Nick Lachey first met his current wife Vanessa Lachey, née Minnillo, when he was the lead singer of 98 Degrees and she was a VJ interviewing him on MTV’s TRL. The year was 2003: Vanessa was 22, and Nick was 29. He was also still married to his first wife, Jessica Simpson. By 2006, however, Simpson had filed for divorce, and Nick and Vanessa reconnected on the set of Nick’s music video for “What’s Left of Me,” which is a middling ballad about his breakup with Simpson. These unusual circumstances sparked what appears to be a long-lasting partnership. Nick and Vanessa married in 2011 and went on to have three children named after some of America’s top cities and boroughs: Camden, Brooklyn, and Phoenix. Unfortunately, the more I learn about the Lacheys’ marriage, the more I suspect that it is built on shaky ground and ultimately due to collapse.
This is mostly because of things that Nick and Vanessa have said out loud about their relationship on television. They are currently the hosts of two different but equally demented dating reality shows on Netflix: Love Is Blind, which follows singles as they attempt to find love by talking to each other in pods, and The Ultimatum, which premiered this month and is centered on six couples who can’t agree about whether or not to get married. In both shows, the Lacheys are supposed to be positive role models for the absolute wackos who have signed up as contestants: They are in a stable, 11-year marriage and have overcome any strife that was present in their early relationship. Or have they?
In 2018, Vanessa hinted that the couple’s relationship has not been 100 percent smooth sailing. “I see it as a working marriage and don’t mean like a job working, but we have to constantly work at it,” she told Us Weekly. Two years later, in the midst of the pandemic, she revealed to the same tabloid that the work continued. “This has been a really amazing time for us and a really hard time for us,” she said. “I think we’ve had our highest highs and our lowest lows as a couple, and it’s forced us to communicate better and things that we thought we kind of had under control or tools we used to use in our relationship.”
While hosting The Ultimatum, Vanessa has been even more forthcoming about the hard, hard work of being married to a 48-year-old former boy band star. In the very first episode, she revealed that early in their relationship, she gave Nick an ultimatum to propose to her. Instead, they broke up and saw other people before eventually getting engaged to each other. "We dated for five years,” she explained. “So I finally said, ‘What are we doing?’ I have now moved in with him, I renovated his entire bachelor pad, there was a bar in the pool. I'm like, ‘Whatever you want’' Now I'm like, ‘Okay, well, I want to put kids in the pool.’”
Nick confirmed this order of events. “I think that's what put the nail in the coffin,” he said. Aw.
Later in the season, Vanessa revealed that getting married didn’t fix the couple’s trust issues. She said that they used to sneak and look at each other’s phones until a couples therapist told them to stop. “Honestly, I remember we went to a therapist and she was like, ‘If y'all are going through each other's phones, then you shouldn't be together,’” Vanessa recalled. “I'm like, ‘You're right. I need to trust this man and he needs to trust me.’”
How’s that going? Unfortunately, Nick has been less verbal about any issues in his marriage, which makes it difficult to diagnose exactly what’s going on. But his social media posts about his wife do suggest a lack of total commitment. Take this photo he posted on International Women’s Day this year:
“Happy #InternationalWomensDay to my badass, hard working, beautiful and multitalented wife who is the rock of our family,” he wrote in the caption. “And to all of the other incredible women reading this, just know that as men, we appreciate you!”
Oh, Nick. On Instagram, International Women’s Day is about YOUR SPECIFIC WIFE. Everyone knows that.
Hopefully these two can get on the same page soon, because they have reportedly signed on to host three more seasons of Love Is Blind. That’s a lot of work.
This has been Celebrity Divorce Watch. Previously: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Cheryl Hines.