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Vanessa Lachey Gave Nick a Marriage Ultimatum — Here's a Look Back at Their Relationship

Thank goodness for MTV's 'TRL.'

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Nick and Vanessa Lachey's love story is what Y2K dreams are made of. Back in the early 2000s, Nick was a member of the boy band 98 Degrees, while Vanessa was a veejay for MTV's Total Request Live (RIP), and inevitably, the two crossed paths. But it wasn't until Nick asked Vanessa play his love interest in the music video for his song "What's Left of Me" in 2006 that sparks really began to fly between them. 

"I remember feeling first date jitters. This video shoot was the first time it was like…," Vanessa said during an interview with People in 2019, before Nick finished her sentence, adding: “Whatcha doin after?” From that point on, Nick and Vanessa were a couple (save for a brief breakup in 2009). They got married in July 2011 and welcomed three children together — sons Camden and Phoenix, and a daughter, Brooklyn. 

Here's a complete look back at Nick and Vanessa Lachey's relationship — from TRL to a family of five.

2003: Nick and Vanessa first meet on TRL.

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Nick and Vanessa first crossed paths on MTV's Total Request Live in 2003 while Vanessa was a veejay for the show and Nick was often a guest promoting his music with 98 Degrees and his reality show, Newlyweds, with then-wife Jessica Simpson.

However, Nick doesn't entirely credit the iconic Y2K show for their long-lasting romance. "I wouldn't necessarily say TRL brought us together, but that was definitely part of our time together — me being a musician and her being on-air talent," he told Billboard back in 2017. "I saw her multiple times throughout the years when she was on TRL."

Vanessa added, "It was always about business and it was always nice to see him."

February 2006: Vanessa stars in Nick's music video for "What's Left of Me."

It wasn't until years later that their friendship turned romantic. In 2006, Nick, who had recently filed for divorce from Simpson, asked Vanessa, who had gotten out of a longterm relationship herself, to play his love interest in the music video for his song "What's Left of Me" — and their chemistry was undeniable.

"The video, which was on TRL, was the beginning of our relationship. That’s what made it no longer friends and it got romantic," Vanessa explained to Billboard. To the point that if you go back and look at the video, when he came to premiere it, I was so nervous and so crushing him that I didn’t show up for work that day. I called in sick."

She continued, "We’d gone from friends to [me] starting to feel something for him. So, like a child, I ran from it and called in sick. Lala [Anthony] was like, 'Girl, you in love. I’ll fill in for you today but you better come back to work!'"

June 2006: Nick and Vanessa are officially dating.

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After months of rumors, Nick and Vanessa officially became a couple in the summer of 2006, and had their first date at Hooters, of all places. “For the record, people, it was the only thing open in Trenton, New Jersey, after I did a show in Trenton, New Jersey,” Lachey said while playing The Newlywed Game for Us Weekly. “Nothing against Hooters, though. Great wings.” 

December 2006: Nick and Vanessa share a public kiss on New Year's Eve.

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Nick and Vanessa shared a very memorable on-camera kiss during MTV's live New Year's Eve party in Times Square when the clock struck midnight.

February 2007: Nick and Vanessa make their red carpet debut.

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Nick and Vanessa walked their very first red carpet together at Clive Davis's pre-Grammy party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Vanessa wore a sparkly babydoll dress, while Nick opted for a classic black suit.

June 2009: Nick and Vanessa briefly break up.

After dodging breakup rumors for months, Nick and Vanessa called it quits after three years of dating. 

"They have amicably split but remain good friends who still greatly care for one another," Vanessa's rep told People at the time. Meanwhile, a source echoed a similar sentiment, revealing that the two were "still friends" but that the breakup "was the right thing for both of them to do."

