Update: People has added a gallery which includes some images from the magazine, and 4 photoshoot outtakes.
Update February 28th: All quotations added. Again, we can’t post the inside photos for legal reasons, but the issue is available on newsstands now. Click the extended post for the interview.
Originally posted February 27th: Nicole Richie, 26, and daughter Harlow Winter Kate, 7 weeks on Friday, are featured on the latest issue of People, available nationwide on Friday. Inside the issue, Nicole and Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden, 28, talk about parenthood, address questions about her body, why they chose the name they did, who their daughter looks like, and more.
After Joel warms a bottle of breast milk and settles down with Harlow for her evening feeding — stopping to burp every two ounces! — the couple chats with People while Harlow sleeps on Joel’s chest.
Click below for the highlights!
J: [Parenthood] was not in the plans. But it’s the best thingthat’s ever happened to us. It was a gift from God. It was a bigsurprise but neither one of us even skipped a beat.
N: Yeah, it was never a bad thing. It’s weird — even though we hadonly been together a few months, we had lightly talked about having afamily. I think we always knew.
J: We just get each other. We’re both laid-back people. It’s never been a job to be in this relationship.
How Nicole told Joel she was pregnant:
N:I picked a really bad time! I couldn’t hold it in. He was flying fromJapan to Europe, so right before he gets on a 16-hour flight I waslike, "I have to tell you something."
On the pregnancy:
N: I didn’thave morning sickness, and I was waiting for it. I was tired a lot butthat was really the only thing. And according to [Joel], my hormoneswere really bad.
J: Nicole is really laid-back. You cantell her anything and she’s like, "Whatever." And that was the firsttime I’d seen her get worked up. I’d be like, "Whoa, this is not thegirl that I know." Like, if I was late — which is usually no big deal –it was like, "Where were you? You know that I’ve been waiting here, youcouldn’t even think to call?" It was cute.
N: Nothing really crazy. I would eat breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast.
J: She never liked chocolate, and now she likes chocolate.
N: Yeah, I’ve always been a cheese/salt person.
J: The whole pregnancy — the whole thing was easy. Well, I’m not saying the birth was easy for you.
N: It actually was! I just didn’t feel well [when I was going into labor].
J: She was like, "I think it’s going to be soon, so let’s go while it’s 2 a.m." So we snuck into the hospital [on Thursday night]…
N: And we just settled until I had the baby [on Friday afternoon]. It was really mellow. I don’t know [how long I was in labor], because I don’t know what time I actually went into labor, butI pushed for 10 minutes. Three pushes and she was out.
J: She cameout and she was crying. The doctor goes, ‘Well, it looks like you got alittle girl!’
N: I cried right away.
J:Right when she came out, you know that cry that’s like an internal crywhere you shake a little bit? [To Harlow] You made me cry!
N:She came out, and I just knew she looked like me, and I was holdingher, and it was something that was so much bigger than me. Now shelooks a little more like Joel, but when she was born, it looked likeJoel had nothing to do with it.
J: Thank God she looks like Nicole!
N: They put her right on my chest and I breastfed her. Ididn’t know anything about breastfeeding, so I fed her for 35 minuteson one side! And the doctor was like, "You should probably switchsides."
I feel like a superhero. I have such a newfound respect for my body.
N: Well, right after I had her, I remember saying to Joel, "I need food. Get me apples."
J: I ordered her a steak.
N:I don’t know what I was asking for but I felt like I was going to die.[Harlow stirs on Joel's chest] She woke up for the story. Shelikes this story!
J: [to Harlow]: This is the story of how you were born!
N: There’s just so much I can’t eatbecause she’s sensitive. I eat really bland[food] — chicken noodle soup, vegetables, fish. I had to cut out milk,no tomatoes, no lettuce. You think you have to cut everything out whenyou’re pregnant, but you really have to cut everything out when you’rebreastfeeding.
N: He’senjoying it! I don’t really like it. It doesn’t really fit with mywardrobe; it’s not who I am. I never had to think about wearing a bra,so it’s a whole new world. But you know, whatever.
J: I like you both ways.
On choosing their daughter’s name:
N: I wanted a hippie name and he wanted a more biblical name.
J: I really like Jean Harlow the actress, and she likes Shalom Harlow the model. Harlow’s cool because it feels like a classic name.
N: And no one has it.
J: Winter [is] so serene and quiet and that’s how she is.
