Nicole Richie celebrated her birthday in a style she could have certainly done without on Tuesday.

The reality TV star turned 40 and posted a video to social media of her blowing out the candles on a tasty looking cake.

She was handed the cake by Baby2Baby co-CEO Kelly Sawyer, who placed the sweet - together with a shot of Nicole as a child - in front of her as the group sang happy birthday

Unfortunately for the star, her smiles quickly turned to sheer terror after her hair was accidentally set alight as she leaned over to blow out the flames.

Cheers from Nicole's loved ones are heard on her Instagram clip, but they were suddenly replaced by screeches as the candles engulfed the ends of her curly hair.

Nicole had been trying to blow out her candles (


Nicole Richie/Instagram)
There was a moment of panic as her hair caught fire (


Nicole Richie/Instagram)

Wearing a black off-the-shoulder top, Nicole quickly jumps up and frantically begins trying to pat out the flames with her hand while pulling at the her clothing.

Despite the original shock, the a fright, it seems as thought the actress is now able to laugh about the moment.

She captioned her post: "Well… so far 40 is [fire emoji]."

Husband Joel Madden responded with the perfect comment as he took a line from Nicole's The Simple Life co-star Paris Hilton and wrote: "That's hot."

Singer Kelly Rowland also left a message, saying: "My heart just dropped!!!!"

And Zooey Deschanel, Pamela Salzman and Jesse Jo Stark all wrote the same "OMG" message.

There were sweet messages scattered across the social media platform though to mark the star's milestone birthday.

Hubby Joel penned a touching tribute, which said: "Happy Birthday Nicole. You've made love feel timeless I've forgotten how old we are."

And sister Sofia Richie also said she was "so lucky" to have Nicole as a big sister. The model wrote: "I love you beyond words."

Nicole, whose dad is singer Lionel Richie, grew up in the spotlight and used to have a wild child image but has hugely toned it down it would appear since having kids - 12-year-old son Sparrow and 13-year-old daughter Harlow.

The mum-of-two tied the knot in December 2010 to Joel in a French garden themed wedding on Lionel Richie’s estate.

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