At the time, the 98 Degrees singer was untangling himself from one of the premiere love stories of the early '00s, his three-year, partially televised marriage to Jessica Simpson, and had just dated Kristin Cavallari for a hot second. Vanessa Minnillo had been dating none other than King of New York Derek Jeter on and off for several years. If anything, the two would have seemed like perfect rebound candidates for each other.
The whole thing started when Vanessa played the woman who's ripping Nick's heart out in his video for "What's Left of Me," the breakup-inspired ballad that to date is his biggest single as a solo artist. Lachey (and Simpson) had met Minnillo many times before on TRL, which she hosted between 2003 and 2007, but only in passing.