2, 2003, to high ratings. The premiere episode drew thirteen million viewers, increasing Fox's Adults 18-49 rating to 79%. The series continued for a second and third season, and Richie achieved superstardom for her out-spoken, comedic persona. The show was subsequently canceled by Fox after a dispute between Hilton and Richie, but it was subsequently aired by E! Entertainment Television for the fourth season, which was a hit for E!, drawing nearly one million viewers and a relatively unsuccessful fifth season. More complications arose during the production of a fifth season. Both Richie and Hilton faced major charges for DUI, and were at risk of serving jail time. Hilton was sentenced to 23 days in jail, though this was after production of the season had finished. Richie accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced to four days in jail, again after production had wrapped. Despite talks of a sixth season, the series finished its run at the end of the moderately unsuccessful fifth season. In 2005, Richie made her acting debut in the comedic drama Kids in America. Richie has guest starred in television series including Eve, Six Feet Under and American Dreams, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, and playing the recurring character Heather Chandler on Chuck. In July 2008, plans were announced to turn Richie's 2005 novel, The Truth About Diamonds, into a television series. On January 1, 2010, it was announced that Richie would guest judge on Project Runway. In 2005, Richie wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, The Truth About Diamonds, which was released by Bharell Jackson Publishing. The novel is loosely based on her life, but is mostly fictional. It chronicles the life of Chloe Parker, the adopted daughter of a singer who makes her way through all of the hottest nightclubs and parties in Hollywood and battles a drug addiction. In early January 2006, The Truth About Diamonds peaked at number #32 in Hardcover Fiction on The New York Times Best-Seller List. Richie's second novel, titled Priceless, was released on September 28, 2010. It tells the story of a girl who loses everything and then learns about what really matters in life. She has been the face of Bongo Jeans and Jimmy Choo advertising campaigns. In April 2007, Richie announced plans to start a jewellery, accessories, and sunglasses line along with a perfume and style book. In October 2008, she debuted a jewelry line, House of Harlow 1960. The line became available at Kitson's online boutique. In Spring 2010, the line was extended to include apparel and shoes. In 2009, Richie joined maternity store A Pea in the Pod to create the new collection maternity clothes. The line was titled "Nicole". Richie created pieces that she would love to wear as an expectant mother. In February 2010, Richie expanded her fashion business with a women’s line called Winter Kate, her daughter's two middle names. The collection was inspired by timeless prints and shapes, beautiful paisley and florals. In 2010, she won "Entrepreneur of the Year" for her House of Harlow 1960 brand at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards. House of Harlow 1960 was also nominated in the category "Celebrity Fashion Line" at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards. Richie was a member of the rock band "Darling". She made her musical debut in February 2005 with a live appearance on ABC's The View playing the piano. Although widely speculated that Richie is working on an album, she told People that it's not true; however, she said "I do eventually [want to record an album], but right now I have a lot on my plate". In February 2010, Richie was featured on the charity single "We Are the World 25 for Haiti". "I was 4 years old in a studio watching my dad record "We Are The World" and today I get to do it again. Excited to help make a change," she later said of the experience. In 2004, she auditioned for the part of Maureen in the popular Broadway hit, Rent, but did not get the part. In 2008, she was offered the lead role in the hit musical Chicago as Roxie Hart.
Nicole Richie Style
In April 2005, reports surfaced that Richie and longtime friend Paris Hilton were no longer speaking. Hilton commented on the reports stating, "It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends. Nicole knows what she did, and that's all I'm ever going to say about it." Neither Richie nor Hilton ever spoke publicly about the cause of the split, though rumors suggested that the pair fell out due to Nicole showing one of Paris' home made sex tapes to a group of their friends. The two eventually reconciled in October 2006. Richie has had a string of high-profile relationships. She dated DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) from 2003 to 2005, and they broke up after a nine-month engagement. Richie was also briefly linked to childhood friend Brody Jenner of MTV's The Hills. Richie's highest profile relationship has been with Good Charlotte lead singer Joel Madden, whom she began dating in November 2006. They have two children: daughter Harlow Winter Kate Richie-Madden (born January 11, 2008) and son Sparrow James Midnight Madden (born September 9, 2009). The couple confirmed their engagement in February 2010, and married on December 11, 2010 at Lionel Richie's Los Angeles estate. The guests who attended the wedding rode on a trained elephant, which followed through Richie's June 2005 statement to People. In early 2006, Richie made headlines with a dramatically thinner appearance, after spending two seasons of The Simple Life slightly heavier than her usual weight. In May she told Vanity Fair, "I know I'm too thin right now, so I wouldn't want any young girl looking at me and saying, 'That's what I want to look like.'" She also said, "I started seeing a nutritionist and a doctor. I was scared that it could be something more serious." During this time it was reported that she had also sought the help of a psychiatrist and a personal trainer. Later that year, in September, Richie stated "I am not anorexic. I am not bulimic. I do not have an eating disorder." On October 27, 2006, it was announced that Richie was seeking treatment for "an inability to put on weight," though it is not treatment for an eating disorder. In March 2007, Richie was taken to the hospital for dehydration. On March 21, her representatives announced she was diagnosed with hypoglycemia.
In February 2003, Richie was arrested in Malibu, California and was charged with possession of heroin while driving with a suspended driver's license. On December 11, 2006, Richie was arrested by the California Highway Patrol after she failed a field sobriety test. She was charged with driving under the influence on State Route 134 in the Burbank/Glendale, California area. Several motorists had reported a black Mercedes-Benz G-Class entering the SR134 freeway on the exit ramp and traveling in the opposite traffic direction. She admitted to using marijuana and the narcotic Vicodin before the incident. July 27, 2007, Richie was sentenced to four days in jail, but served only about 82 minutes of the sentence as Richie checked herself into the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, California on August 23, 2007 at 15:15 PDT and was released at 16:37 PDT. A spokeswoman for the sheriff's department told People magazine that Richie "was released early due to overcrowding in the jail system. This is standard procedure for nonviolent offenders." After spending 82 minutes in jail, Richie was "Of course pleasantly surprised to be released so quickly," said her attorney. Richie signed up for an 18-month SB 38 anti-drinking driver education program, according to papers filed with the Superior Court of California. On June 22, her probation was extended one year to March 2011 because she missed her anti-drinking driving class. However, Richie's probation was terminated early on December 29, 2010 after her lawyer presented details to the judge that Richie had completed all terms of her probation. In November 2007, Richie and partner Joel Madden created "The Richie Madden Children's Foundation". Richie, Joel and Benji Madden along with UNICEF held a fundraiser for the Tap Project in March 2009. They sold 143 water pumps to bring water directly to the villages and raised $100,000. Esprit donated 10% of all the sales on April 2, 2009 at their newly opened 3rd Street Promenade store to The Richie-Madden Children’s Foundation. The Richie-Madden Foundation specially designed "Cup with a Cause" for 7-Eleven. It was a part of their charity-focused coffee campaign in February 2010. During 2010 the Foundation worked together with Beyond Shelter, a non-profit organization devoted to providing shelter for homeless families in Los Angeles. In May 2008, Richie and Madden shot a UNICEF public-service announcement to generate aid for the cyclone-devastated Myanmar. Richie and Madden have also written blogs on the UNICEF website and encouraged people to help children in need. Richie has been a board member of the Environmental Media Association for several years and took part in their awareness program in May 2009. Each member "adopted" a school to raise awareness for the program and help students with environmental education. She participated in a charity hand-me-downs auction that started on the website handmedowns.com. The proceeds went directly to The Richie Madden Children’s Foundation to help bring more opportunities to children in the US and abroad.