Nick and Vanessa Lachey (née Minnillo) have come a long way in the 14 years they’ve been in a relationship. The couple split up in 2009 for a hot minute, tied the knot in 2011, and now have three kids. Their professional lives have gone through changes, too. Vanessa left MTV’s music video countdown show, TRL — where she worked as a veejay — in 2007; Nick’s band, 98 Degrees, has not performed live since 2018.
Nowadays, the lovebirds have taken to hosting on TV together, like the Miss Teen USA Pageant and Netflix’s hit reality dating show Love Is Blind (well, if 13 minutes on-screen counts). And it sounds like they enjoy being co-workers. "When we’re working we’re not with the kids," Vanessa told Strahan, Sara, & Keke in 2020. "So it’s a different dynamic." Nick added, "It’s almost like grown-up time, it’s like a little vacation."
In addition to hosting with Nick, Vanessa has been starring in Lifetime Christmas movies 2018, such as the upcoming Once Upon a Main Street with Ryan McPartlin. She also loves to share family recipes with her Instagram followers via stories. And since 2019, Nick has hosted Nickelodeon competition show America’s Most Musical Family. The Lacheys are downright wholesome these days. But every relationship has some weird in it deep down. We’ve reached pretty far back in history to uncover all of the strange things about Nick Lachey’s marriage to Vanessa Lachey.
Vanessa and Nick Lachey met during the TRL era
Nick Lachey was a household name when he starred on the MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica opposite his then-wife, singer-turned-fashion designer Jessica Simpson. Around that same time, a young Vanessa Lachey (then Minnillo) began hosting TRL. That’s also the era when Simpson’s "With You" was a TRL hit, a song in which she confesses, "With nothin’ but a T-shirt on/I’ve never felt so beautiful/Baby, as I do now/Now that I’m with you." Simpson was obviously singing about Nick. As she told MTV News in 2003, "Nick loves me with nothing but a T-shirt on so that’s where the song idea came from." Yes, Vanessa regularly introduced the video for Simpson’s single about the guy who she’d marry one day.
During a TRL Super Bowl special in February 2004, Vanessa and Nick stood right next to each other as Nick introduced Simpson as "the most beautiful woman in show business." At the time, there was nothing odd about the interaction. But in 2020, it’s surreal to watch Nick call his soon-to-be ex-wife "the most beautiful woman in show business" while elbow-to-elbow with his future wife. Plus, there’s no missing Vanessa’s hand on Nick’s shoulder. Hindsight can be really weird sometimes.
At the time, Vanessa was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Derek Jeter; Nick and Simpson announced their separation in 2005. Vanessa and Nick wouldn’t get together until 2006.
Vanessa Lachey got ‘what’s left of’ Nick Lachey
Nick Lachey’s post-divorce album, What’s Left Of Me dropped in 2006, and when casting the role of his love interest for the title song’s video, one name came to mind: Vanessa Lachey (then Minnillo). But not entirely for the reasons you might think. "I had a brilliant idea that if I got [an] MTV veejay to be in my video, my chances of being played on TRL were pretty strong," Nick told People when he and his wife sat down for an interview together 2019. "He was using me," Vanessa added. (However, as Vanessa put it in a 2017 Billboard interview, "Little did he know I had no pull!")
Nick admitted in the aforementioned People interview that he "saw an opportunity," but that wasn’t the only reason he reached out. "I always thought you were incredible," he said. Of catching feelings for each other, Vanessa said, "We were both single [on the video shoot] and we were both like ‘wait a minute…’ We’d never looked at each other through that lens." She described what happened to them on set as a "weird spark moment." The BH90210 actor also admitted she had "first date jitters" while filming. So, good weird feelings were brewing.
Is it strange that Nick asked the woman he had feelings for to be in a video for a song about his failed marriage? Eh, kind of. But hey, it all worked out for them in the end.