Richard Zven Kruspe was born in Wittenberge, East Germany. He was originally given the name Zven Kruspe, but changed his name to Richard under the belief that everyone should be able to change their name. He has two older sisters and an older brother (Gordon Kruspe). His parents divorced when he was young. His mother remarried, but he did not get along with his stepfather. They moved to the village of Weisen when he was young. Because of the poor relationship with his step-father, Kruspe often ran away from home in his early teens and slept on park benches. He later got into wrestling as a way to channel his anger.
At the age of sixteen, Kruspe and some friends visited Czechoslovakia, where he bought a guitar. He had originally planned to sell it, because they were very expensive and thought he could make a nice profit. However, once he returned to East Germany, a girl at a campground he was staying at asked him to play. He told her that he couldn't play, but she kept insisting, and Kruspe got mad and started strumming the strings. "The harder I played," Richard said, "the more excited she got. Something clicked in my head and I realized girls like guys who play guitars." This got him interested in playing the guitar, and as a result, he began playing every day and night for the next two years.
In 1985, bored with the apathetic music scene in his hometown, he moved to East Berlin and lived on Lychener Straße and "made music all day". For two years, Richard lived in an apartment with a drum kit and a guitar, and he made music by himself because he did not know anybody there. "It was a lonely time" according to Kruspe, but he used it to explore music.
On 10 October 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, he was riding through the subway. When he came above ground, he found himself in the middle of a political demonstration. He was hit on the head and arrested just for being there, and thrown in jail for six days. Once out of jail, he decided to leave East Germany. Because of the Eastern Bloc, he entered West Germany through Hungary. When the Berlin Wall came down, he moved back east of Berlin, Germany.
Rammstein was formed back in 1994 when Kruspe, who lived with Riedel and Schneider at the time, was looking for a new band in which to create a new style of music. He had left his first band, 'Orgasm Death Gimmick' in search of new band mates.
Kruspe married South African actress Caron Bernstein on 29 October 1999. The ceremony was Jewish and Kruspe composed the music for it. He took on the name Richard Kruspe-Bernstein during their marriage. Sometime in 2001, he moved from Berlin to New York to live closer to Caron Bernstein. They separated in 2004. His name is now back to its original "Kruspe" as the divorce was finalized. In 2011, he left New York because "it is not the right environment for the next part of my life" and moved back to Berlin. It was also at this time that Richard announced he was becoming a father for the third time.
He has a daughter, Khira Li Lindemann (born 28 February 1991). Her last name is "Lindemann" because her mother was previously married to Rammstein lead singer Till Lindemann. Khira's mother kept the last name "Lindemann" when she divorced. Later, she and Rammstein guitarist Richard Kruspe had Khira. The two never married, leaving Khira with the last name of Lindemann.
His son Merlin Esra Besson was born on 10 December 1992.
Richard's second daughter, and third child, is Maxime Alaska Bossieux. She was born 28 September 2011. Her mother is Margaux Bossieux, bassist of the all-girl NY punk band Dirty Mary. Bossieux was involved in the recording of Emigrate's debut album.
He speaks fluent English and sings in English with Emigrate.