Lionel Richie is the king of romantic ballads, but he says over the years, that’s led to some uncomfortable situations. It seems fans share way too much information about the, er, “intimate” things they’ve done with his music playing in the background.
Appearing on the New Zealand TV show Seven Sharp this week to promote a series of concerts, Richie revealed, “People will approach me on the street and tell me all of the stories that I really shouldn’t be hearing. It’s the weirdest thing in the world when they describe, y’know, ‘Lionel, we were on a date and you were there,’ and ‘Lionel…we got a little frisky, we were in the bedroom.'”
Richie said that he usually responds “[by] going, ‘Ladies, gentlemen, I don’t need to hear this!’ [And they say], ‘But no, Lionel, I just wanna let you know you were there, my man. You were there!'”
The American Idol judge also revealed that he began writing love songs because he’s “painfully shy,” and felt it was much easier for him to sing about his feelings.
He explained, “A lot of my stuff was really just…I could write it down in a note and give it you. That’s a lot easier than saying, ‘Yo, yo, baby, let me tell you…’ That’s not me.”
Finally, Richie talked about what he calls “one of the highlights of my life”: learning that late South African leader Nelson Mandela was a fan. Lionel was on hand when Mandela released from a South African jail after 27 years as a political prisoner.
“I remember he walked over to me and he said, ‘Young man, I want to thank you for your music and your lyrics because many of your words got me through many days in prison,'” recalled Richie. “And I remember I just lost it.”
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