The Shady Side Of Nick Lachey

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Nick Lachey shot to fame in the late '90s as a wholesome boy bander and one-fourth of 98 Degrees. Then, his love story with Jessica Simpson (whom he first started dating in 1999 and married in 2002) won fans' hearts as the couple brought their romance to the small screen in MTV's "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica." The show ran for three seasons from 2003 to 2005, and the pair seemed to have it all — until they didn't. In since-resurfaced clips from the reality TV series, Lachey can be heard making some disparaging remarks toward his then-wife, which admittedly paint him in a less-than-flattering light. In one instance, he tells Simpson, "The way you're behaving today is hardly womanly." In another, he refuses to open a car door for Simpson and tells her he only did so in the past "because at the beginning of our marriage I got laid."

While such seemingly harsh comments went largely unnoticed when the show originally aired, they've now come back into the spotlight following the publication of Simpson's 2020 memoir "Open Book." Lachey's questionable antics as co-host of "Love is Blind" and his allegedly explosive behavior when he thought no one was looking also haven't won him many fans in more recent years. Join us as we take a closer look at the seriously shady side of Nick Lachey.

He wasn't a great husband, according to Jessica Simpson

Fans of MTV's "Newlyweds" fell in love with Jessica Simpson and her unfiltered remarks — remember "Chicken of the Sea"?! — as she and hubby Nick Lachey shared their seemingly sweet love story on camera. Sadly, things were far from perfect off camera. "I had the Instagram-girlfriend syndrome before it was a thing, and I wanted the world to see my husband in the best light because I was hopelessly in love with him," Simpson wrote in her 2020 memoir "Open Book." As she grew up and her career took off, her husband supposedly began losing interest. "[Nick] wanted somebody who could make him feel like I did when I was 19 years old, fawning all over him," she penned (via Us Weekly).

Rather than working on their marriage, Lachey reportedly bailed on counseling and turned to partying with friends instead. When Simpson realized how much he apparently enjoyed strip clubs, she tried to be sexier. "I even jumped out of a cake for his thirtieth birthday party in an outfit that I thought was burlesque but was really just sad," she wrote. Nothing worked. As she put it, "We became actors in our own lives, playing ourselves."

In the end, the couple split in 2005, and despite Lachey being the one who initially wanted a prenup (which Simpson admittedly refused), he allegedly took her for everything he could. "We were both blessed by God," Simpson wrote of their financial situation at the time, "but Nick had a better lawyer."

Nick Lachey's alleged 'wandering eye'

One of the biggest issues in Jessica Simpson's tumultuous marriage to Nick Lachey appeared to have been his alleged wandering eye. As their union crumbled, Lachey was reportedly spotted partying with women in Miami, was linked to adult film star Jessica Jaymes, and, in 2005, tabloids claimed he took a 19-year-old college student to his hotel room while in Columbus, Ohio. Just days later, one of his friends, Chad Leslie, claimed to In Touch (via the Irish Examiner) that Lachey also had a fling with his girlfriend at the time while in Cincinnati.

Lachey denied everything, but as Simpson later revealed in her memoir "Open Book," she regularly wondered if he'd been unfaithful. Recalling a 2004 outing to a Hollywood club, Simpson wrote how a mystery brunette smiled at her hubby, and when she asked him about it, a huge fight allegedly exploded. "Groupies will always be groupies, but there was something different about the way he looked at her," Simpson alleged. Rather than responding, Lachey apparently turned things around. "Cue the cycle," she wrote. "I would accuse him of having a wandering eye, and he would rip into me, making sure I knew I was the one causing problems in our marriage. Everything was my fault." Then, instead of making up, he'd allegedly hold a grudge. 

"We would yell at each other, and then he would go out of town and not answer his phone," Simpson claimed. "... Or he would just stay out late to teach me a lesson."

Did the singer choose friends over his first marriage?

While there were many factors that contributed to Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey's 2005 divorce, the final straw apparently came right before Thanksgiving that year. According to a source who spoke with the New York Post, Lachey allegedly bailed on dinner with Simpson's family, and that tipped the scales. "He didn't want to go," the insider claimed. "He wanted to hang out with guys and watch a football game." Indeed, the couple announced their split the day before Thanksgiving in a joint statement to Us Weekly, saying in part, "This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other."

A Simpson source told People she'd had enough of her husband seemingly choosing his friends over her. "It really upset her that she was at home by herself with the dog and he is with single guys partying," they claimed. Then, when Lachey reportedly opted not to attend the Thanksgiving celebration in Waco, Texas, they had a fight and called it quits. On Lachey's side, though, an insider alleged that Simpson suddenly claimed she wanted a divorce during the drive home after the couple had dinner with friends two days prior. "He was shocked," they alleged. "Nick was saying, 'There are things we can do to work on this, and isn't this worth fixing?' And the answer was no." 

No matter what actually went down, Simpson officially filed for divorce that December after three years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.

