Here's How Much Vanessa Lachey Is Really Worth

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If you're a fan of '90s teen pageant winners, MTV back when the network still played music videos, or pop culture in general, you know that host, actor, and model Vanessa Lachey has been working in Hollywood for decades. If she were to type it up, her résumé would span multiple pages, so it's a good thing she probably doesn't have to apply for jobs on Indeed.

Lachey started her life in the public eye when she was just a teenager, and she astutely used her position to leverage career opportunities unavailable to most people that age. She's worked hard to become the star she is, dabbling in nearly every possible sector of the entertainment industry.

From competing in beauty pageants to acting, Lachey has made many career moves, constantly climbing the proverbial ladder to superstardom. After a years-long path, she has accumulated an estimated net worth of $25 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. But how exactly did she do it?

Vanessa Lachey had a tough upbringing

Before Vanessa Lachey was a celebrity, she was traveling with her family from military base to military base as an Air Force brat. She told People that her mother walked out on the family when Lachey was nine, leaving the future star in the care of her father. "He was in the military and he was gone a lot. ... it was a very rocky, tumultuous childhood," she added.

Lachey began her career by entering the Miss Teen USA pageant, in which she represented South Carolina. She won the competition and used the platform to break into the entertainment industry. "It was the stepping stone I needed. I gained confidence and found myself," she said in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "I felt proud to be an Asian American and represent the USA as Miss Teen USA 1998. I felt that I was given an extra responsibility to do something with my title."

Winning Miss Teen USA is indeed a great "stepping stone." During the 1998 televised broadcast of the pageant, host Mario Lopez revealed that the crown came with a contract with the William Morris talent agency. Lachey's prize haul also included $10,000 in cash from the event's sponsors and at least $5,000 in scholarship money, along with fragrances, hair products, and designer jewelry. So Lachey was set up for professional and financial success at a young age.

Inside her hosting gigs

After finding success in the pageant circuit, Vanessa Lachey traded her crown for a microphone and began working in the television industry, hosting everything from obscure shows only entertainment encyclopedias remember like "True Beauty" to bona fide parts of the pop culture zeitgeist like MTV's "Total Request Live," aka "TRL." If there was a hosting gig to be had in the aughts, Vanessa was likely auditioning. She must have had a great agent.

While details of Vanessa's contracts aren't readily available, it's reasonable to assume she's earned lots of cash based on the salaries of other television hosts. According to Forbes, Carson Daly signed a $100,000 contract for his first year on "TRL" in 1998, and the gig had earned him $8 million by 2005. Of course, his tenure helped him reach that point. In 2017, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that "middle dollar" TV hosts were making $3 million per season, and even those on the lower end of the totem pole were still raking in around $40,000 for just one episode. 

Another lucrative gig for Vanessa was her stint on "Dancing With the Stars." She participated in Season 25 of the show, competing against her husband, 98 Degrees member Nick Lachey (how on earth did a '90s boy band star not win?). As reported by Variety, contestants earn at least $125,000 for appearing on the show. The amount increases the longer they compete, so Vanessa walked away with a handsome check for surviving until week seven.

More on Vanessa Lachey's silver screen work

Vanessa Lachey's work on television isn't limited to hosting and dancing — the star has also taken her talents to the acting realm. She has a string of credits ranging from guest arcs on hit sitcoms to starring roles in multiple made-for-TV Christmas movies. (Is there an unwritten rule in Hollywood stating that if an actor stars in one made-for-TV Christmas movie, she has to star in several more? See: Candace Cameron Bure, Tia and Tamera Mowry, and Lacey Chabert.)

Perhaps Lachey will officially retire her mistletoe now, as she was cast as the lead in "NCIS: Hawai'i," which premiered in fall 2021 on CBS. She took to Instagram to share her gratitude for the part, writing, "Dreams do come true ... I'm beyond grateful for this opportunity. My life is changed forever."

Lachey's bank account has probably changed, too. A starring role on a hit show can be quite profitable – according to The Hollywood Reporter, Lachey could be making anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000 per episode of "NCIS: Hawai'i," depending on where producers think she falls in Hollywood's hierarchy of stars. The main cast members of past "NCIS" spinoffs have considerably boosted their bank accounts by joining the franchise, with TV Guide reporting in 2010 that "NCIS: Los Angeles" stars LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell were already making $150,000 an episode during the show's first season.

She was a successful model

Vanessa Lachey didn't just spend the 2000s interviewing celebrities on MTV and dating Jessica Simpson's ex-husband Nick Lachey; she was also earning a living modeling. And sure, many celebrities' Wikipedia pages cite them as "models" for promoting a product they probably don't use, but Vanessa has some legitimate credits.

