Vanessa Lachey has opened up about how her husband Nick Lachey’s public divorce from Jessica Simpson hugely affected the early days of their relationship.
For those who need a quick refresher, Nick and Jessica — who were married from 2002 until 2006 — skyrocketed to further fame in the aughts with their hit reality show, Newlyweds.
The MTV series gave fans tons of insight into the pair’s life as a married couple and documented virtually everything — from anniversary trips and romantic dinners to several scathing disputes.
But, as Jessica revealed over a decade later in her tell-all memoir, her and Nick’s relationship was actually far more contentious behind the scenes. She ended up filing for divorce from him in 2005, and their split was finalized the following year.
At the time, Nick claimed he was caught completely off guard by Jessica’s decision to part ways and went on to speak about their failed marriage in several interviews. He partially blamedNewlyweds for causing him and Jessica to “question” what was truly their “reality,” and he also released his hit song “What's Left of Me,” a pointed breakup anthem full of apparent lyrics about his ex.
However, things took another turn when Nick quickly moved on with Vanessa, with whom he starred in his “What's Left of Me” music video. Years later, Jessica admitted in her memoir that she was hurt by Nick jumping into a new relationship so soon after their divorce.
Fast forward to today, and Nick has been married to Vanessa since 2011, while Jessica has been married to ex-NFL player Eric Johnson since 2014.
Nick and Vanessa, who now share three kids, have since created a new image for themselves as the hosts of Netflix’s dating series Love Is Blind and — more recently — The Ultimatum.
And on a recent episode of The Ultimatum — which sees a bunch of couples putting their love to the test against temptations — Vanessa revealed to the contestants that Nick’s past with Jessica made for an incredibly rocky start to their relationship.
“He was literally in a very public marriage and a very public divorce, and I had to go through all that shit very publicly and it was very hard for us,” Vanessa admitted.
“It wasn't until the moment that he was like, ‘I’m gonna let it go,’ and I said, ‘I’m gonna let it go,’ and we truly committed to each other,” she went on.
“We literally fell deeper and harder than we ever could,” she added, with Nick noting in agreement: “I think we got perspective.”
This marks the first time that Vanessa has candidly spoken out about Nick’s past marriage and split and comes two years after she was accused of shading Jessica during a painfully awkward interview.
Speaking on The Today Show in February 2020, both Nick and Vanessa found themselves caught up in an awkward exchange after host Hoda Kotb mentioned Jessica.
Hoda said that Jessica had just stopped by the studio and mentioned that Nick and Vanessa had sent her a “beautiful” gift after she gave birth. “[Jessica] kept saying, ‘They sent me something beautiful when I had my children,’” the host recalled.
Nick swiftly moved the conversation along, but Vanessa — who looked incredibly confused at Hoda’s comment — interrupted him to circle back.
“I feel bad, I’m sorry. You said somebody sent her [something] ... It wasn’t us,” she said. “But thank you, whoever sent it from us,” she added while awkwardly laughing.
Hoda explained, “She got something nice from you guys after — I don't remember — some moment in her life, and she thought it was sweet. So she sort of was, like, saying thanks to you guys.”
Nick and Vanessa then had an awkward, no-so-quiet conversation between themselves. “What did you send?” he asked quietly. “No, I didn’t,” she responded.
Hoda jumped in once again to ask, “You can’t remember?” to which Vanessa — who looked visibly annoyed at this point — replied, “No, I didn’t. I don't know her address. But thank you, whoever sent it from us.”
At the time, several viewers quickly accused Vanessa of purposefully making the interaction awkward and shading Jessica.
Others pointed out that the reports of Nick and Vanessa sending Jessica a gift after the birth of her first child in 2012 had been widely reported at the time.
In fact, a source told Hollywood Life that the gift had involved a "large basket of pink and white cookies with adorable baby girl decorations.”
Responding to a viewer who called her reaction “super awkward,” Vanessa tweeted: “How. I’d love to know. Truly... I think it’s weird accepting credit for something you didn't do or give. Even weirder to bring up something so random. Just giving facts. Wanted to make sure we were truthful.”
“Should I have pretended to give it?” she went on in a separate tweet. “Can we get a do over and tell them it was a big beautiful basket.”
Vanessa then hit back at a comment calling her behavior a “classless act,” writing that she had simply wanted to clear up any confusion around the mystery gift.
“Totally hear you,” she tweeted. “But also, you make sure you do your research and state facts and ask appropriate questions as the host... don’t you think. The statement wasn’t true, so I was simply clearing that up."
And Vanessa went on to refute accusations that she’d been “tossing shade” at Jessica, once again maintaining that she just wanted to “clear the incorrect statement up.”
“Ohhh shade! That would be fun and scandalous! No shade though, haha. Just wanting to clear the incorrect statement up. That’s all,” she tweeted.