Jessica Simpson's feelings about Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica have softened a bit over the years.
While appearing on Monday's The Real, Simpson said she had no regrets about doing the MTV reality show, which ran from 2003 to 2005, and captured what life was like for the newly married pair. In fact, she said she and her former husband actually had fun even though they divorced by the end of 2005.
"I don't regret that at all," Simpson said of doing the show, which helped catapult her to fame. "If anything, it was great TV. It was very real, and Nick and I actually had a lot of fun. We got to do a lot of things" they ordinarily wouldn't have, including, memorably, a camping trip during which she toted around a Murakami-designed Louis Vuitton Speedy bag.
But she's not a woman with regrets, she said. "No, I learn from it," she said. "There's a lesson in everything." Besides, "I was so young. I didn't even have a hold on who I was as a person."
Being one of the first celebrities to star in a reality show, she feels Newlyweds was "more real" and "authentic" than today's reality TV.
"We had a mic pack on from when we woke up until when we went to sleep," she explained. "Nowadays, they have allotted shooting days [which] make it a lot easier."
Her elder daughter Maxwell is best friends with Kim Kardashian's daughter North West, and Simpson was surprised how that family does a lot of things out of the spotlight. She said her husband, Eric Johnson, recently coached the girls basketball team, and there was never a camera in site for Kardashian's new Hulu show.
While reality TV stars may have better shooting schedules nearly 20 years later, Simpson wouldn't do another reality show.
"Oof — no," she told The Real co-hosts, adding that her three kids would never go for it.
In Simpson's 2020 best-selling memoir, Open Book, she wrote about how the reality show marked the beginning of the end of her marriage to Lachey. Things were already on shaky ground on their 2002 wedding day, Simpson, who famously saved herself for marriage, said "I do" to the 98 Degrees singer despite her concerns. For their honeymoon, their new marital home was put under surveillance from dawn to dusk for the show to the point where they had “burn marks on our backs from the mics being strapped to us for so long” each day.
Simpson's dad brokered the deal for the show, in the wake of The Osbournes success, thinking at the very least it would help her new album get air time on MTV. The show was pretty raw with even Simpson's farts included — as well as her infamous Chicken of the Sea observation — and it was a huge success. However, living under a microscope didn't help. Their marriage was in big trouble in 2005 — as Lachey was off with his boys at strip clubs and she was lusting over married Dukes of Hazzard co-star Johnny Knoxville.
By November of that year, she secretly moved out one weekend when Lachey was away on a boys' trip. He returned to find her gone. She revealed in the book that she slept with Lachey once after their split, but felt "no connection," making her realize she made the right decision.
“We were young and pioneering our way through reality television, always mic’d and always on,” Simpson has said. “We worked and we were great at it but when it came time to being alone, we weren’t great at it anymore.”
Lachey went on to marry Vanessa Minnillo, who starred in the video for the breakup anthem, "What's Left of Me," he released after his divorce — and they also have three children. That couple has hosted the dating shows and Minnillo recently said on The Ultimatum that Lachey's very public divorce from Simpson was hard on their relationship when they first got together.
Minnillo and Lachey typically avoid discussing Simpson as much as possible. Two years earlier, there was a very awkward moment when they were asked about sending a baby gift to Simpson after she welcomed a baby. Minnillo awkwardly interrupted in to say that they didn't send Simpson anything, making it clear they don't talk.