After an inspiring trip to Africa with Operation Smile in 2005, Jessica Simpson received the clarity she needed to end her relationship with Nick Lachey, she revealed in her new memoir, Open Book. The decision came after months of trouble, including intense fights, lots of time spent apart and more. Jessica said that she and her then-husband “were not even speaking to each other” when she told him she wanted a divorce, and but he still “immediately tried to talk [her] out of leaving him.” The pair announced their separation on Nov. 22, but even weeks later, Nick was still convinced that it wasn’t over.
At that point, Jessica went to the home she shared with Nick and took the belongings that meant something to her, including the dog they shared, which made Nick very mad. “Despite his anger, and maybe because of it, he was still intent on not letting me go,” Jessica explained. She told him that she was going to file divorce papers on Dec. 15, which led him to drive to her parents house to try and win her back. “He tried talking to my parents, getting them to rethink things, but I asked them to leave,” Jessica admitted. “This was my decision.”
Jessica said that Nick promised to go to counseling to fix things, but it was too little too late. “‘You didn’t go when we needed it,'” she told him. “He didn’t like me, so I didn’t understand what it was he was trying to save.” She wrote that Nick begged her not to leave him, but at that point, “love was not enough.” Eventually, Nick walked out, and Jessica filed the divorce papers.
It wasn’t long before Nick started talking about the breakup in the press, while also releasing emotional songs — like “What’s Left of Me” and “I Can’t Hate You Anymore” — about the split. One night, Jessica even stayed home and watched a documentary about the making of his new album. “I watched him portray himself as the victim, casting me as this selfish person,” Jessica recalled. “He then mentioned that the door was still open for us to get back together. It was so disrespectful and dragged me into this orbit when i was just starting to leave it.”
The whole situation made Jessica “mad,” which actually led her to call Nick so they could meet up one last time. “Despite my anger, I missed him,” she admitted. Together, they listened to his entire album — which had a lot of dig at her. “I was numb, just blank,” Jess wrote. “How do you react when you find out you have apparently hurt someone so deeply that they feel entitled to such action? I felt manipulated into some revenge fantasy, but I had put myself in this situation.” Because she had no way of making herself feel better, she slept with her ex-husband, but said that she felt “no connection.”
After that, Jessica had the confirmation she needed to go through with filing the divorce. The pair’s marriage officially ended in 2006, with Nick eventually marrying Vanessa Minillo and Jessica tying the knot with Eric Johnson.