Jessica Simpson’s new memoir, Open Book, has already provided us with the very sad revelations that she used to self medicate with booze and pills to bury the memories of childhood abuse, that she was forced to get sober after being unable to get her kids dressed for Halloween, and that John Mayer was kind of a dick (although that’s not really a revelation). Thankfully, there are also some less-sad stories in her memoir. Actually, I take it back. This will be devastating to anyone who was a committed fan of MTV’s Newlyweds.
Jessica has opened up about being one-half of one of the most famous reality TV couples of all time, as well as what she thinks ended her marriage to Nick Lachey. Unlike some juicier celebrity splits, no one cheated or did anyone dirty. Jessica says there were a lot of factors that just kind of doomed the whole thing right from the beginning.
We’re going all the way back two decades for this one. Jessica signed her first big recording contract in 1999 when she was 16 years old. She met Nick at a Hollywood Christmas party two years later when she was 18 and he was 25. They started dating, and got married in 2002 when Jessica was 22 and Nick was 29. Being famous and getting married is always a combination that might not last, but especially when said famous person is really young and barely knows who they are besides what the see on the cover of Seventeen. And yeah, that’s pretty much one of Jessica’s realizations when she decided to file for divorce from Nick in 2005. via People magazine:
“He was my first love. Nick loved the fact I was so strong in my faith and that I had this wide-eyed innocent approach to life. When he proposed in 2002, I said yes…I respect Nick very much. I was really young and my success hadn’t really begun. He knew me as this young innocent 18-year-old that had never been introduced to the world in so many ways. I went straight from my father to him. Nick’s very smart. He was eight years older than me, but he was also young…I didn’t know myself.”
No 18-year-old really knows who who they are. But Jessica was in the unique position of not know who she was while surrounded by people telling her, “Okay so you’re the sexy good-girl virgin version of Britney and Christina, got it?”
Even though Jessica and Nick’s marriage bit the dust just three years after they got married (their divorce was finalized in 2006), they still seemed to like each other on camera, so what happened? In a shocking reality twist that has never been written before, Jessica says she and Nick were not faking it for the cameras. They legitimately got along great. It’s just that when the cameras turned off at the end of the day, they didn’t really have anything to say to each other.
“We were young and pioneering our way through reality television, always miced and always on. We worked and we were great at it but when it came time to being alone, we weren’t great at it anymore.”
Jessica adds that it didn’t help that they were portrayed in the media as the most perfect couple this side of a Mattel factory:
“We really got crushed by the media and by ourselves. I couldn’t lie to our fans and I couldn’t give somebody hope that we were this perfect golden couple.”
Despite splitting up, Jessica still has respect for Nick, so much so that she stressed she would never want to say anything to “disrespect” his current marriage to Vanessa Lachey (nee Minnillio). But she will say he means a lot to her, and always will.
It sounds like if Jessica was just a bit older, wiser, and not constantly followed by cameras, she might have been in a better place to be married to Nick. But that’s not what the universe had in mind. And when they split up, it wasn’t even that messy. Jessica has claimed previously that her biggest money mistake was her first marriage, but reports state that she allegedly walked away from her marriage to Nick with way more than 50% of their assets.
And the only negative thing Nick has said about their marriage is that he was forced to play grab-ass under the table. So I think they both lived and learned and are better for it, but then again, I don’t know their lives, so I’m just going off of what they’re saying. At the very least, they should be proud their marriage didn’t collapse under the weight of the shame of The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour. Participating in that cringefest should have sent them straight to the nearest divorce lawyer’s office.