Also Credited As:Nicholas Scott Lachey
|Nicholas Scott Lachey on November 9, 1973 in Harlan, Kentucky, USA|
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Born Nicholas Scott Lachey on Nov. 9, 1973 in Harlan, KY, his family relocated to Ohio, where he attended the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts. Lachey excelled not only as a student, but also as an athlete and singer. After graduation, he attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for a year, but returned home to be closer to his family and enroll in the sports medicine program at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford. On summer break from college, an old friend of Lachey's contacted him and urged him to come back to L.A. and join the vocal group he was putting together. Shortly thereafter, Lachey, Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre and Nick's younger brother Drew Lachey had formed the basis for the group that would become 98 Degrees. Success did not come immediately for the band, as Lachey and company had to work a series of odd jobs to make ends meet. The band finally caught the attention of the right people while attempting to crash the backstage area of a Boys II Men concert. They were offered a chance to perform on a local radio station, after which they were introduced to manager Paris d'Jon. With d'Jon, the group recorded demos and eventually inked a deal with Motown records. Their first single, "Invisible Man," went gold in 1997, and their self-titled debut album was released soon after. Their second effort, 98 Degrees and Rising, dropped in 1998, followed by a third album, Revelation in 2000. However, rumors began to swirl about a possible separation, and by February 2002 the rumors proved true when 98 Degrees announced "an extended hiatus" after a relatively short run of success.
Unlike his band mates, who for the most part drifted into obscurity, Lachey's notoriety grew after the breakup of the group, albeit more for his romantic involvement with a certain pop princess than for his own musical endeavors. After dating sporadically since 1999 after meeting on tour, Lachey married pop princess Jessica Simpson on Oct. 26, 2002. At the behest of Simpson's manager father Joe Simpson, the happy couple signed on to do a reality TV show entitled "Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica" (MTV, 2003-05). Few people expected the project to be a success since both singers' careers were nose-diving due to a fickle public. However, the program turned out to be a surprise hit, mainly due to Simpson's frequent verbal blunders and oddly entertaining whining, contrasted by Lachey's delicate balance of infinite patience and thinly veiled exasperation. Lachey served as the voice of reason in response to Simpson's often hilarious gaffes. On one infamous episode, Lachey had to explain to Simpson that buffalo wings were not made of actual buffalo meat. Another episode found Lachey refuting Simpson's belief that Chicken of the Sea was really chicken and not tuna. Due to the TV show's massive success, Lachey found himself back on the music scene in 2003 with the release of his first solo album, SoulO, which was coincidentally released the same day as Simpson's third album, In This Skin, with her album faring somewhat better on the charts, not surprisingly. With their popularity skyrocketing, the couple landed their own variety special, "The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour" (ABC, 2004). The ratings for the show were so spectacular that the network signed them on for a holiday follow-up, "Nick & Jessica's Family Christmas" (ABC, 2004), and a salute to the troops in Iraq, "Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty" (ABC, 2005).But there was a downside, which the couple was soon to realize. With intense fame came intense scrutiny, as the couple were suddenly prime fodder for the usual endless array of tabloid cover stories, most of which speculated on the state of their marriage. At this point, Simpson's star was burning brighter than ever when she was cast as the short-shorts-sporting sexpot, Daisy Duke, in the movie adaptation of the 1980s action-comedy series "The Dukes of Hazzard" (2005). For his part, Lachey was picking up minor acting jobs, as well, with a recurring appearance on the supernatural drama "Charmed" (The WB, 1998-2006), as ghostwriter Leslie "Les" St. Claire in 2005. That same year, Lachey also had the misfortune to make a brief appearance in a TV-to-film adaptation of his own: the critically maligned Nicole Kidman/Will Ferrell debacle "Bewitched" (2005). All the while, rumors continued to swirl that her higher profile, compounded by extended periods apart, and the ever-present temptation of other partners, was taking its toll on his ego and their marriage. However, even as coverage of their every outing reached critical mass on the verge of the "Dukes" premiere, the couple stood fast and insisted their bond would endure, despite increasingly mounting evidence that Simpson had grown away from Lachey and engaged in affairs with "Dukes" co-star Johnny Knoxville, his "Jackass" cohort Bam Margera (whose father verified the sexual fling during an embarrassing radio call-in program) and comedian Dane Cook. The denials came to end when over the 2005 Thanksgiving weekend, the once sparkling couple officially announced their separation. The following year, the seemingly heartbroken Lachey released the solo effort What's Left of Me, before beginning to date the lovely former MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo, who had starred in the music video for the album's title song.
In the wake of his divorce from Simpson, Lachey was generally perceived as the wronged party, so the balance of favor seemed to shift after the split, leading his record to trounce her latest release on the charts. In early 2006, Lachey cheered Drew on from the sidelines as his younger brother ended up winning season two of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ). Lachey also continued to dabble in acting, with a supporting role in the direct-to-DVD heist movie "The Hard Easy" (2007), as well as taking a small part in the low-budget tale of vampires and revenge, "Rise: Blood Hunter" (2007), starring Lucy Liu. Working behind the scenes, Lachey co-created and executive produced the reality series "Taking the Stage" (MTV, 2008-10). The show documented the lives of several high school students at Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts - Lachey's alma mater - as they pursued their goal of fame and fortune. Back in the spotlight, Lachey signed on to host the a cappella talent competition "The Sing Off" (NBC, 2009- ), with judges and the viewing audience ultimately crowning one group the winner of a $100,000 cash prize, in addition to a major label recording contract. After a very brief separation one year prior, Lachey and Minnillo announced their long-gestating wedding engagement in November of 2010 almost five years together. In what some viewed as a desperate attention grab, his ex-wife Simpson suddenly announced her own engagement to former-NFL player Eric Johnson, a scant few days later.