Her most high-profile modeling job was arguably an ad campaign for Bongo jeans. According to TMZ, Vanessa replaced "The Hills" star Kristin Cavallari as the face of the label in 2007. Quintessential 2000s news. The real money to be made in modeling comes from campaigns like Vanessa's, per The Cut, as they could pay $60,000 or more for big brands. So Vanessa's net worth definitely benefited from her work with Bongo.

Vanessa has also been featured on the cover of several publications, including Shape, Maxim, and Parents magazine, for which she posed with her husband and their son Camden. However, when it comes to magazines, celebrities really make bank by selling them exclusive content. In 2011, People touted that it had "exclusive photos of Nick and Vanessa's wedding," and there's a good chance that the couple got paid for them — according to TMZ, the magazine shelled out over $1 million for Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz's wedding pics in 2008. Vanessa's husband also has a link to Jessica Simpson, so that had to be worth something, right?

Inside Vanessa Lachey's business deals and endorsements

Vanessa Lachey has had multiple streams of income over the course of her career, including several business deals and endorsements. In 2018, she and her husband partnered with Bob Evans Farms to promote the brand's macaroni and cheese, per PR Newswire. And in 2020, the "NCIS: Hawai'i" star worked with Rice Krispies Treats, according to Extra. Why so many partnerships with food? Good question, but we'd take the opportunity, too, if given.

Lachey also uses her Instagram account to promote companies including Frito-Lay (again with the food), Kohl's, and Wells Fargo. According to WWD, influencers can earn from $5,000 to upwards of $300,000 for each of their sponsored posts, depending on their follower count and level of fame. So a few clicks on her phone could dramatically increase Lachey's net worth.

In 2021, Lachey gained another stream of income by publishing her first book, "Life from Scratch: Family Traditions That Start with You." She told People she hopes the book "inspires people to create their own memories and traditions with their family or chosen family." Whether those who purchase it get inspired or not, it'll still make her some money.

She's married to Nick Lachey

Vanessa Lachey is rich on her own, but she also married rich: her husband Nick Lachey has an estimated net worth of $25 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The pair, who have been married for over 10 years, met on the set of the music video for Nick's song "What's Left of Me," a gig for which Vanessa did not get paid, as she revealed to ET. She did walk away with a '90s heartthrob, though, and you can't put a price on that.

In 2010, Nick used some of the money he made during his 98 Degrees days to buy a gorgeous engagement ring for his wife. It featured a four-carat diamond and was worth $125,000, according to Us Weekly (via CafeMom). So if Vanessa ever finds herself in desperate need of cash, she can always sell her flashy finger bling.

Nick and Vanessa seem to have a sweet and solid relationship, especially by Hollywood standards. When Nick was included in People's Sexiest Man Alive issue, Vanessa gushed about her husband, saying, "When I look at Nick, I still get butterflies in my stomach. I look at him and I go, 'He's mine!'" The two get paid to work together, too — they co-host the popular reality series "Love is Blind," and they both appeared in a 2011 episode of "Hawaii Five-O."

Inside Vanessa Lachey's real estate purchases and vacations

When Vanessa Lachey isn't working, she's often traveling. The actor has vacationed with her family in luxurious locales including Cabo San Lucas and the Bahamas. Those places aren't cheap, either. For reference, an average week-long vacation in Cabo for a couple and two kids costs around $8,000, per Champion Traveler, and Vanessa and Nick have three children.

Vanessa's gig on "NCIS: Hawai'i" required her family to move to Hawaii, which probably made it feel like they were on a permanent vacation. Her husband, Nick Lachey, told ET of the move, "Hawaii is Hawaii, you can't complain about it. ... It's a great place to be."

Before moving to the popular vacation destination, Vanessa and Nick lived in California. They once called a $4 million mansion in Encino home, per Architectural Digest, but they sold it for over $6 million and purchased a new home in Tarzana for $5 million, according to OK!. Both of the pricey properties are sprawling, stunning, and offer stellar views of California.

More of Vanessa Lachey's splurges

Real estate isn't Vanessa Lachey's only investment — she also loves a good handbag and designer shoes. The actor told Us Weekly she treats herself to one of her favorite accessories whenever she books a new gig. She noted that she has two colors of the same Givenchy bag, which retail for around $2,000 each. And when it comes to footwear, she also splurges on luxury brands including Jimmy Choo and Valentino

Lachey spends a nice chunk of change on skincare as well. She told Real Style she likes Candice Miele facials, which can cost up to $500 per treatment. The star does budget, though. (Yes, apparently there are celebrities who budget. Who knew?) Lachey revealed that she "decided to cut back on other things in life financially" in order to hire a personal trainer. Ah, the trials and tribulations of celebrity life.

Although she can splurge now, Lachey did have to work for her financial freedom. In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, she noted how challenging it was to break into Hollywood as an Asian American. "We can all be whatever we want, and I was out to prove that," she said. "There are still challenges [but] they make me stronger."