Who: TRL mainstays Jessica Simpson, 39, and Nick Lachey, 46, of 98º, who parlayed their chart-topping careers into a show on MTV, Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica.
How They Met: Back in 1998, the two of them shared a manager, who introduced them at that year's Hollywood Christmas Parade. And before anyone thinks that the whole thing was a stunt, it was pre-fame for both of them. Simpson had yet to release her first album and 98º's own debut had just hit the charts.
"After we met," Lachey told People in 2003, "I found myself looking through the crowds for her all night."
Lachey said that he fell in love with her voice in addition to everything else. In a joint interview with CBS News, he said, "The first time I ever heard her sing, I got chills. And I told the guys [in 98º], 'I'm going to marry that girl one day.'"
She was just 22 when they got married and her dad famously objected to the entire relationship, but Simpson said it was true love.
"With Nick, I was madly in love," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I mean, I loved everything about the guy and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I was, you know, 22 years old when we got married but I thought I knew my future and I thought he was gonna be in it forever. I thought my dad was completely wrong. I was like, 'No, I got this figured out. Watch.' You know? Like, I'll prove you wrong."
Why We Loved Them: For an entire generation, Newlyweds was one of the first times that celebrities gave cameras access to everything, from everyday fights over Louis Vuitton dog carriers to confusing chicken with tuna. In addition to following the pair on TRL, everyone got to see them at home, too.
"We were young and pioneering our way through reality television, always mixed and always on," Simpson wrote in her 2020 memoir, Open Book. "We worked and we were great at it but when it came time to being alone, we weren't great at it anymore."
Without the success of Newlyweds, however, the TV landscape would probably be very, very different. So, any die-hard fans of Keeping Up With the Kardashians should take note: 2003 was the year Newlyweds, The Bachelor, and American Idol all debuted.
Simpson referenced key moments from the show in her song "With You."
When They Peaked: Newlyweds ran for three seasons from 2003-2005. During the show's run, the two were bonafide A-listers and Simpson used the opportunity to become one of America's sweethearts. With so many iconic moments, it's strange to think that the show's not streaming anywhere. Fellow '00s reality icon Nicole Richie apparently spends a lot of time re-watching the show via YouTube clips.
The Breakup: Lachey and Simpson announced their separation in November 2005, the day before Thanksgiving, and the divorce was official on June 30, 2006.
The holiday didn't overshadow the news. The two cited "irreconcilable differences" in their divorce. They famously had no prenuptial agreement, which meant that Simpson reportedly had to pay her ex-husband $12 million.
"He's also eight years older than me so he was already so grown up when I wasn't, so once I started to, you know, get covers and get endorsement deals that were separate from him — 'cause we did everything together — there was a little bit of tension," Simpson told ET. "And, like, a lot less support. And I just felt in our marriage that we really were kind of spinning and trying to tolerate each other towards the end because we were so used to being miced up or onstage or you know, the world took us in so many ways, and they put us as a trophy couple that we actually weren't. I mean, we were at the beginning but it fell out pretty quick."
Post-Jessica, Lachey released "What's Left of Me," which would go on to become his highest-charting track as a solo artist.
The team behind Newlyweds offered some insight, saying that they could almost see the separation coming.
"You could feel there was tension between the two of them. They were very different people. He was a blue-collar guy — he did a lot of things himself, like he and his brother would build things. He was frugal, and she had excessive taste. In the end, they weren't suited for each other. The only thing they really had in common was their music," Newlyweds producer Sue Kolinsky said in an interview with Complex. "She was really young; I think he's seven years older than her. He wanted a family, and her father thought maybe she was too young. Her father was very involved in her life."
Where They Are Now: Lachey kept things in the MTV family. After Simpson, he married MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo (who appeared in his music video for "What's Left of Me") in 2011. The two share three children: Phoenix, Camden, and Brooklyn.
Simpson would eventually date NFL tight end, Eric Johnson. The two married in 2014 and have two children: Birdie, Ace, and Maxwell.
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