When Vanessa and Nick Lachey co-host the 2018 Miss USA Competition on Monday, the couple may get a bit sentimental.
“We first met judging Miss Teen USA in early 2003,” says Nick, a member of 98 Degrees. Adds Vanessa, “I was heading to New York to host TRL and he was like, ‘I’ve been on that show with my band.’ Who knew we’d end up getting married!”
For Vanessa, who won the title of Miss Teen USA in 1998, the event is even more personal. “When I was 17 and won, that was the moment my life changed,” she says. “It gave me confidence to have my own voice and follow my true self. It was such an empowering thing.”
“Now I’m excited for the next generation!” she says. “And I’m honored that I get to stand on the stage with my husband who has supported me as a woman, as a mother and as me.”
After meeting 15 years ago, the pair began dating in 2006 and married in 2011. At home, they are busy with their three kids: Camden, 5, Brooklyn, 3, and Phoenix, 16 months.
“We try to balance,” says Vanessa. “One day I might be going to the grocery store and I’ll bring Brooklyn and it turns into mommy-daughter time.”
Says Nick: “Now that Camden is in t-ball, there’s no way I’m letting Vanessa have that one. We have games on Saturday, practice on Sunday. It’s really fun that he’s getting into sports because we can bond over it. I like to be a part of it as much as the coach will let me! It’s fun to see him getting better. As your kids get older, they start to find their passions.”
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Still, the couple makes it a point to have the occasional date night. “It’s more important now than ever,” says Nick. “The kids are so much a priority, but we need to carve out that one-on-one time.”
The 2018 Miss USA Competition, which takes place at the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana, airs Monday, May 21 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.