Jessica Simpson’s Book: Details You Didn’t Know About Her Relationship With Nick Lachey

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In Jessica Simpson’s memoir Open Book, she discusses everything from the abuse she endured at the hands of a family friend as a child to her struggles with addiction as an adult. She also goes into pretty great detail about her first marriage to Nick Lachey, revealing things about their relationship that have yet to be reported on. If you were a fan of their show Newlyweds and believed that they had the perfect relationship, then you definitely need to read these revelations from her book:

There Were Problems Before the Wedding

According to Jessica, Nick would say “cutting” things to her during their engagement and her mother would often back him up, which encouraged him to do it more. However, Jessica admits that she “was no angel.” “I had upped my dosage of diet pills and was eating even less to be super-thin for the wedding. Speedy and hungry, I was easy to set off. Nick and I developed a reliable cycle: he would criticize me for something small, and I would blow it up to make it about something larger in our relationship or the pressure I was under in my career,” she wrote. “He would feel attacked and raise his voice, then I would say, ‘Screw you,’ and pout like a child. Nick would then resolve the issue by being the grown-up in the room. Rinse, repeat.”

Money Was an Issue

Simpson disclosed that at the beginning of her and Nick’s marriage that money was tight and they were constantly “trying to figure out how exactly [they] were going to pay the mortgage on [their] million dollar house in Calabasas.” This meant that Jessica was away much of the time working while Nick was at home not working. When she tried to confront him with this on Newlyweds, it ended up leading to a fight where he called her a spoiled brat and she accused him of not doing half of what she was doing. 

Nick Wanted a Housewife

Jessica revealed in Open Book that Lachey “wanted [her] to be a housewife.” “Nick wanted me to be a housewife making all the meals, and I admit I went into that marriage hoping to be that way, too. I was the girl who registered for everything at Williams-Sonoma thinking I’d be like my mom. But I wasn’t even home to unpack my house, let alone cook those meals. For most of my first year of marriage, I was very aware that I was a midlevel celebrity still paying off her wedding and not in a position to say no to any gigs. I would come home, go grocery shopping to try to be the normal wife Nick wanted, and then leave again,” she wrote.

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They Became Actors Playing Themselves

According to Simpson, it was while filming Newlyweds that she and Lachey “became actors in [their] own lives, playing [themselves].” “Worse, we slowly started acting our parts even when the cameras weren’t rolling,” she revealed. “When we did appearances, we didn’t want to disappoint people by not doing the whole act. It didn’t feel wrong, because it was just exaggerated, idealized versions of ourselves. Heck, I wanted to be happy. Performing as Nick and Jessica became constant.”

Within the first year of filming Newlyweds, Jessica began feeling detached from her life. Watching her extended family perform for the cameras over Christmas in 2003 forced her to realize “how much [she] was playing a part,” and that she had no idea who she really was. She wrote, “How was I supposed to live a real, healthy life filtered through the lens of a reality show? If my personal life was my work, and my work required me to play a certain role, who even was I anymore? I had no idea who I really was.”

Her Success and His Lack of Success Began Causing Issues

Simpson also divulged that, as the show took off, so did her career. However, Lachey’s career was at a standstill. “My dad came to me with more and more endorsement offers that requested me solo. Unless you’re an athlete, it’s a girl’s world when it comes to selling products. When MTV produced the Super Bowl halftime show in Houston, they invited me to kick off the show. Without Nick. Just as he was trying to build a solo career, his success became tethered to me.”

While Nick was happy for her success, Jessica also suspects that he missed the days when he was the more successful one in the relationship. “He was proud of my success, but Nick also wanted somebody who could make him feel like I did when I was nineteen years old, fawning all over him,” she wrote. “I don’t think he understood how to have the kind of relationship where I didn’t need him to tell me what to do.”

His Wandering Eye

In their show, Simpson would accuse Lachey of having a wandering eye and, in her book, she gives an example. One night while they were out together, she noticed him nod at a woman in a way that made her think that he knew her. When she asked him about it, it led to a fight. This kind of interaction had become the norm in their relationship. She wrote, “Cue the cycle. I would accuse him of having a wandering eye, and he would rip into me, making sure I knew I was the one causing the problems in our marriage. Everything was my fault. In a real way, I agreed. There was something Nick wanted from me that I no longer had, an emptiness I couldn’t fill, and neither could he.”

Their Fights

According to Jessica, when they would fight, he would get mean, and then he would ignore her. “His defense was an offense, and his words would cut me deep. We were not one of those couples that screamed at each other, let whatever fly out of our mouths, and then make mad, passionate love. No, we would yell at each other, and then he would go out of town and not answer his phone. Vegas or Miami with his boys. Or he would just stay out late to teach me a lesson.”

They No Longer Liked Each Other

While Simpson and Lachey still loved each other, she claims that they no longer liked one another. “We were in a place where we loved each other fine, but we just didn’t like each other. I could feel him trying to like me, but everything I did seemed to annoy him. Divorce was not an option for me, if only out of an obligation to my vows. I’d made a promise in front of God and all our loved ones. I couldn’t imagine telling people I wanted a divorce,” she wrote. “For generations, my family passed down a marriage guide that had only one tip: ‘Hang in there.’ I was afraid of letting everyone down.”

