"Get me OUT of Hollywood!"

An exhausted Nicole Richie uttered that pathetic plea before she collapsed and checked into the hospital recently, sources say, and now she and boyfriend Joel Madden are making tentative plans to move their family to New York.

"Nicole has been stressed and worn out since she gave birth to her son Sparrow in September," an insider told The ENQUIRER.

It all came to a head when a week-long battle with the flu developed into a more serious bronchial infection, said the source.

The demands of caring for Sparrow and 22-month-old daughter Harlow, tending to her career and dealing with the whirlwind life of Good Charlotte rocker Joel has worn her down, according to the source.

"Joel was working in Australia when Nicole first fell ill, so she was shuttling the kids back and forth to her dad Lionel’s home," explained the insider.

"She was overwhelmed, and during a phone call, Nicole screamed at Joel, ‘I can’t take this anymore – get me out of Hollywood!’"

An ailing Nicole, 28, was too sick to attend the launch party for her House of Harlow jewelry line on Nov. 11.  On Nov. 15, she Tweeted: "Ok cold, it’s been 6 days. Lets part ways graciously & keep it moving."

The following day, she coughed and wheezed through a court appearance at which she was granted a restraining order against two photographers.

Soon after, with her cold escalating to pneumonia, Nicole checked into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

"Joel realizes that Nicole is buckling, and agrees that they need a major life change. Nicole wants to escape Hollywood and raise their kids in New York," divulged another source.

The couple believes they can tend to their business interests successfully there. They’ll also be closer to Joel’s family in Maryland and centrally located for work-related trips to L.A. and Europe, said the source.

They’ve already started house-hunting, and Nicole is telling friends she hopes to be moved in by next summer. "Nicole is on the rebound now, but her bout with pneumonia was a huge wake-up call," added the source.

"Nicole realizes that both she and her family need a change of pace, schedule and scenery. She feels ditching crazy Hollywood for New York is best for everyone."