Remember how it seemed like the end for Lachey, when his boy band, 98 Degrees, lost its footing and dissolved? But he just climbed to a higher realm of fame with Newlyweds, MTV's reality show about his marriage to Jessica Simpson. "Well, now it's over," media types sniffed when the couple split. But by then, gossip rags and tabloid TV had taken an interest in the photogenic (and slightly nutty) couple. What -- or, let's be honest, who -- would they do next? To this day, that question seems to propel Lachey's career.
Sure, he's technically still a recording artist. But is that really why he's famous? After 98 Degrees disbanded, he continued to dole out solo albums with treacly ballads aimed at teen girls. But music has hardly been his calling card. (His most successful CD, 2006's "hit" What's Left Of Me, only went gold -- a fraction of the millions sold by 98 Degrees.) His latest album was scheduled for release right about now, but it's been put on hold.
Meanwhile, the magazine covers keep coming. Photos featuring his ripped torso are staples at magazines like Star and Us Weekly. But it's hardly his music that puts him there. Lachey is a fixture on the Hollywood nightclub circuit, and often photographed with other gorgeous celebrities. And the rags love to follow his on-again-off-again relationship with the actress and TV host Vanessa Minnillo.
Because of the media attention, a number of "celebrity host" gigs and TV guest spots have come Lachey's way. Most recently, he hosted NBC's a cappella singing competition, The Sing Off, in December. He and Minnillo just appeared on MTV's New Year's Eve 2010 special -- the sort of appearance that's become Lachey's forté. Plus, he's a founder of Winnit.com, an online auction site.
And of course, Lachey hops from one talk show couch to the next. This will be his third appearance on Rachael Ray. As a guy who's built a career on the media's play-by-play coverage of his love life, he's a natural guest for a Valentine's Day segment. He'll offer some nondescript information about his romantic plans for Minnillo, giving viewers the impression that they're in on it with him. And then he'll offer some relationship advice. And actually, he's not a bad guy to dispense it.
What does Nick Lachey do? He sings. He hosts. But most of all, he gets involved with gorgeous, famous women. He's a professional Relationship Guy.