Nick Lachey boasted about being kicked out of a football game

Nick Lachey apparently took talking trash to a whole new level while supporting the Cincinnati Bengals at the San Diego Chargers' Qualcomm Stadium in 2012. According to TMZ, which obtained video of the boy bander being escorted out of the game by security, things allegedly got physical after Lachey and his friends ridiculed an opposing fan for wearing the jersey of former Chargers player Igor Olshansky. Said fan alleged to TMZ that they wouldn't stop talking smack about the player, leading his wife to tell Lachey, "Well, he lasted longer than your boy band." Ouch.

Lachey wasn't impressed and allegedly turned on the woman, slamming, "Why don't you shut up, you f***ing b***h?" When the man defended his wife, Lachey was said to have grabbed his neck before pushing him back over the seats.

Following the headline-making alleged incident, Lachey took to Twitter to boast, "Just got kicked out of the chargers stadium and couldn't be prouder!" He then gloated, "I'd talk trash to everyone in SD, but what's the point? You already had me kicked out of the stadium and you still lost." He and his rep later denied things got physical, however, and the star returned to Twitter to offer more details. "I was not kicked out of the chargers game for excessive 'trash talking,'" Lachey clarified. "No, that honor belonged to the guy in front of me!"

He punched 'low' to insult Jessica Simpson's dad

It's no secret that Nick Lachey's relationship with his former father-in-law, Joe Simpson, was ... not great. As Jessica Simpson revealed in "Open Book," her dad was openly against their marriage from the start. "My dad was awful through the whole engagement," Jessica wrote. "... He continually told me I was making a mistake and told Nick to his face that I was too young to get married." 

Apparently, the dislike was mutual. During a 2013 appearance on "Watch What Happens Live," Andy Cohen asked Lachey what the best thing was about not having Joe as a dad-in-law anymore. They were playing "Plead the Fifth," so the singer could have not answered or offered a neutral response, but instead, he decided to throw shade. "I don't have to play grab-a** under the table on Easter Sunday," he proclaimed. The slight came on the heels of Joe fending off rumors about his sexuality, which first surfaced in 2012 after he split from Tina Simpson following 30-plus years of marriage. A source told TMZ that the notion that Joe was gay was "ridiculous."

In 2020, Jessica appeared on "Radio Andy" and was asked by Cohen how she had felt about Lachey's remark. "That was low," she said. "And that's, like, not for him to talk about by any means, because he's not connected with us at all anymore." Admitting it ticked her off, Jessica added, "He was just bitter, you know? And he was just trying to take a dig."

Nick Lachey appeared to shade his ex on Love is Blind

Nick Lachey first met future wife Vanessa Lachey (née Minnillo) when he was still married to Jessica Simpson, and they began dating less than a year after his split. The speed with which the boy bander moved on really hurt Simpson, who wrote about the pain in her journal. "Seems that you forgot the love you spoke to me," she'd penned, per ET. "I'm saddened beyond belief." Then, there was the "What's Left of Me" video, which Nick shot with Vanessa post-divorce. "I watched him portray himself as a victim, casting me as this selfish person," Simpson shared in "Open Book," claiming, "I knew he did this to hurt me."

Eventually, she found love again with Eric Johnson while Nick married Vanessa, and yet, despite having discovered long-lasting love, he was still talking about Simpson years later. When Andy Cohen asked him if he'd read "Open Book" in 2021, Nick said he never would before throwing some subtle shade. "I know what the truth is so I don't need to read it or read someone's version of it in a story," he proclaimed, seemingly implying that Simpson's account may not be entirely truthful.

Jump to 2022, and Nick Lachey's ex was again seemingly on his mind — and his lips — during the "Love is Blind" Season 3 reunion special. While speaking to contestant Matt Bolton about marriage after divorce, he quipped, "[Marriage] is always better the second time, right?" Nick then made the questionable remark even more cringe-worthy by fist-bumping Bolton.

A paparazzi encounter led to anger management classes

In March 2022, Nick and Vanessa Lachey were leaving Mastro's restaurant in Beverly Hills when paparazzo Jody Santos started photographing them from her car. There were reportedly other paparazzi present, but when Nick spotted Santos, he allegedly lost it. TMZ obtained video of the singer going up to Santos' car while seemingly swearing and trying to grab her phone through her open window.

Recounting the incident to the Daily Mail, Santos alleged, "He flipped me off and then I heard Vanessa say, 'Go get 'em, open the door,' and then he started walking towards my car, all aggressive." As Santos rolled up her window, Nick allegedly punched the glass and continued his tirade. "In all my years of photographing celebrities, no one has ever tried to hit me," the pap said. "I am just relieved that I rolled up my window as fast as I did, otherwise he would have knocked me out." The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office got involved and later told Page Six that Nick had been placed in their Pre-filing Diversion program, meaning that he had to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and complete an anger management course in order to avoid being criminally charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.

For his part, Nick Lachey put the blame on Santos, tweeting, "The paparazzi harassed us as we walked back to our hotel," but added, "I clearly overreacted." Meanwhile, Santos told the Daily Mail that she did nothing wrong, claiming, "A personal apology was declined, then a written apology was declined."