A celebratory Instagram video showed the actress and fashion designer blowing out candles on her birthday cake in front of friends, but things took a startling turn when her hair suddenly caught on fire.
Friends immediately batted down her lit locks with their bare hands.
Richie posted the clip with a bit of humor to let her fans know she was okay.
"Well… so far 40 is 🔥," she joked.
Her celebrity friends,—including Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland, comedian Amy Schumer, singer Katy Perry, and Queer Eye expert Antoni Porowski—commented on the heart-stopping moment.
Richie's punk rocker husband, Joel Madden, commented, "That's hot"—a possible reference to the iconic catchphrase used by Richie's Simple Life co-star Paris Hilton.
And speaking of Paris Hilton, Richie's former co-star and childhood friend chimed in on the fiery hubbub.
And comedian Chelsea Handler gave Richie a warm welcome to an exciting new decade.
After the conclusion of The Simple Life in 2007, Richie continued her television career in Fashion Star (2012–2013) and Making the Cut (2020) as a guest judge, and starred as herself in the unscripted comedy show, Candidly Nicole (2014–2015).
She made her acting debut in 2017 with her first series regular role in the sitcom, Great News.
She is the founder of the lifestyle brand, House of Harlow.
Happy birthday, Nicole!
You were so lit, but we're glad you're okay.