N: I always liked the name Kate, but I knew I’d never name my kid that [as a first name] because it was just too plain.
On being parents to a newborn:
N: I was joking with Joel today — I think it’s impossible to be on time with a newborn.
J: It takes an hour just to get out of the house. Like, ‘Oops, now she has to eat. Now she has to [be] changed!’
N: Well, actually [Joel's identical twin] Benji [got the first smile].
J: Now it happens all the time. We live for her smiles. When she smiles …
N:We feel so good. I don’t know if it was this morning — my days areblended — but I was watching her in her crib and she happened to wakeup and I was like, "Good morning!" And she smiled and it was the cutestthing ever.
J: We don’t have a nanny. We have our moms. They’ve helped us a lot.
N: And we have to give credit to Be
nji. He lives six houses down. He babysits, like really babysits.
J:There was a day when I’d been at work all day and Nicole hadn’t leftthe house for 48 hours, and I was like, "Let’s go to a restaurant downthe street," and Benj was with the baby. Then someone said they readsomewhere we were out all the time. It’s crazy. You leave the house forone hour and everyone’s like, "She’s out! She’s leaving the baby!"
[Also,] Lionel‘s a great granddad. He’s the best. She loves him. You have to be around Lionel to see how he is. He’s just happy.
N:I just think without even consciously talking about it, the family hasgotten closer. [Harlow] is really the focus, and everyone has the samegoal: to love her and to make her happy.
When Joel and I got together,he was always like, "Let’s go to your dad’s, let’s go to your mom’s,"so we started going over there more. My dad always says Joel reallybrought the family together. [Joel blushes.]
N: Joel joked my whole pregnancy that he thought he would be the strict parent because I’m so laid-back and free-spirited.
J: She’s the strict one!
N: And since she was born, I’ve been so protective. Now Joel’s like, "I’m going to be the fun parent!"
J:Nicole can tell the difference between a whine and a cry. I’m like,"Oh, she’s making a noise, I gotta go in there." And Nicole’s like,"Let her self-soothe for a minute and see how she does."
N: I’m with her all the time. And she was a part of me for so long. I know when something’s wrong.
On her body:
N: Gaining weight was never really an issue. I loved the stages of pregnancy. I felt great physically. It wasn’t something I thought about. It was more like, ‘What am I going to wear?’ When I stopped fitting into my jeans, I wore leggings.
[When we went to the museum opening,] people asked me if I work out. I was like, ‘I don’t know what kind of time you think I have!’
J: [She just bounced back quickly,] two, three weeks. I’m like, damn! Nicole’s always been comfortable with her body. It’s always been an issue for everyone else.
N: Orbit infant system. The best! Just take out the seat and put it in the car.
J: Born Free bottles. We’re a Whole Foods family.
They also like Rockabye Baby! CDs, which transform rock songs into instrumental lullabies.
On Harlow meeting Paris Hilton:
N: Yeah. They went to the Ivy. Just kidding. I have to say,all of my friends, their demeanor completely changes when they’rearound the baby. When they come in the house they’re really mellow andcareful and sweet with her. And when you’re with a baby, you don’tthink, like, "Oh, I’m this person." She spits up on you and throws upon you or goes to the bathroom or passes gas.
On their future:
N: We wear matching bands, but we’re not married. We’re committed to Harlow and we’re committed to our family.
N: It’s crazy. It’s almost like I don’t even remember what life was like beforeher. She gives life a whole new meaning and a whole new purpose. I feel like she’s an extension of me.
I didn’t just wake up one morning and say, ‘Okay, today I’m going tochange.’ It was more of a gradual, day-by-day thing.
Now that I look back on it, I was a different person last yearthan I am now. And, listen, sometimes I’ll be here and I’ll think tomyself, ‘I used to be fun! What if I’m not fun anymore?’ I have all those feelings. But you know what? I am who I am. I’m still fun,just not in that way.
J: People have this perception that Nicole was, like, in an opium den.
N: And I wasn’t.
J:She made some mistakes. But look at where we’re from: I’m in a rock androll band. Nicole is who she is. It’s not like we had to give so muchup because of the baby. It’s just time to be parents.We have a very different life from two years ago, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
N: Everything I do, I think about how it will benefit her or hurt her.She’s never out of my mind. I stop doing things for me anymore.Everything is for her.
Photos by Andrew MacPherson.