Vanessa Lachey considers Netflix her fairy godmother.
Not only did the streamer hire the former MTV VJ and her husband, 98 Degrees frontman Nick Lachey, to be the hosts of their super successful reality dating show Love Is Blind, they unknowingly provided the pair with free couples therapy.
“The two guys at Netflix, Brandon [Riegg] and Derek [Wan], who gave us this opportunity, I don’t know that they realize — I don’t know that we realize — how good it was for our marriage,” Lachey, 42, tells Scary Mommy over a video call. “If you think of working with your spouse, you’re probably like, ‘Oh my god. Absolutely not.’ Right? But it has been the best marriage therapy for us.”
Vanessa says that going on these “work trips” and getting all glammed up with Nick, 49, is priceless for their relationship — not to mention witnessing the ins and outs of couples who get engaged sight unseen after falling for each other in closed-off, soundproofed “pods.”
“It’s been the biggest blessing that we’ve been able to work together because we get that time together. And so, for that, I’m forever grateful,” she continues. “And it’s a little guilt-free because I’m like, ‘Mommy and Daddy have to go to work. We’ll be back in a few days!’”
The Lacheys have three kids — Camden, 10, Brooklyn, 8, and Phoenix, 6 — and live in Hawaii, where Vanessa headlines NCIS: Hawaii. While Love Is Blind is filming, they go back and forth to join the shoot, appearing in the opening scene, reunion special, and check-ins throughout each season.
Although Season 4 has yet to debut — no news yet on a release date — Vanessa says she and Nick are shooting Season 6 this spring. (Production on Seasons 4 and 5 was completed last year.)
“We shot them simultaneously,” she said of the seasons. “So we did the pods, and then two weeks later, we did the pods of the next season. Then we did the vacation, and two weeks later, the vacation of the next season. So, they’ve worked it out. The logistics have been great.”
Like most, Vanessa had no idea Love Is Blind would become such a cultural phenomenon. After the Season 1 premiere in February 2020, it seemed all anyone could talk about was Lauren and Cameron Hamilton, Barnett’s shady dating, and gold wine chalices.
The COVID-19 lockdown only heightened the addiction.
“We didn’t expect it,” Vanessa says of the dating series’ fandom. “And I think that’s probably why it’s been so rewarding for us is that we’re just grateful that it has been so well received. And we’re grateful that we continue to be able to make them.”
The second and third seasons both aired in 2022, with more couples deciding to say “I do” after weeks of processing why they’d get engaged to someone they’ve never met in person. Sometimes, it works out (Lauren and Cameron are still going strong!); other times, it ends in divorce (our love to Season 2’s Iyanna McNeeley and Jarette Jones, and Danielle Ruhl and Nick Thompson).
Vanessa says it’s the “reality” of it all that makes it appealing — especially those reunion episodes, which usually film for up to four hours. (Although viewers only get to see an hour of it, something Vanessa hopes “progresses” in the future so more of the drama can be shown.)
“We sit down with them and we say, ‘Guys, listen, this is what it is. This is your chance to clear the air.’ I never want to be disrespectful. I always would ask someone a question that I would want to be asked,” Vanessa says of her to-the-point finale questioning, which has received praise from fans. “I’ve been on both sides of the camera, so to speak, so I’ll never come at their throats. Unless, of course, they’re extremely disrespectful, ahem. But, yeah, I don’t think they fully knew what they were getting into, but once they were there, they were open. It is a reality show, and they’re wanting to talk about things, and they’re wanting to express themselves.”
Of course, there’s an entirely different side of Vanessa’s life that doesn’t revolve around pods, reunions, or reality TV.
She’s currently partnering with chocolate brand Kinder Joy to celebrate the launch of their birthday pack, which holds 15 chocolate eggs filled with a cocoa cream treat and a surprise toy. Vanessa recently used them as her daughter Brooklyn’s party favors.
“They come in the box, you prop it open, your child writes their name on it, and it’s done,” she explains. “Anything that can make my life easier, but [I can] still have moments with my daughter and still make her feel special. That’s perfect.”
“I can’t bake 30 cupcakes right now. I will, but I can’t,” Vanessa jokes.
Her dog begins barking just as I’m about to ask her how she balances it all: birthday parties, TV career, marriage. Vanessa calms her pet, takes a beat, and says her family comes first.
“When Nick and I were dating, we always put each other first. I don’t mean that selfishly, I just meant we put each other first in terms of decision-making — whether it was a job or a vacation or a meeting. Then when we had kids, we put our family first,” she says. “So balancing, for me, it is hard. I’m number one on the call sheet [for NCIS: Hawaii], so everyone expects a lot of me, but I can’t let my family go in the back seat. I put them first and made that clear: ‘I will give you 110% when I’m here, but my family always comes first.’ And they respect and honor that.”
Her biggest thing now is finding that “me” time, which Vanessa says gets more and more difficult each year. She has, however, tried to rewire her brain into thinking family time is personal time. Vanessa and Nick recently stayed overnight at a local hotel in Hawaii, where they had dinner, slept in, and recharged. Then the other day, she climbed into bed with her kids and watched a movie.
“I love that my me time is built with my family, and I guess my ‘me’ me time is on set on my lunch break,” she says, cheekily. “As I get older, that will become more, and this time with them will become less, but that’s just the evolution of a mother.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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