Is Jessica Simpson the Model Wife?

Lachey also admits that her habit of placing candles and flowers around their house has helped turn it into a home — though she could never be the next Martha Stewart. "Cleaning? Forget about it," says Lachey, who, as viewers have seen, at least has taught his wife (an admitted spoiled child) how to pick up after herself.

3. She helps lighten him up: Simpson's laid-back demeanor has rubbed off on her more tightly wound husband.

"He loves how free-spirited I am and he wants to be just like me!" she said on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on March 17. Recording sessions and performances aside, Simpson — the butt of many ditsy-blonde jokes — does not take herself too seriously, something Lachey is still figuring out how to do.

Case in point: Lachey's spoofing by Justin Timberlake on Saturday Night Live.

"They mocked his boy-band past," notes a source close to the couple, "but she made it OK — she shows Nick how to laugh at himself."

4. She keeps the passion burning: The virgin-till-married bride surprised Lachey with a sexy performance with the Pussycat Dolls for his 30th birthday last November.

"They couldn't keep their eyes off each other," says Us fashion director Hayley Hill, who styled Simpson that evening in Roberto Cavalli. And while vacationing at Las Ventanas al Paraíso resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, in February, a bikini-clad Simpson snapped pictures of her hunky husband poolside. But the couple's hottest moments happen in private. "Romance for me is just being with Nick," Simpson tells Us.

"It doesn't have to be an elaborate scenario. We love to take bubble baths, drink wine and listen to jazz."

5. She gives Nick her undivided attention: Simpson is constantly surrounded by a team of handlers (publicist, parents, hairstylist), yet she's always tuned in to Lachey.

During a recent dinner conversation, Simpson paused to make sure the waiter had Lachey's order right. Says a friend of the couple, "The only opinion she cares about is Nick's. They disappear into each other."

Simpson also knows how to make her husband feel special. "I think it's good for the male ego to be complimented," she tells Us. "Nick and I are emotional people, so that's how we connect."

6. She can't live without him: "We try to spend as much time together as we can," Simpson tells Us. "If we're working while we do it, at least we're together."

Of course, more often than not, she's the one who is on the job and Lachey is standing nearby, ready to hand off her microphone (as he did before her Sugar Bowl performance) or simply provide much-needed confidence. As she told Us in January, just after the couple hosted Saturday Night Live: "I'm always better when I have Nick around."

His presence certainly came in handy in March, when the couple made a quick trip to Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa in Mexico so Simpson could host a contest for MTV's Spring Break 2004 and perform her latest single, "Take My Breath Away."

At the end of the day, Nick got stuck wheeling Jessica's luggage," an eyewitness tells Us. "He had this look on his face like, 'I'm only doing this because I love this girl.' "

7. She lets him know she's committed: Simpson's marriage role models? "My grandparents. They have been through all kinds of drama, and still today, after 50 years, my grandfather will pinch my grandmother's butt and tell her she's hot. They are madly in love," she tells Us.

And to all the naysayers out there who think the Simpson-Lachey union is headed for Splitsville, Drew Lachey assures Us, "Nick and Jessica's marriage is stronger than ever."

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