Years later, we would come to find out that reason for their brief breakup was because Vanessa wanted to settle down and Nick wasn't ready yet. “We dated for five years. So I finally said, ‘What are we doing?’ I have now moved in with him, I renovated his entire bachelor pad; there was a bar in the pool," she said during an episode of Netflix's The Ultimatum. I’m like, ‘Whatever you want!’ Now I’m like, ‘Okay, well, I want to put kids in the pool.’”

October 2009: Nick reveals he and Vanessa are back together.

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During an appearance on Good Day Philadelphia, Nick announced that he and Vanessa were a couple again, telling viewers: "I am happy in a relationship. I was single for a minute there, and then we've kind of patched things up."

November 2010: Nick and Vanessa are engaged.

A year after reconciling, Nick proposed to Vanessa with an Asscher-cut diamond ring with trapezoid stones on each side.

Explaining how the proposal went down, Nick painted a detailed picture for fans during the couple's TLC wedding special. "I took her to the Montage in Orange County, we sat by the pool, had drinks, it was a beautiful time. The whole time, I've got the ring in my pocket," he said. "Got down on both knees and laid it on her. And then we cried, and celebrated, it was really... It was beautiful."

July 2011: Nick and Vanessa get married.

On July 15, 2011, Nick and Vanessa tied the knot during an intimate ceremony on Richard Branson's private island in the British Virgin Islands. Vanessa walked down the aisle in a strapless Monique Lhuillier dress with a tiered ballgown skirt, and the couple wrote their own vows. Following the wedding, the newlyweds headed to St. Barts for their honeymoon.

September 2012: Nick and Vanessa welcome their first child together.

The couple welcomed their first child together, a son named Camden John Lachey, on September 12, 2012. “Nick and I are honored and humbled to introduce you to the new love of our lives,” Vanessa tweeted alongside a photo of their baby boy.

January 2015: Nick and Vanessa announce the arrival of baby number two.

Vanessa revealed she and Nick welcomed their second child together with a blog post on her now-defunct website.

“She’s HERE!!!! Nick, Camden, and I are SO excited to announce the birth of our sweet, beautiful baby girl, Brooklyn Elisabeth Lachey! She was born January 5, 2015 at 5:17 p.m. She weighed in at 7 pounds 15 ounces, is 21 inches long, and has already won over all of our hearts,” she wrote, adding: "I can't even begin to tell you how it felt to hold her in my arms for the very first time."

December 2016: Nick and Vanessa welcome their third baby.

On Christmas Eve 2016, Nick and Vanessa welcome their third child, a baby boy named Phoenix Robert Lachey.

"It's a very Merry Christmas indeed! We had our Christmas Miracle. Phoenix Robert Lachey decided to show up early and was born on Christmas Eve," Vanessa wrote of her son being 10 weeks premature on Instagram. "Mommy, Daddy, Camden & Brooklyn LOVE You very much! #LacheyPartyOf5."

April 2022: Vanessa reveals she gave Nick a marriage ultimatum.

While hosting Netflix's The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, Vanessa opened up about how the show's premise hit close to home. "We dated for five years," she told the contestants of her and Nick's relationship. "So I finally said, 'What are we doing?'"  

Vanessa went on to explain that they broke up briefly and saw other people during their split before realizing that they wanted to be together. "We both saw one other person and we realized that if we got out of our own way, we could be amazing together," she said. "But it took seeing somebody else and me realizing I don't mind the things that I thought bugged me or were holding me back. I don't mind all that."

July 2023: Vanessa and Nick celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary.

Nick and Vanessa celebrated 12 years of marriage by penning sweet tributes to each other on Instagram.

Nick, for his part, shared a slideshow throwback photos while reflecting on their "beautiful life" together, writing: "Vanessa, not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for your love, your patience, your understanding, your fight and determination, your support, and your willingness to always work through the tough times. While we don’t always have it all figured out, nor claim to, we know that together we can find our way."

Vanessa, meanwhile, took a more humorous approach, sharing a video of the pair with an aging filter. "17 years together, 12 married! I LOVE growing old with you," she wrote. "Happy Anniversary, Baby!

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