“I see it as a working marriage and don’t mean like a job working, but we have to constantly work at it,” the Top Chef Jr. host, 37, told Us Weekly. “I was just telling my girlfriend last night, we don’t settle or run, we go head on with the problem. We communicate, we talk things through and we listen to the other person. We both know exactly what we want out of life and that’s each other, so we’re gonna make it work.”
The former TRL host and 98 Degrees singer, 44, began dating in 2006 after she appeared in his “What’s Left of Me” music video. Vanessa admitted she still watches it on her phone. “I think he still looks the same!” she gushed to Us. Though the star is clearly smitten with the father of her three kids — there are some things that drive her nuts.
“He chews his fingernails when he’s nervous. He’s always chewing,” Vanessa told Us. “And then gum. He puts in two pieces and it’s so loud. But he doesn’t play video games. He doesn’t gamble.”
Vanessa and Nick, who share kids Camden, 6, Brooklyn, 3, and Phoenix, 22 months, have been through a lot together, including a health scare with their youngest. Phoenix was born 10 weeks prematurely and then contracted respiratory virus RSV that landed him in the intensive care unit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, RSV is so common that almost all children will contract it by their second birthday. But for high-risk babies, including premies like Phoenix, RSV is very serious. “Basically RSV had taken over his respiratory system and he was coughing, wheezing, he had rapid breaths,” Vanessa recalled. Today, the MTV alum is raising awareness about the contagious virus and encourages people to revisit RSVprotection.com.
“If your baby is high-risk you’re gonna have to take more measures,” she explained. “But wiping down toys and sneezing and coughing into tissues is worth it as opposed to spending a week in the hospital.”
Luckily, Phoenix is fine and now thriving. And Vanessa has never been more content with the chaos in her life. “We dated for five years before we got married. We had set a foundation. We traveled the world,” she told Us. “I got to go to album release parties and concerts. And now I get to be a mom and raise little people!”
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