According to The Associated Press, the pop singers released this joint statement: “After three years of marriage, and careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways. This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other. We hope that you respect our privacy during this time.”
Before their hit reality show, Newlyweds, aired on MTV in October 2002, the two were trying to advance mid-level music careers. Since the show aired and became a huge hit, Simpson, 25, and Lachey, 32, have shot to super-stardom, becoming household names and each launching several side careers.
Simpson’s burgeoning career, however, has certainly taken precedent of late. She snagged a major role in this summer’s hit remake of The Dukes of Hazzard, playing Daisy Duke, and she has her own beauty line that includes flavored body creams.
Lachey, on the other hand, has made some guest appearances on the TV show Charmed, and his latest record sales have been rather weak.
Since their celebrity explosion, the couple have been dogged by rumors that their marriage was in trouble. Us Weekly reported that they split in an Oct. 17 issue, but Simpson and Lachey brushed the speculation aside and insisted they were still together.
Even in the December-January issue of Teen People, which went on newsstands earlier this month, Simpson denied rumors. "Hopefully mine and Nick's story will continue for the rest of our lives, like what we vowed, through sickness and in health," said Simpson, who famously professed that she remained a virgin until she got married, AP reports.
The couple wed in October 2002, back when they were known simply as pop singers. But Simpson hadn't achieved the multiplatinum successes of peers Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, while Lachey was a member of the boy band 98 Degrees, which sold far fewer albums than such acts as 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys.