The crowd at the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award bash honoring Tom Ford on March 28 was a who's who of Hollywood's hottest couples: Demi and Ashton, Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson, and Mischa Barton and Brandon Davis. So where were the stars of MTV's hit reality series Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica?
Although the couple — she's 23, he's 30 — had been set to attend (Simpson even had a Gucci outfit selected), "Jess was just too tired to go to the party," her mother, Tina Simpson, tells Us.
"She and Nick have been going nonstop, and they just needed to crash at home."
Indeed, as their private time has become precious, their 6,400-square-foot home outside Los Angeles seems to be their favorite destination. Simpson herself tells Us, "The part of my day I look forward to the most is when the cameras are gone, the lights are out. We're lying in the bed, it's just me and him."
But it's not as if the Newlyweds, married 18 months, have a lot of downtime. In the last few months, Simpson's reissue of In This Skin hit No. 2 on the Billboard charts. She and Lachey scored his-and-hers deals with ABC (she'll star in a sitcom pilot in which she'll play Jessica Sampson, a TV reporter; he has been cast as an aspiring actor-handyman opposite Gina Gershon in the comedy pilot Hot Mom), and The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour airs April 11 on ABC.
And let's face it, keeping their marriage hot is a job all its own. While MTV viewers often see how Lachey caters to his wife (he had a custom closet built for her), his brother Drew Lachey, 27, says "the fact that she supports him as well is underplayed."
That's intentional. "Conflict makes good TV," Simpson's father, Joe, one of the show's producers, tells Us. "If it was all about their romance, we'd bore you to death." But that's where Simpson really shines — as a wife who is more committed to her marriage than her career.
Here's a look at the little things she does for Nick that you don't see on TV.
1. She makes his hobbies her own: This past Valentine's Day, as seen on the Newlyweds' season finale, Simpson presented Lachey with a golf membership to the Calabasas Golf & Country Club. "It was like heaven to him," she tells Us.
And who can forget her willingness to test the wild by camping with Lachey? "It's an amazing sign of respect for her husband to try [things she has never done before]," Simpson's longtime hairstylist, Ken Pavés, tells Us.
That she took an interest in athletics says something about her priorities. As a kid, she hated sports — the closest she got to a football field was when she walked on the turf in heels as homecoming princess (she was elected twice). But now that she's married to an ex-high school jock and obsessive football fan, she can often be found on the couch with Lachey watching ESPN.
"I can stand to watch one game. It's when it becomes six in one day — that's a little annoying," says Simpson.
Her solution? Go shopping.
"I just look at it as the perfect time for me to go do what he doesn't want to do."
2. She's more of a homemaker than you might think: So what if she burns pancakes and can't identify oregano? Simpson does know her way around the kitchen.
"Nick wanted me to be a woman before he married me, so I took cooking classes," she says. And they paid off! "I love her cooking," says Lachey.
"Her chili is awesome. Her beef stew is really good. She cooks great Southwestern chicken."