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Is Nicole Richie's fear of germs causing marriage problems with her husband, Joel Madden? One tabloid article this week says so. Gossip Cop investigated the story and found it false.

The Good Charlotte singer is reportedly "fed up" with his wife's germaphobia, according to the latest National Enquirer. The notoriously unreliable tabloid writes that the Simple Life star has an "army of housekeepers who clean their house top to bottom everyday," citing an supposed "insider" as a source. "Joel can't even touch Nicole without her demanding he wash his hands with disinfectant first," the alleged source tells the tabloid, adding that "it's driving him nuts."

"Now she's insisting the family wear face masks in public places," the source continues. "He thinks she's out of her mind." The tabloid also makes sure to mention unspecified "ups and downs" the couple have supposedly experienced throughout their 10-year marriage. The likely-nonexistent tipster adds that the germaphobia is "another challenge their marriage didn't need."

Gossip Cop can confirm that this story is false. A source speaking to us confidentially denies the Enquirer's claim outright. The tabloid was likely inspired to invent this story after Richie and Madden were spotted with their kids at Disneyland last month taking some health precautions. The article even includes a paparazzi photo of Richie wearing Latex gloves at the theme park. There's another picture that was conveniently left out: Madden being the only one wearing a face mask. Richie was not wearing one, and their kids were also seen without masks or gloves on. If the fashion designer is really insisting her whole family cover up in public, she's not being very vigilant about it.

Furthermore, just because Richie and Madden are taking precautions in public doesn't make either of them germaphobes. Maybe the Enquirer isn't aware of it, but there's a bit of an epidemic going on with coronavirus, or COVID-19. That little tidbit isn't mentioned in the magazine at all. Within the United States, Los Angeles has been one of the earliest infection sites. With that in mind, the couple's decision to cover up while spending the day at a crowded LA-area theme park full of children and tourists is perfectly sensible, rather than overkill.

The assertion that Richie and Madden have had a rocky marriage is also totally unsubstantiated. To the contrary, they appear to have a very healthy relationship. "We love to laugh and have fun," Richie told Us Weekly in September 2019. "It's nice doing the journey of life together. Doing it with somebody else that has the same goals as you is a really fun way to live."

As a former reality star with plenty of ties to other celebrities, Richie is a frequent subject of absurd tabloid gossip. In 2018, NW theorized that Richie was "feuding" with her sister Sofia after the model didn't join her and their father Lionel at a photo shoot. Last month, Life & Style claimed Richie was desperate for a third child after her sister-in-law Cameron Diaz welcomed her first baby. Gossip Cop busted both of those stories as totally made-up.

Our Verdict

Gossip Cop has determined this story is totally false.


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