TBT: Pete Wentz Thought His Marriage to Ashlee Simpson Was a "Forever Thing"
He didn't anticipate their 2011 divorce.
Who: Billboard Music Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and actress Ashlee Simpson, 38, and Grammy-nominated musician and bassist for the pop-rock band Fall Out Boy, Pete Wentz, 43.
How They Met: Their love story began at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, where Pete and his bandmates were nominated for Best Group Video for their song “Dance, Dance,” and took home the Viewer’s Choice trophy for the same track. Ashley, meanwhile, attended the award show because her visuals for the song “Invisible” were nominated for Best Cinematography in a Video.
There was an instant attraction between them — however, they both were in relationships with other people at the time (Ashley was with musician Braxton Olita, while Pete was dating Michelle Trachtenberg). “The first day that we met we were attracted to each other,” Ashlee told People during a joint interview with Pete back in 2008. Pete added, “We were dating other people [but] we were actually good. Neither one of us did anything.”
“He’s a cutie, of course, and he has an awesome personality and kind of brings out the best of me, and I knew that even before we were dating,” Ashlee continued. “There was just like an awesome connection we had.”
Though they tried their best to keep their relationship out of the spotlight, it was nearly impossible. A few months after the VMAs, Ashlee and Pete were photographed entering a Grammys party arm-in-arm and vacationing together in Cabo, before officially making their couple debut at the opening of Wentz’s now-closed New York City lounge, Angels & Kings, in April 2007.
A year later, they got engaged, and a month after that, the two wed during a gothic Alice in Wonderland-themed ceremony and announced they were expecting their first child, Bronx Mowgli.
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Why We Loved Them: Ashlee and Pete were a match made in emo heaven. They both wore heavy black eyeliner, had emo bangs (that were long, straight, and severely swooped to one side), and rarely smiled for photos.
The two even shared clothes. “I really borrow almost everything,” said Pete during the couple’s joint People interview, to which Ashlee confirmed, “We mix our clothes pretty much.”
Pete continued, “I ruin her pants by wearing them. [When] I was on Today, I wore a pair of her pants.” Ashlee elaborated, “And I was in the back. I couldn’t go out because he gave me his pants to put on and they wouldn’t stay on,” Ashlee added. “So, he wore mine and I sat down in the dressing room.”
When They Peaked: On Ashlee's 23rd birthday in 2007. For the special occasion, Pete threw the "Boyfriend" singer an '80s prom-themed party, where they were naturally crowned king and queen and shared a first dance in front of all 200 of their guests.
The Breakup: In February 2011, Ashlee filed for divorce from Pete following almost three years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.
“After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to file for divorce,” the couple said in a joint statement at the time. “We remain friends and deeply committed and loving parents to our son Bronx, whose happiness and well-being remains our No. 1 priority. We ask that everyone honor our privacy as we navigate this next phase of our lives.”
Four years later, Pete opened up to Howard Stern about the couple's breakup and what led to the end of their marriage. “I thought it was a forever thing,” he said during the 2015 interview. “I’m not the kind of guy … My parents have been married, I think, 35 years. Forty years, this year, maybe? But no, I didn’t [anticipate the split]. At the same time, we were both very young.”
He went on to reveal that things between them started to unravel when Fall Out Boy took a hiatus in 2010. “At 31, we’d had all these great years as a band, and then we took time off, and I basically became Mr. Mom,” he said. “I had the beard, the flannel shirt. I didn’t know what my identity was. That factored in. When your identity is what you do, it’s hard when you stop doing it."
At the time, Pete said he stopped caring about his "personal hygiene" as a result of being "bummed out." When asked if he felt betrayed by Ashlee for breaking up with him at one of his lowest points, Pete replied: "I would be an idiot to think that I didn’t contribute to the unraveling of it. Of course, at first, I’m like, ‘This sucks! You bailed on me!' But you get perspective. We have a kid together. Our kid is awesome. He’s great.”
Where They Are Now: Several months after filing for divorce from Pete, Ashlee struck up a brief romance with actor Vincent Piazza, before ultimately meeting her now-husband Evan Ross. She and Evan married in 2014 at the musician's mother Diana Ross's Connecticut estate, and they share two children together — a daughter, Jagger Snow, 7, and 2-year-old son, Ziggy Blu.
Ashlee stopped making music in 2012 (her final single was "Bat for a Heart") and has since moved into the interior design space as the creative director at the furniture brand Kempa Home.
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Wentz began dating his now-girlfriend model Meagan Camper in September 2011 (seven months after his split from Simpson). While they never married, the couple welcomed a son named Saint Lazslo in 2014, and a daughter, Marvel Jane, three years later.
Pete's band Fall Out Boy resumed making music in 2013, and has since released five albums — including one titled So Much [For] Stardust earlier this month and will embark on an accompanying world tour in June.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
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