Lionel Richie Talks Michael Jackson & New Grandson Sparrow

Lionel Richie attends 'An Evening of Stars: A Tribute To Lionel Richie' hosted by UNCF at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on September 12, 2009 Lionel Richie attends 'An Evening of Stars: A Tribute To Lionel Richie' hosted by UNCF at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on September 12, 2009

At Michael Jackson’s public memorial in July, Lionel Richie gave an emotional tribute to his late friend, performing “Jesus Is Love.” And today, for the first time since Michael’s death, Lionel opened up to Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson about what was going through his mind during his touching tribute.

“I see the picture of me out there singing [and] I remember mother Katherine’s face only,” Lionel told Shaun.

“Are you affected by what you are hearing about what happened?” Shaun asked Lionel, referring to Jackson’s death, which was ruled a homicide by the Los Angeles County Coroner, the result of “acute Profopol intoxication.”

“You know, the interesting part about death is the time we should have been really paying attention was while he was living,” Lionel said. " It doesn’t really matter whether it was one pill, three pills, five pills, eight pills. It doesn’t matter. The fact is that the time to grab the reigns would have been when he was living.”

Lionel, a long time family friend of the Jacksons, said Katherine is doing fine raising Michael’s children.

“She’s doing very well. The good news out of all of this, is that my daughter Sophie and little Paris are now best friends,” Lionel told Shaun. “Michael and I have been trying to get them together forever. Ironically enough, they had a play date together on that Saturday before he died so that was our first time [getting the girls together]… They have been inseparable ever since.”

And Lionel, a dad of three, really has his hands full, as daughter Nicole Richie and Joel Madden became parents of his grandson, Sparrow James Midnight, a little over a week ago.

“Have you seen Sparrow yet?” Shaun asked.

“I have seen Sparrow, I have spoken to him many times… brought him his football helmet and his baseball mitt, but they told me it is not time yet,” Lionel laughed.

“Who does Sparrow look like?” Shaun asked.

“Actually, I’m going to tell you something, Sparrow looks just like [Nicole’s first child], Harlow did, we were just talking about this last night… They could be twins,” he said.

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