Since putting his boy band days behind him, Nick Lachey has established himself as quite the family man. However, the singer has admitted that he had a trial run at fatherhood before welcoming his three children with Vanessa Minnillo. As a result, he doesn’t consider his son Camden his first born at all.
Lachey first found fame as the frontman of ’90s boy band 98 Degrees. With the group, the singer sold more that 10 million records, making him a multi-platinum artist. And off stage, Lachey enjoyed all the attention that fame had brought him.
Lachey first met fellow singer Jessica Simpson in 1998, and after dating on-and-off for four years, the couple married in 2002. The MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica documented the honeymoon period of the couple’s marriage. However, after three years as man and wife, the couple filed for divorce, having had no children together.
But Lachey wasn’t single for long. In 2006 television star and former beauty queen Vanessa Minnillo starred in the singer’s “What’s Left of Me” music video. Needless to say, the pair hit things off. They soon began dating, and in 2011 they finally tied the knot at a lavish ceremony on Richard Branson’s private island.
Reflecting on their romance, in 2010 Lachey told CNN, “I think I knew pretty early on that we would be a good match, that I loved her,” he added. “So I would say, within the first six months we dated, I probably knew that was the one I wanted to be with.”
However, for both Lachey and his bride, marriage was just the start of their adventure together. “For us, this is just a stepping stone to do what we ultimately want and that’s to start a family together,” Minnillo revealed in an interview with People in 2011.
And that’s just what the couple did. Lachey and Minnillo welcomed their first child, a boy named Camden, in 2012. Moreover, they had no intention of stopping their family there. “We definitely want more kids,” the pair told Parents magazine in 2014.
So in January 2015 Lachey and Minnillo added daughter Brooklyn to their brood. Another son named Phoenix followed in December 2016, and the couple are yet to rule out the possibility of having more children in the future.
Speaking to People in January 2018, Minnillo revealed, “We feel very complete, but that being said… we just love children and we love having a big family. We’re both content, but if for some crazy reason [another pregnancy] were to happen, we wouldn’t be devastated.”
However, as Lachey weighed up the possibility of a fourth child, it turned out that the singer already considered himself a quadruple-time parent. In 2017 the star took to Instagram to share an image of himself cuddling up to his “first born.” However, it wasn’t eldest son Camden that he held in his arms.
Instead, Lachey cradled his dog Wookie with all the affection of a doting dad. And his fondness for his fluffy friend wasn’t lost on his 620,000 followers. “Gorgeous family, and the dog is pretty cute also,” one person gushed in the comment section.
However, for Lachey at least, Wookie was very much part of his brood, not extra to it. He and Minnillo got the dog when he was just a puppy, long before they even married. And because of him, Lachey says they had the perfect “trial run” at playing mom and dad.
In an interview with Today in 2017, Lachey said, “He literally just turned 10 years old this past April. He’s a great dog and in a lot of ways was our first child — still is our first child. He’s always been a part of our family.”
He added, “When you talk to people who have kids and don’t have dogs, they refuse to see the connection between having a dog and using that as a little bit of a training ground, but we totally, totally buy into that. It’s obviously different having a child and having a dog. But in a lot of ways, some of the principles apply, with patience and things like that.”
Luckily then, Lachey’s three kid’s don’t mind sharing their father’s attention with Wookie. “They love Wookie,” the proud dad revealed. “Wookie likes to cuddle up next to you on the couch and snuggle up. He’s definitely a lap dog. Then if Wookie’s not around, Camden’s the first to say, ‘Where’s Wookie?’”
In fact, when People honored the Lachey family with a mention in its Most Beautiful edition, it was Camden who insisted that Wookie should be part of the photoshoot. “So if you see the spread in People, there’s Wookie on the couch with the family,” Lachey told Today.
Given how much Wookie means to Lachey and his family, the singer ensures his dog has the best of everything. “He’s definitely lived a privileged life,” he admitted. “He’s the dog in a designer bag in first class under the seat, and he’s been that way since he was a puppy.”
Since Lachey always has Wookie’s best interests at heart, the dog’s health is of the utmost importance. So when the animal started to itch for no apparent reason, the singer worried. At first, he thought the mysterious ailment could be down to fleas.
However, a visit to a veterinary clinic revealed that Wookie had experienced an allergic reaction. As a result, Lahey later joined forces with pharmaceutical company Zoetis to promote an anti-itching medication known as Apoquel.
After all, Lachey would hate for other pets to have to suffer the way that his dog had because seeing Wookie distressed had not been nice for the singer. “We love the old boy,” he admitted. “Definitely a part of our family. For sure.”