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HAPPY NEW YEAR
Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey rang in 2005 together at hot Miami club Mansion. The couple celebrated with pal Wilmer Valderrama, who cohosted the party with the Black Eyed Peas.
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Simpson and Lachey engaged in a friendly battle over their People's Choice award for favorite reality show backstage at the event on Jan. 9.
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When asked if kids were on the horizon for Simpson and Lachey (sunning on vacation in Maui on Dec. 16), she demurred, "Daisy the dog is it for now." Added Lachey, "This is a great time in our lives and careers."
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"I think our relationship is better than it's ever been, actually," Simpson told PEOPLE about her almost three-year-old marriage with Lachey. The couple (sampling her Dessert line of skin care and beauty products in New York City) tied the knot Oct. 26, 2002.
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SHARING THE SPOTLIGHT
Lachey – with Simpson at the American Music Awards on Nov. 14 – called reports that he's jealous of his wife's career complete "nonsense. There's no bigger supporter in Jessica's life than me. Her success is my success."
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WITH THIS RING ...
"We never even thought about" breaking up, Simpson said of tabloid talk that their relationship was on the rocks. Out on the town, the couple displayed their togetherness: (top) Lachey presents Simpson with flowers after leaving L.A. eatery Koi on Oct. 23, while (bottom) Simpson gives her wedding ring a loving kiss before heading into Hollywood hotspot Avalon on Nov. 13.
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MERRY CHRISTMAS, BABY
A widely circulated email from a worker at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony described Lachey and Simpson giving each other the cold shoulder at the Nov. 30 event. Not so, an onlooker told PEOPLE: "Everything seemed just peachy." Added Lachey's spokesperson, "(They're) really sick and tired of having to shoot these rumors down all the time."
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Lachey and Simpson spent the weekend before his 31st birthday (Nov. 9) celebrating at the Hard Rock Hotel amp Casino in Las Vegas – with 50 of their closest friends. "I gave him some great sports memorabilia and some beautiful cufflinks," says Simpson, who also presented her Ohio native husband with a Cincinnati Reds jersey signed by baseball great Pete Rose. "He loved everything."
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DOGGIE MAKES THREE
Lachey surprised his wife when he showed up unexpectedly at the Dallas stop of her tour on July 10, her 24th birthday. And he didn't come empty-handed: He gave Simpson a Maltese-poodle puppy, which she named Daisy.
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THEIR LITTLE GIRL
Simpson's father Joe, a Baptist minister, was initially reluctant to have his daughter (pictured in New York City on Nov. 30) marry at the young age of 22. And mom Tina (in N.Y.C. on Nov. 9) was nervous about the couple doing Newlyweds. "I know what it's like during the first year of marriage – you have so many changes and things to get used to," she told PEOPLE.
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To prepare for The Nick amp Jessica Variety Hour, which aired on ABC in 2004, Simpson and Lachey watched a DVD set of Sonny amp Cher episodes from the 1970s. Clay Aiken called the couple (whose second variety special, Nick amp Jessica's Family Christmas, aired Dec. 1) "the new George Burns and Gracie Allen."
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While Simpson was in Louisiana filming her role as Daisy Duke in the big-screen version of The Dukes of Hazzard, the couple's time together was very limited. But, Simpson (dressed as Three's Company's Chrissy, with Lachey as Jack, at a Halloween party in L.A.) told PEOPLE, "When we're apart, we talk all through the day, not just before we go to bed."
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CARRY ON, FOLKS
"Everything is cool with us. Life is great. Career is great. Things have never been better," Lachey (giving Simpson a lift to the stage during a Super Bowl edition of MTV's TRL in February) said. "Don't believe the crap out there. Everything is wonderful."
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"It is definitely the end of that era," Lachey (celebrating Simpson's 24th birthday in Dallas on Nov. 10) told PEOPLE about deciding not to continue the Newlyweds show. "We were both ready to move on from that and it had kind of run its course.
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