“He was literally in a very public marriage and a very public divorce, and I had to go through all that s–t very publicly and it was very hard for us,” the NCIS: Hawai’i star, 41, said during an episode of Netflix’s new series The Ultimatum, released on Wednesday, April 6.
The show follows six long-term couples who disagree about whether marriage should be their next step. The former TRL host and her husband, 48, serve as cohosts, offering advice to the cast along the way. When Vanessa opened up about Simpson, 41, the contestants were on the verge of reuniting with their original partners after spending three weeks in a “trial marriage” with a new person.
Though the Love Is Blind cohost said that Nick’s public divorce was hard on their new relationship, she revealed that the drama also brought them closer. “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 explained. “We literally fell deeper and harder than we ever could.”
The 98 Degrees singer agreed with his wife’s assessment, adding: “I think we got perspective.”
Nick and the Open Book author announced their split in November 2005 after three years of marriage. The Ohio native had interacted with Vanessa at TRL over the years, but they reconnected in early 2006 when he filmed the music video for “What’s Left of Me.” The clip premiered in April of that year, and in June, he finalized his divorce from Simpson.
Vanessa later said that she and her future husband talked “for hours a day” before their romance began in earnest. When it was time to see Nick in person for the “What’s Left of Me” shoot, however, she felt nervous.
“I get there and we have this emotional connection, and this is the first time we’re gonna physically see each other after the butterflies,” she told Tamron Hall in February 2020. “And they say, ‘Uh, Miss Minnillo’ — ‘cause my maiden name is Vanessa Minnillo — ‘Mr. Lachey has picked out your wardrobe. It’s over there in the back.’”
Though the duo briefly split in 2009, they later rekindled their romance, tying the knot in July 2011. The Masked Singer winner and the former VJ share sons Camden, 9, and Phoenix, 5, and daughter Brooklyn, 7.
The first eight episodes of The Ultimatum are now streaming on Netflix.