“He was my first love,” Simpson, 39, writes of the 98 Degrees member, 46, in a memoir excerpt published by People. “Nick loved the fact I was so strong in my faith and that I had this wide-eyed innocent approach to life. When he proposed in 2002, I said yes.”
“We were young and pioneering our way through reality television, always miced and always on,” Simpson recalls. “We worked and we were great at it but when it came time to being alone, we weren’t great at it anymore.”
The “I Wanna Love You Forever” singer filed for divorce in 2005, citing irreconcilable differences. “We really got crushed by the media and by ourselves,” she writes in the book. “I couldn’t lie to our fans and I couldn’t give somebody hope that we were this perfect golden couple.”
These days, Simpson is married to Eric Johnson and has three kids with the former NFL star, while Lachey has three children with wife Vanessa Lachey. But Simpson assures readers she “very much” respects her first husband.
“I was really young and my success hadn’t really begun,” she explains. “He knew me as this young, innocent 18-year-old that had never been introduced to the world in so many ways. I went straight from my father to him. Nick’s very smart. He was eight years older than me, but he was also young.”
She goes on: “We meant a lot to each other and we always will. I want to be very respectful because I married him for a reason and we were together for seven years for a reason. He has a family now and I would never say anything to disrespect that.”
The former pop star announced the memoir in July 2019, with the official book description touting that she will reveal “new parts of herself for the first time” and “open up about her struggles.”
The description continued: “Her new book will be a candid, inspiring and behind-the-scenes look at how she chose to learn from each difficult moment, evolve musically, become a more fearless businesswoman and consistently shatter all expectations of who she was ‘supposed’ to be.”
Open Book, from HarperCollins Publishers, hits shelves on Tuesday, February 4.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!