Despite this, their show Newlyweds had to go on, but they didn’t want to do it anymore. In Open Book, Jessica recalls how she told Nick that she was starting to feel like they can’t have cameras following them anymore, telling him that their “marriage is scary.” “That was the thing: we were still enough of a team that we could talk about our marriage going downhill, as long as we didn’t approach specifics. Then we would have to do something about it,” she wrote.

Accusations of Infidelity

As their relationship continued to disintegrate, there were countless stories in the tabloids about Lachey being unfaithful. Simpson reveals in her book that she had no idea what to believe. “There were so many tabloid stories about Nick in strip clubs or talking to girls that I just didn’t know what to believe. Did he feel caught in this marriage? He kept putting himself in situations where he could be so easily accused of cheating. It was self-sabotage. And I was supposed to stay home and be Betty Crocker?”

When Jessica came home for Christmas in 2004, she claims that both she and Nick both knew their marriage was ending. According to her, his response to this was anger. “We could both feel it was ending, and that really made him angry. He kept accusing me of changing.” In response, she told him, “Of course I have. Nick, you married a baby. I’m not that person anymore.” Although his anger would make things worse, Jessica wanted him to be angry with her because it gave her “more reason to leave.”

Her Emotional Affair with Johnny Knoxville

The “With You” singer admits to having an emotional affair with Johnny Knoxville, her co-star in The Dukes of Hazzard, in her book. Even after filming wrapped, she kept in touch with him. “We would write these flowery love letters back and forth, often at night with Nick passed out in the bed next to me,” she wrote. Although she would delete all fo the emails, she would rewrite them in her journal.

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More Fights and Paranoia

After filming wrapped for good on Newlyweds in 2005, Simpson recalled that both she and Lachey were still paranoid that they were being filmed. One night they started to get into it with each other, and then became paranoid and stopped. “At the same time, we looked over to the TV and nodded to each other. Silently, we got up from the couch, left the house, and walked to an empty lot nearby. Only then, safe from anybody hearing, did we quietly scream at each other.”

Although they were clearly at the end of their rope at this point, Jessica insists that neither she nor Nick wanted to admit defeat, so whenever the press would ask if they were breaking up, they would deny that there were problems and stick together.  She wrote, “We didn’t want to give anybody the satisfaction of seeing us publicly humiliated with a divorce, so we continued to play our Newlyweds roles. Sometimes we did this so well that we convinced each other. I thought, well maybe this isn’t enough, but maybe it’s enough for me.”

They Sought Marriage Counseling

According to Simpson, she and Lachey gave couple’s counseling a shot in 2005, and it didn’t go especially well. During their first session, she claims that he blamed her for their problems insisting that she was “just too young and didn’t know how to communicate” while she was adamant that he hated her and couldn’t even look at her. According to her, the therapist came to the conclusion that Lachey “was withholding love while [she] was withholding intimacy and affection.”

During the therapy session, the therapist gave them some tips for improving their relationship. While it helped in the first few days that followed, Simpson revealed that Lachey ditched the second appointment and then stopped going altogether.

More fighting

In the months leading up to their separation, Jessica alleges that they were spending more and more time apart. According to her, they were both drinking too much during their nights out, and when Nick would drink, he would get mean. “I drank too much on my nights out, and so did Nick. He didn’t have a problem with alcohol, he had an issue with what it allowed him to say. One day I taped a Proactiv skin product commercial all day, and afterward a bunch of us went to dinner after. Nick was at a bar, and said he’d come to dinner but never showed up. Late that night he came home drunk. He was swaying back and forth, angry at me for a laundry list of reasons.”

She claims that during this drunken encounter he told her that her friends were only around because she paid him and that her parents were only around because they were on her payroll. When she told him about it in the morning, he had no recollection of it.

He Didn’t Want the Marriage to End

Simpson reveals that she was the one who pulled the plug on the marriage. Her grandmother and her mother both encouraged her to work it out with Lachey, but her father was proud of her for getting out. When Simpson first informed Lachey of her decision to end the marriage, he tried to talk her out of it and, when she presented him with divorce papers, he tried to talk her parents into getting her to rethink things. Simpson, however, insisted that the marriage was over.

She wrote in Open Book that Lachey offered to go to couple’s counseling, and asked her not to leave him, but she stood firm. According to her, she responded, “Love is not enough. If love was enough, I would stay forever. But it isn’t enough. We have to like each other. We have to be friends.”

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He Wrote a Song about Hating Her on His Album

During their marriage, Jessica was convinced that Lachey hated her and he pretty confirmed that he did in an MTV documentary about his album What’s Left of Me. It included the song, “I Can’t Hate You Anymore,” which was written while they were still married. “He didn’t write that yesterday, I thought. He wrote that while I was married to him, I had been right all along,” she wrote.

One Last Night Together

After watching the Making the Video special for Nick’s song “What’s Left of Me,” Jessica invited him to over to try to “fix him.” According to her, he played her his new album, which featured several songs about her. “He even sang along and would look at me for praise. Or glance at me when there was a particularly cruel line about me,” she wrote. “How do you react when you find out you have apparently hurt someone so deeply that they feel entitled to such actions? I felt manipulated into some revenge fantasy, but I had put myself in this situation.”

Unsure of what to do, Jessica slept with him. She called the whole situation “very dark” and said that she could “feel his hate;” however, she knew it was the end. “When he walked out the door, I knew would never see him again,” she revealed.



Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.