Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson's Marriage: What to Remember

Next month marks the 15th anniversary of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson finalizing their divorce, [...]

Next month marks the 15th anniversary of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson finalizing their divorce, and fans are looking back wistfully on their iconic romance of the time. Lachey and Simpson were two of the biggest stars of their day when they got together in the late 1990s, and both remain massive forces in the entertainment industry now. Here's the run-down on their romance and how it came to an end.

Lachey and Simpson first met in December of 1998, they said in a joint interview with CNN in 2003. The couple was introduced by their mutual manager and then ran into each other again the following month at a Teen People event. Years later, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Lachey claimed that he left the party and immediately called his mother, saying he would marry Simpson someday. Shortly thereafter they began dating, and they were the target of a lot of tabloid coverage. At the time, Lachey was the frontman of the boyband 98 Degrees while Simpson was a rising solo pop star, and the couple seemed perfectly matched until April of 2001.

Lachey and Simpson broke up briefly at that time but said they got back together soon after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The two even collaborated on music together, including Simpson's 2000 song "I Think I'm In Love With You." According to a later episode of MTV's Making the Video, Simpsons 2002 song "Sweetest Sin" was about her losing her virginity to Lachey.

Lachey and Simpson announced their engagement in February of 2002, and held their wedding not long after on Oct. 26 in Austin, Texas. According to a report by PEOPLE, Simpson wrote on her website at the time: "Nick Lachey asked me to marry him in a very romantic way and I said yeeeeeeeeeeeessssss!!! He had been patiently waiting for me to grow up a little (which I needed). And I did! Now my life feels so perfect."

It was Simpson's father who then pitched a reality show to MTV called Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. The series ran from 2003 to 2005. The show became a huge phenomenon with endless discourse about Simpson's subversion of the "dumb blonde" archetype." It ran for three seasons in total and helped facilitate the couple's ABC special The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour, as well.

Lachey and Simpson announced that they were separating in November of 2005. They issued a joint public statement saying: "After three years of marriage, and careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways. This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other. We hope that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

Simpson filed for divorce the following month citing "irreconcilably differences. The divorce hit fans around the world hard, but it moved quickly and was finalized in June of 2006. According to a report by The Daily Mirror, the couple did not have a pre-nuptial agreement, and therefore Simpson needed to pay Lachey $12 million to split their assets. In 2015 Simpson told the outlet that Lachey was her "biggest financial mistake."

Simpson would later ruminate on her marriage to Lachey at length in her 2020 memoir Open Book. The two stars are not famously at odds these days, nor are they particularly close. For some fans, that remains heartbreaking.