Just outside of Washington, D.C., in the suburb of Waldorf, Md., Roger Combs and Robin Madden welcome identical twin boys, Joel (left) and Benji. Robin, a devout Christian, and her four kids (including eldest son Josh and youngest child Sarah) are stricken by Roger's struggle with alcoholism and he loses a series of jobs.
On Christmas Eve, father Roger leaves. The family is evicted from their home and forced to live with nearby relatives. They eventually move into a small farmhouse, but mother Robin suffers from the autoimmune disease lupus, resulting in frequent hospital stays. Joel (left) and Benji are forced to work at a series of jobs to help the family stay afloat. "When my dad left, I was always the one that was kind of, like, crying about it, like, 'Why us, why us?'" Joel tells Rolling Stone in 2003. "Lucky for me, I had Benj. We've always been sidekicks."
After going to a Beastie Boys concert, Benji and Joel form the band Good Charlotte with bassist Paul Thomas (right). After graduation from La Plata High School, they round out their band with guitarist Billy Martin. "The day we started the band, the question was when we were going to make it, not if we were gonna make it," Joel tells Rolling Stone.
Good Charlotte's demo of the song, "Little Things," gets into the hands of a DJ in Philadelphia and becomes a local hit. The airplay leads to a showcase in New York, where the band signs with Epic Records. In September 2000, they release their self-titled debut album, which fails to make an impression.
Good Charlotte gets a star-making breakthrough with the release of their sophomore disc, The Young & The Hopeless. On the strength of such chart-topping singles as "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous" and "The Anthem," the album peaks at No. 7 on Billboard's 200 album chart, selling more than 5 million copies worldwide.
The band appears on the cover of Rolling Stone, with an accompanying article, headlined: "Good Charlotte love their mom, don't do drugs and are delighted to be on TRL. What the hell happened to punk rock?" Joel, who doesn't seem phased by the unpunk-like commentary, tells the magazine, "It's very cliché to go, 'You're not punk.' We don't care if we are, and we don't care if we aren't."
After being introduced by a mutual friend, Madden, 25, begins dating Lizzie McGuire star Hilary Duff (right), 16. "We were on the same level, even though he was so much older," Duff tells Teen People. The couple denies their relationship until three months before Duff turns 18. That October, Good Charlotte releases their third album, The Chronicles of Life and Death. It sells more than one million copies in the United States.
After nearly two and a half years together, Madden and Duff split. Shortly after, Madden, 27, is linked with Nicole Richie, 25, with whom he rings in the New Year in Las Vegas (left) and vacations in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. "All of the going out he did after we broke up sort of shocked me," Duff tells Seventeen in August 2007. "When we were together, he hated that stuff, so I felt like I just didn't really know him as well as I thought I did."
After Good Charlotte releases their fourth album (Good Morning Revival), reports surface that Richie is pregnant. In July, Madden is at his girlfriend's side when she is sentenced for a December 2006 DUI. Days later, Richie confirms the baby bump rumors to ABC News' Diane Sawyer (right). "Having a baby is the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me, and to us," Madden, who says he will eventually marry Richie, tells PEOPLE.
Madden and Richie host a surprise baby shower for 100 expectant and new moms at the Los Angeles Free Clinic. They had out more than $200,000 worth of gifts. On Jan. 11, the couple welcomes a daughter, Harlow Winter Kate Madden. "We are very blessed she's healthy and beautiful and so good already," Madden tells PEOPLE. In March, Harlow makes her big reveal – with mommy – on the cover of PEOPLE.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Splash News Online; Splash News Online; Splash News Online; Soren McCarty/WireImage; amazon.com; Courtesy Rolling Stone; Jesse Grant/WireImage; Flynet; ABC