Then: She gave him an ultimatum about getting engaged.
Now: They co-host The Ultimatum.
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a show called TRL. Which, at one point, was essential watching for anyone under the age of 30. TRL was full of iconic cultural moments featuring Destiny’s Child, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, and other stars making their debut during the aughts. But who knew a love story for the ages would blossom from the soon-to-be ashes of TRL? We’re talking about 98 Degrees fave Nick Lachey and TRL host Vanessa Minnillo—now known, of course, as Vanessa Lachey.
Nick was fresh off his divorce from Jessica “chicken-of-the-sea” Simpson when he started dating Vanessa, leading to a lot of public pressure for the couple. But the duo held strong. Not even a brief breakup could keep these two lovebirds apart. Seventeen years and three kids later, Nick and Vanessa are happily married, seemingly on friendly terms with Jessica. And more importantly, they have a budding empire of dating shows on their hands. First, their hit series Love is Blind wowed viewers with its unique concept in 2021, and their new show The Ultimatum has proven to be even more outrageous. So how did they get here? Find out.
November 2005: Nick And Jessica Filed For Divorce
After a very public wedding in 2002, three years of marriage, and a reality show, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, the couple split, leaving fans shocked and surprised. Rumors of constant squabbling, Jessica cheating, and jealousy circled the couple prior to the breakup. (Though she didn’t admit to infidelity at the time, Jessica later wrote in her 2020 memoir Open Book that she had an emotional affair with Jackass star Johnny Knoxville.) Outwardly, the couple initially denied any suggestion of marital problems, but Jessica eventually filed for divorce in November 2005.
February 2006: Vanessa Starred in Nick’s Music Video
Brokenhearted Nick addressed his pain with new music, releasing a single entitled “What’s Left of Me.” When it came time to film the video, Nick asked Vanessa to star. Fortunately for both of them, he was no longer that brokenhearted. The two developed feelings for each other on set. In fact, Vanessa was so giddy over Nick that she couldn’t bring herself to appear on TRL the day the video debuted. “I was so nervous and so crushing on him that I didn’t show up for work that day,” Vanessa told Billboard in 2017. “I called in sick.” They soon started dating. In December 2006, they made their relationship public with a kiss on MTV’s New Year’s Eve special.
June 2009: Nick And Vanessa Broke Up
After three years of dating, the cute couple broke up releasing a standard PR statement about loving each other, but remaining friends. However, by August, they were spotted locking lips again in Los Angeles.
October 2009: Nick And Vanessa Reconciled
The separation didn’t last long, because these two lovebirds officially got back together just a few months later. Nick made the announcement that the two were back together while on Good Day Philadelphia. "I am happy in a relationship," he said. "I was single for a minute there, and then we've kind of patched things up."
November 2010: They Got Engaged
A little over a year after their reconciliation, the two became engaged. Nick proposed to Vanessa in Laguna Beach, California at the Montage Hotel. Nick got down on one knee in what he told People was a “full begging position.”
July 2011: Nick And Vanessa Got Married In A Small Private Ceremony
With only 35 people in attendance, the couple married on Richard Branson’s private Necker Island (in the British Virgin Islands). "Our wedding invitations were in the form of a plane ticket. We told them they were going away and the attire was island chic," Nick said to People. Though the event was initially hush-hush, the wedding was featured as a special on TLC.
September 2012 – December 2016: Nick and Vanessa Had Three Children
While co-hosting Live with Regis and Kelly in March 2012, Nick announced Vanessa was pregnant with their first child. Their first son, Camden John Lachey, was born on Sept. 12, 2012. Daughter Brooklyn Elisabeth Lachey came into the world on Jan. 5, 2015, and second son Phoenix Robert Lachey was born on Dec. 24, 2016.
February 2020: Nick And Vanessa Began Co-Hosting Love is Blind
The Netflix show was an instant hit from Season 1, spawning iterations around the globe and introducing pop culture to fan-fave couple Cameron Hamilton and Lauren Speed-Hamilton, as well as “Messica.” Season 2 was no less exciting: During the reunion episode, controversial contestant Shake Abhishek claimed the only woman he found attractive at the reunion was Vanessa — and pointedly, not his ex-fiancée, Deepti Vempati. Vanessa coolly responded by suggesting that Shake “be better.”
April 2022: Nick and Vanessa Began Co-Hosting The Ultimatum
Hot on the heels of their Love Is Blind success, the duo took the helm of another Netflix reality show, The Ultimatum. On the show, Vanessa revealed she gave Nick an ultimatum about marriage when they were still dating, which led to their brief breakup and eventual engagement. After they both dated other people, they realized they still loved each other and ended up tying the knot. Sounds like Nick and Vanessa’s story may just be the inspiration behind The Ultimatum.
Now that Love Is Blind has been renewed for three additional seasons and The Ultimatum’s LGBTQ+-focused Season 2 is scheduled for later in 2022, it seems like Nick and Vanessa may just have a dating show empire on their hands.