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Nick and Vanessa Lachey on how their early relationship was like ‘Love Is Blind’

The "Love Is Blind" hosts shared their "version of the pods" with TODAY.

The Netflix dating show "Love Is Blind" is centered on a unique premise. Instead of meeting face-to-face — and judging each other instantly based on what they find — contestants get to know each other through long conversations in "pods," separated by a wall.

But out here in the real world, custom-made pods designed to foster an intimate dating experience are hard to come by. Yep, people have to brave first dates with their faces.

Speaking to TODAY, hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey shared their workaround for singles looking to get deep — and it involves picking up the phone, just like the Lacheys did when they began dating in 2006.

“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.

For the Lacheys, love was a slow burn. The hosts of Netflix's dating shows "Love Is Blind" and "The Ultimatum" first met when Vanessa — then Vanessa Minnillo — was a host of "TRL" and Nick, a member of the boy band 98 Degrees, was a frequent guest.

They reconnected when Vanessa starred in the music video for Nick’s ballad “What’s Left of Me” in 2006, playing the woman who broke his heart. The year before, Nick and Jessica Simpson got divorced.

In episode six of “The Ultimatum,” which they also host, Vanessa gave insight into that early phase of their relationship, which became tabloid fodder.

“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.

For the Lacheys, phone calls were a sanctuary of privacy. They think this mode of communication can be equally effective for couples not in the public eye.

"I encourage just talking to each other,” Vanessa Lachey told TODAY, sharing relationship advice.
"I encourage just talking to each other,” Vanessa Lachey told TODAY, sharing relationship advice.Netflix

“There’s something that you can’t convey in a text. Definitely tone. And there’s something really beautiful about hearing their voice but also not necessarily seeing them. I encourage just talking to each other,” Vanessa said.

She added, "If that person calls and you don’t want to answer their phone I think that’s a sign."

The parents of three also advocated for another way of getting to know each other fast: Going on vacation. The Lacheys, in partnership with Hotels.com, are hosting a sweepstakes for new couples to win $2,500 in Hotels.com gift cards. They also selected hotels around the country perfect for "cuffing season."

"You might think you know who your boyfriend or girlfriend is, but until you travel with them – that amount of time, that intensity together — you learn things about them," Nick said.

"Good and bad," she added.

Nick Lachey and Vanessa Lachey
Nick Lachey and Vanessa Lachey recommend couples take a trip early on into their relationship. Jerod Harris / Getty Images

Vanessa said their relationship was solidified through travel. "I remember for that was a big moment in our relationship. I'll never forget Nick said, 'I like traveling with you.' We just have this flow. No drama," she said.  

Think of the pods as the intensity of travel and the intimacy of a phone call, combined — and the Lacheys have a front row seat to the action.

Like viewers, Nick and Vanessa have their predictions about which couple will last. Vanessa said they accurately predicted which Season One couples would stay together, and guessed at the struggles Season Two's couples might encounter after the show.

"We knew there were some underlying issues that we were hoping would be resolved. As everyone knows, they weren't," Vanessa said. Both married couples from the show's second season ultimately split.

As for Season Three? Vanessa said she didn't see everything coming.

"I'm just gonna say that we were right about a couple — but it gives you a ride. The seasons keep getting better and better and I love that," Vanessa said.