America's love for television love is one for the ages. When "The Dating Game" was first beamed into homes in 1965, it was love at first sight, at least for the show's passionate viewers. In the years and decades to follow, there would be spin-offs by different names (such as "Love Connection"), with new pick-up lines, and eventually new rules of attraction – from dating 25 people at once ("The Bachelor"), to getting married first and asking questions later ("Married at First Sight").
But in the family tree of dating shows, there's nothing quite like "Love Is Blind," the Netflix series where singles mingle behind walls before deciding to pop the question, sight unseen.
To watch a trailer for "Love Is Blind" click on the video player below:
Husband and wife celebrity hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey call "Love Is Blind" a new take on an old way of courting.
"What I think is so fascinating is, it's how love used to be," said Vanessa. "People used to – if we're going back back – it's sending letters, and then it was letters and a phone call, and you always courted this person."
And with conversation, said Nick, "you get to know someone so intimately, so quickly."
Vanessa said, "I remember specifically someone saying, 'I dated this girl for three years, and I've already talked to people in these walls more than I have with my girlfriend of three years.'"
So, eight weeks from "Hello" to "I do"? "That sounds insane," said Vigliotti.
"It does!" said Vanessa. "And you're probably like 100% of the people who sign up for the show. And then in the end, they're like, 'Man, I'm a believer!'"
Once engaged, participants, in what producers call a "social experiment," meet each other's friends and family, before walking down the aisle. For some, the real world is too much. But in the show's three seasons, six couples have gotten married.
Vanessa said, "When you take one of the senses away, the others are heightened. I think you feel more, you listen more, you're forced to listen, 'cause you can't watch them and get distracted by them and by their, whether it's a wonky eyebrow, or if he's, like, checking out cleavage or whatever it is, that's all taken away."
"When you hit those challenges, the idea is that you can rely and fall back on that incredible emotional connection that allowed you to propose to someone you never saw before," said Nick.
The Lacheys have hit their own "speed bumps" on the road to love. They first met in 2003, then just friends. Nick was the lead singer of the boy band 98 Degrees, and married to fellow pop star Jessica Simpson. The couple even had their own reality show. Vanessa was a veejay on MTV's "Total Request Live," where Nick often appeared as a guest.
In 2006, after Nick and Jessica Simpson went through a very public divorce, Nick and Vanessa's chemistry changed. "So, now we're both single, he told me we had the same birthday," said Vanessa. "I'll never forget, we were in New York and I was like, Hellllloooo, Nick Lachey! It just all came together."
"And then I thought, what better way to make sure your music video gets played on 'TRL' than to ask a veejay to star in your music video?" said Nick.
Their romance really picked up on their first "official" date, as Vanessa recalled: "It was like 11:30 at night, and I had come from work, he had been performing. He's like, 'You want to get a bite to eat?' The only thing open in Trenton, New Jersey, at 11:30 at night was Hooters. So, that is our love story."
Vigliotti said, "I'm afraid to ask: what did you order?"
"Well, everyone knows they have the best wings!" Nick laughed.
Those wings (take note, Valentines) eventually led to marriage in 2011, and three children.
When producers from "Love Is Blind" asked the couple to host the show together, they say there was no hesitation.
"They made literally our dreams come true in terms of being able to work together, being able to spend time together, making our marriage stronger ultimately in the end," said Vanessa.
"Fifteen years is a long time for any couple," Vigliotti said. "Couple in the spotlight? I mean, that's a lifetime."
"It's like dog years," said Vanessa. "In, like, celebrity years, we've been together for, like, a thousand, right?"
The Lacheys say compromise has helped them hang on, like when they moved to Honolulu in 2022, so the family could be together while Vanessa taped "NCIS: Hawaii," the CBS show in which she stars.
Another key comes straight out of the show they host: communication. Which is why they started seeing a marriage counselor.
"I have to work at how I communicate with him," she said. "He has to work at understanding me and how I've changed and evolved. And we have to work at putting each other first, and as our therapist says, turning towards each other, not just physically, but emotionally."
"Yeah, I think, like, anything that's meaningful in your life, it's worth working at and working for," he added.
That work has paid off, as in how the couple now takes turns answering questions. They decide who answers by playing rock-paper-scissors. "I hardly ever win," said Nick.
In love and marriage, in real life and, yes, even on TV, sometimes it's the little gestures that matter most.
Vanessa said, "Love is blind, and love is a lot of things. Love is work, and it should be a fun job. It should be something that you're excited to work at."
For more info:
- "Love Is Blind" is streaming on Netflix
- "The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On" - Vanessa and Nick Lachey introduce us to six couples on the verge of marriage (or not!). Streaming now on Netflix
- "Perfect Match" - Nick Lachey hosts singles in a tropical paradise attempting to find love. Streaming on Netflix beginning February 14
- Kinetic Content
Story produced by Julie Kracov. Editor: Steven Tyler.
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