The pop star, 42, addressed the show’s resurgence in an interview with Bustle published on Wednesday, July 5. When writer Mickey Rapkin explained to Simpson that some viewers now see Lachey, 49, as a villain, Simpson responded with what Rapkin described as a “better-late-than-never shrug.”
When asked about the public’s impression of Lachey when Newlyweds originally aired, Simpson replied, “It’s amazing what publicity can do.”
Simpson and Lachey tied the knot in October 2002 after getting engaged eight months prior. Their romance was chronicled on MTV’s Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, which ran for three seasons from August 2003 to March 2005. Nine months after the series finale, Simpson filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split.
In her 2020 memoir, Open Book, Simpson revealed that she and Lachey weren’t nearly as candid in front of the cameras as contemporary viewers may have believed. “We had become actors in our own lives, playing ourselves,” she wrote. “Worse, we slowly started acting out our parts even when cameras weren’t rolling.”
By the time they began filming season 3, Simpson recalled that she was “sick of lying” for the sake of the series, noting that she and Lachey told the crew to “stop rolling” so often that the show’s final episode was a montage of clips. “It was bizarre, and I never watched it,” she wrote. “We finished our run and fulfilled the contract.”
Simpson went on to note that her now-infamous ditzy moments — confusing tuna for chicken, for example — were totally real. “My airhead moments became known as ‘pulling a Jessica,’” she recalled. “I didn’t care if people made fun of me, because we were pulling in nearly 3 million viewers a week.”
After the divorce, Simpson moved on with Eric Johnson, with whom she shares daughters Maxwell, 11, and Birdie, 4, and son Ace, 10. Nick, for his part, wed Vanessa Lachey in 2011. The couple share Camden, 10, and Phoenix, 6, and daughter Brooklyn, 8.
Last year, Nick threw shade of his own at Simpson, referring to their romance during the season 3 reunion of Love Is Blind, which aired in November 2022. “[Marriage] is always better the second time, right?” he quipped to contestant Matt Bolton. Bolton — who revealed on the show that he married his high school sweetheart before meeting now-wife Colleen Reed — responded, “Cheers, bud.”