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Nick Lachey and Vanessa Lachey's relationship story, in their own words

The couple gets personal as hosts of "The Ultimatum" and "Love Is Blind."

Nick Lachey and Vanessa Lachey (née Minnillo) found love with one another, and now have made a career out of watching other people find love. Or, at the very least, drama.

As hosts of the Netflix shows "Love Is Blind" and, more recently, "The Ultimatum," the Lacheys preside over unusual and high-stakes dating experiments. In one show, couples get engaged, sight unseen. In another, committed partners break up and date other people to see if it will help them make up their minds about getting married.

Part of the Lacheys' role as hosts is connecting with contestants by sharing their own experiences. That's why, on the show, you'll hear the couple share never-before-heard stories.

While the Lacheys aren't the necessarily stars of "Love Is Blind" and "The Ultimatum," they are the constant (along with those metallic goblets). With that in mind, here's the couple's relationship history in their own words. And since both "Love Is Blind" and "The Ultimatum" are coming back for more seasons, we'll be sure to find out more about the Lacheys.

Vanessa said starring in Nick's music video was the 'beginning' of their relationship

Nick and Vanessa first met on "Total Request Live," aka TRL, which Vanessa hosted from 2003 to 2007. During that time, Nick would frequent the show to promote his music with his band 98 Degrees.

Nick was married to Simpson from 2002 to 2005, and appeared on the MTV show “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica" for much of that time.

Nick and Vanessa only connected romantically after Nick's divorce from Jessica Simpson in 2005, however. Vanessa appeared in the music video for Nick's ballad "What's Left of Me" in 2006, playing the woman who broke his heart.

Speaking to Billboard in 2017, Vanessa spoke to the timing of their romance.

"It wasn’t until, coincidentally, I broke up with my longtime boyfriend and he was getting divorced that we ended up reconnecting," she said. "He did a solo album and he asked me to do the video for 'What’s Left of Me.'" 

She said their relationship "got romantic" while filming the video.

"But the video ... was the beginning of our relationship," Vanessa added. "That’s what made it no longer friends and it got romantic. To the point that if you go back and look at the video, when he came to premiere it, I was so nervous and so crushing him that I didn’t show up for work that day. I called in sick."

Super Skins Kick Off Party Featuring Snoop Dogg At The Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach
Vanessa and Nick Lachey connected romantically while filming a music video. Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Vanessa said it was 'very hard' to date Nick while he was going through a 'very public divorce'

Nick and Vanessa's public couple debut came not on a red carpet appearance, but by sharing a kiss during MTV's New Year's Eve show heading in 2007.

In episode six of "The Ultimatum," Vanessa gave insight into that early phase of their relationship, soon after Nick's divorce from Simpson.

“He was in a very public marriage and a very public divorce, and I had to go through all that s--- very publicly. It was very hard for us,” Vanessa said.

MTV Goes Gold: New Year's Eve 2007 Live at MTV's Times Square Studios
Nick and Vanessa Lachey shared a kiss on New Year's Eve.Theo Wargo / WireImage

In order for their relationship to progress, Vanessa said they had to leave the past behind. “It wasn’t until the moment he was like, ‘I’m going to let it go.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going to let it go.’ And we truly committed to each other, we literally fell deeper and harder than we ever could,” Vanessa added.

Now, things are all good between Simpson and Nick. In 2020, Nick told TODAY's Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager that he and his ex-wife both have a "mutual respect" for one another and have "moved on" from their relationship.

In 2014, Simpson got married to former American football tight end Eric Johnson. They have three kids together.

They said their early relationship was like 'Love Is Blind'

Speaking to TODAY, the Lacheys compared their early courtship to the Netflix show they hosted. Instead of talking across pods, though, they bonded over the phone from opposite coasts.

“That’s how we first started dating and got to know each other. We were on opposite coasts and we spent hours and hours and hours just talking on the phone. It was like our version of the pods,” Vanessa Lachey said.

Nick knew he wanted to marry Vanessa early on

Nick didn't need a lot of convincing about Vanessa. Soon into their relationship, he thought she was "the one."

“I knew pretty early on with my fiancée that we were a good match, that I loved her," he told CNN in 2010, one month after he proposed to her. "Within the first six months we dated, I probably had a good idea that was the one I wanted to be with."

The couple got married on Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson’s private island in the British Virgin Islands, in 2011.

But Vanessa posed an ultimatum, and they dated other people before getting engaged

During an episode of “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On,” Vanessa revealed that she posed an ultimatum to her husband five years into their relationship, surprising herself. “I always said I was going to be that girl that would never give a man an ultimatum,” she added.

They were living together at the time, and she was ready to get married. “I finally said, ‘What are we doing?’ I have now moved in with him, I renovated his entire bachelor pad, there was a bar in the pool. Now I’m like, ‘OK, well, I want to put kids in the pool,’” she said on the show.

In order to make their decision, the Lacheys spit up and each dated another person, like couples do on "The Ultimatum." The process was clarifying.

“We both saw one other person and we realized that if we got out of our own way, we could be amazing together,” Vanessa said. “But it took seeing somebody else and me realizing I don’t mind the things that I thought bugged me or were holding me back. I don’t mind all that," she said.

“The bigger picture is how I feel about this person and their values of wanting to be with me and knowing everything about me,” she added.

2018 Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards
Vanessa said she posed an ultimatum to Nick five years into their relationship.Greg Doherty / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The couple shares three kids, and Nick said fatherhood 'blows his mind every day'

By 2012, they welcomed their first child, son Camden. Vanessa gave birth to their daughter, Brooklyn, in 2015 and their second son, Phoenix, in 2016.

Speaking to People, Nick said he "cried like a sobbing child" when his first child was born, and that fatherhood continues to astonish him.

“I had a lot of expectations for what fatherhood would be because I thought about it for so long but when it happens, it blows your mind every day,” he said. “This little creature that you created, that looks to you and depends on you, and just brings you so much joy, you just can’t put it into any kind of words. Your kids are the biggest blessing you could ever possibly have in life.”

In 2018, Nick and Vanessa joined TODAY's Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford to talk about having three kids. "It just gets better and better," Vanessa said.

Vanessa says she leaves notes for Nick on the mirror, written in lipstick

In an August 2020 interview with Us Weekly, Vanessa admitted that she and Nick had their "highest highs" and their "lowest lows" during the coronavirus pandemic. But all that did was made them "communicate better" as a couple.

"It’s forced us to communicate better and things that we thought we kind of had under control or tools we used to use in our relationship,” she said.

One of Vanessa's communication strategies? Leaving notes for Nick on the mirror, with messages like, "You're amazing" and "I love you" written in lipstick.

"We all like to hear it. We all want to hear it. It’s, almost, like, such a cliche to go, well, ‘You know, I love you.’ I’m like, ‘OK, but I still want to hear it,'" she said.

The meaning behind their kids' names

Speaking to TODAY, Nick revealed the inside story of his kids' names.

  • Camden was inspired by Camden Drive:“We’d pass Camden Drive on our way to Vanessa’s OB-GYN appointments. So one day, I said, ‘What about Camden?’” Nick shared. “At that point, I didn’t know a single kid named Camden. I thought it was the coolest, most original name ever.”
  • Brooklyn's name refers to where she was conceived. “We were living in New York at the time,” Nick revealed. “She was a product of that chapter in our lives.”
  • Phoenix's name was a symbol. “Vanessa and I knew we liked the name Phoenix, but that name became so symbolic of his early struggle in the NICU and the things he had to overcome,” Nick said. “As soon as that experience started to unfold we were absolutely 100% sold that Phoenix was the right name for him.”