"When I look at Nick, I still get butterflies in my stomach," Vanessa Lachey says in PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive issue

They’ve been married for eight years, but Vanessa and Nick Lachey haven’t lost that spark.

“When I look at Nick, I still get butterflies in my stomach,” Vanessa, 39, tells PEOPLE in this week’s Sexiest Man Alive issue. “I look at him and I go, ‘He’s mine!'”

But it’s not just about how he makes her feel. Vanessa says her 98 Degrees singer husband, 46, goes out of his way to be an equal partner at home and with their three children, Camden, 7, Brooklyn, 4 and Phoenix, 2.

nick and Vanessa lachey
Vanessa and Nick Lachey
| Credit: Francesco Secci

“He cleans the pool, he does lawn work and he does the laundry,” Vanessa says. “And no matter how late he worked the night before, he’s up at 6 a.m. with the kids no matter what. Because he knows I’m not a morning person.”

And when it comes to Nick’s daily attire, Vanessa is unequivocal about her favorite look.

“The sexiest on him is a white tee shirt, baggy jeans and Timberlands with a backwards hat,” she says. “It’s like boy band peak. And I’m transported to my childhood.”

  • For more from the Sexiest Man Alive issue, featuring all the hottest guys in Hollywood, click here and pick up this week’s PEOPLE, on stands Friday, Nov. 15!
John legend
Credit: Doug Inglish

Still, Nick jokes that romantic serenades are infrequent. “It wouldn’t be this incredibly sexy moment,” he says. “But there have been times that she’s seen me in concert and gone, ‘Wow.'”

Ultimately, Vanessa says she’s grateful for a husband who supports her — and knows what she needs.

“In this day and age, yes, I am a very independent woman and I am a mother of three and I’m a badass, but I am still Nick’s wife,” she says. “And I am still a woman who likes to be told she looks beautiful and have the door opened for me. He lets me do what I want work-wise, but then he puts me on a pedestal. It’s the best of both worlds.”