Gather around and grab a bottle of wine and probably some cheese because it tastes good and makes things more fun. I want to tell you a story that I've been kinda obsessed with and I just need to GET IT OUT BEFORE I SNAP.
This is the story of two C-list pop stars who became A-list for a hot minute because of their reality TV show. Introducing Jessica Marie Simpson and Nick Laurent Lachey.*
It all starts back 1998, when Nick and Jess meet for the first time at the Hollywood Christmas Parade.
She was 18. He was 24.
A month later, they saw each other again at a Teen People party. This is when they really started dating.
Then they dated for two years and broke up.
Then 9/11 brought them back together again. Jess wrote on her website, "After 9-11, I knew that I never ever wanted to be away from Nick ever for the rest of my life."
A year later, Nick and Jess married in Austin, Texas.
As you may remember, Jess was really big into the "waiting for marriage" thing. When she was 12, Jess's dad gave her a purity ring.
This was that time period when people were OBSESSED with teen girls' virginities and it was "OK" to talk about it. It was truly a weird, gross and not OK time.
As explained in her 2003 Rolling Stone profile, Jess *was* the virgin. When Britney would try to avoid the question, Jess would talk openly about it. As weird as it sounds, it was kinda her *thing* (most likely because of her religious upbringing).
So yeah, Jess lost her virginity on her wedding night. She told Blender magazine: “It was the most amazing moment of my life. I’m so lucky I didn’t lose my virginity in the back of a Jeep or something. Instead, I had this amazing, elaborate wedding and I topped it off with that.”
Then Newlyweds happened.
Here is where I think Newlyweds is interesting: It seems like it was Nick and Jess’s attempt to differentiate themselves from the other more popular pop stars of the time like Britney and Justin. Artists they had literally been playing catch-up to for their entire careers.
Jess had been in Britney’s shadow since she was a little kid. She was almost on the Mickey Mouse Club with all of ’em (Britney, Christina, Justin etc.), but fucked up her final audition. And later, in the late ’90s, her singing career was always one step behind Britney's.
This was her chance to show that she was different than the other girls. Likewise for Nick — 98 Degrees was always budget-ass NSYNC.
So, Newlyweds happened. Newlyweds was the replacement TV show for The Osbournes. The Osbournes was the first mega-big celeb reality show. It made that family (except Ozzy) into stars. Basically, these were big shoes to fill and it made sense that maybe Jess and Nick were looking for that same type of fame.
If you can see where I'm going...Jessica's family was a constant in their life. Anyone who has ever dated anyone knows this is no good.
Trouble was brewing...
...and if there's one thing I've learned about mid-’00s tabloid drama, it's that most of the time it was kinda true.
They officially divorced in 2005.
Here's the statement they released explaining their split: “After three years of marriage, and careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways. This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other. We hope that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Fine...BUUUUT that definitely wasn't the REAL truth. Of course shit wasn't completely mutual!
Let's get into the drama...
Rumors have it that Jess broke up with Nick because she didn't like how he was partying and because he didn't go to Thanksgiving at her family's house in Texas. Nick, on the other hand, said he was "blindsided" by the divorce. Apparently Jess told him she wanted a divorce in the car after they went out for dinner.
In interviews, Nick blamed Newlyweds for their breakup. He told Rolling Stone: "Jessica and I began playing these parts even when we were by ourselves. It became a really blurred line. There was a question about what truly was our reality."
Then there's Joe, Jess's annoying dad.
As we were talking about before, Jess's dad was a constant in their relationship. Nick said: "Do I think Joe drove a rift between us? No. Was he an influence in our marriage? Absolutely."
After the divorce, Nick gave a bunch of interviews promo-ing his song "What's Left of Me." The song was obviously about Jessica. He was going to milk the fuck out of this situation.
This all sounds familiar...
As I was saying earlier, Jess and Nick have always been in the shadows of a more famous pop star and boy band member: Britney and Justin.
The sad interviews Nick was giving sounded all too familiar. Remember how the media vilified Britney and praised Justin? Yes, hmm. Well, it seems like Nick took the same page out of that Justin Timblerlake playbook and tried it here.
Nick went on a media tour saying he still loved Jess. There were also some shady-ass rumors about Jess cheating on Nick with Bam Margera. The media was painting Jess as the cheater. Nick was the champion. This was literally what they did to Britney and Justin!
SHIT WAS MESSY.
At the time of the divorce, Jess was worth an estimated $100 million. Nick was rumored to want half.
TMZ reported that Jess wanted to give Nick $1.5 million.
In the end, it was rumored that Jess had to pay Nick $12 million.
ALSO, take this with a grain of salt, but another rumor is that Papa Joe refused to have Jess sign a prenup before they got married because Nick was worth more than her before their marriage.
AND, in case you were wondering, after they divo'd, they sold their house from Newlyweds to Reese from Malcolm in the Middle.
Now let's fast-forward a bit to modern days.
Jess said the biggest "money mistake" she ever made was marrying Nick.
And as of 2013, Nick and Jess literally hadn't seen or spoken to each other in six years. Nick also said, "The best thing about not having Joe Simpson anymore as a father-in-law is I don't have to play grab-ass under the table on Easter Sunday."
So, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!
Love is dead, fame is vapid, family fucks things up, they could never be Britney & Justin, Newlyweds was a blessing and a curse, drama is ALL AROUND US, and Nick & Jessica never stood a chance.