Nick Lachey is having a renaissance of sorts. The former 98 Degrees frontman, 38, is back in the spotlight with his new wife Vanessa Minnillo by his side (they tied the knot in July) and a hosting gig on NBC's "The Sing-Off." During his appearance at "Fiesta in the Square" -- a Tostitos-sponsored event in NYC benefitting Big Brothers, Big Sisters -- Nick talked to omg! about married life, his New Year's resolutions, and his upcoming projects. Hint: None of them involve reality shows.
Nick Lachey helps kick off "Tostitos Fiesta in the Square." Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
How did you get involved with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program?
Big Brothers, Big Sisters is such a great organization. I've been a "big" [brother] for about 8 years now. Just the opportunity to shape a young person's life and be an influence on them, it really is an opportunity to affect the future for everyone. I have always believed that young people are our future. Getting them off on the right path is such an important responsibility. There are a lot of kids out there who are in need of matches, and I encourage everyone … if you have ever had an inclination to do it -- do it! I promise you, you will not regret doing it. It is the most fulfilling thing for the bigs because you develop this relationship that you can see tangibly grow in front of you.
Absolutely. So do you hang out with your "little" a lot?
Yeah. He wants to be a director, so I was able to take him to "Wipeout" and show him the behind the scenes thing. And we got to watch some people absolutely destroy themselves there! We play hoops, check out movies together, grab a bite to eat, [go to] USC games, Angel games. It is really about spending time and letting them know you're there for them, that you care about them, and you've got their back.
So are you kind of like a father figure?
You never want to feel like you are a father to them, it's more like a big brother. You know, "Hey man, you can talk to me about whatever. I am always here." [You're] really there to provide support. In my particular case, [my little's] father passed away when he was just a baby, so he didn't really have a male influence in his life, which is why his mom got him into the program. Hopefully, I've been able to just be a positive male influence for him as he is growing up. (Nick's little is now 15.)
I hear that you're also busy working on a new solo album.
I am getting back in the studio in the beginning of the year. This is the first album that I've ever done where it is kind of a concept album. It's called The Soundtrack of My Life. It contains songs from movie soundtracks that were meaningful to me growing up like "Iris" from the Goo Goo Dolls, "Falling Slowly" from "Once," and "In Your Eyes" from Peter Gabriel.
Lachey hosts "The Sing-Off." Lewis Jacobs/NBC
Why were these songs particularly meaningful?
Well, I lost my virginity to … [Laughs] No, I am kidding.
Oh my …
No, no -- I can't think of anything really specific. The music in "Once" was just so fantastic. That particular song ["Falling Slowly"] we had performed at our wedding shower, so that was kind of a special song for Vanessa and I and that is the reason that it is on there. But most of them are just songs that when I am [watching] a movie, as a musician, the song makes such a difference and they are all songs that just affected me in that moment. Like "Unchained Melody" from "Ghost" when she is doing the pottery. [Laughs]
So is anyone going to collaborate with you on this album?
There are a couple things in the works, but I can't say.
When is the album coming out?
Hopefully late spring, early summer.
You sound pretty busy! Do you get much alone time with Vanessa?
Actually our schedules line up pretty well. When I was doing "Sing Off," she was off, and when she was doing "Wipeout," I was off, so it was good.
Do you ever double date with your brother Drew?
They are in Cincinnati most the time, and we're in L.A. most the time, so we don't get that many opportunities.
I thought you guys had a house in Cincinnati and a house in L.A.?
We do! We try and spend as much time in Cinci as we can, but work is pretty much all [in Los Angeles].
Do you cook at all?
I'm not going to starve to death if I am on my own. I can actually warm something up, but I'm not a cook -- at all. But she's a great cook!
What's your favorite meal that Vanessa makes for you?
She cooks a mean chicken adobo. That's her Filipino dish. Her lasagna is great. She has done this Cajun pulled pork thing where she buys the pork shoulder. It is pretty impressive.
So how do you and Vanessa divvy up the household duties?
I can cook and I can do laundry. Vanessa prefers me not to do her laundry because I tend to discolor things. I kinda work in the yard and she works in the house. It is much better that way.
Seems like married life is treating you well!
It is treating my stomach well, that's for sure! No, it is good.
Nick poses with his wife Vanessa Minnillo. Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Vanessa recently spoke about having kids. Is that something you're thinking about?
Well, it is the next monumental milestone in our lives, but I don't think we are feeling the urgency necessarily. We're just kind of enjoying being in our first year of marriage, but, I am sure that will be the next thing on the horizon.
What qualities does she have that you think would make her a good mom?
Well, first of all, she is great with kids; no matter whose kids they are. So that is a good start. But, she is very nurturing, you know? She didn't have a really substantial relationship with her mom, so when you have something like that in your life, you want to make sure that "I do it better my time around," so I think she'll be a phenomenal mom.
You got married on TV. Will we be seeing the two of you raise your kids on a reality show?
No! The reason we felt comfortable [getting married on TV] is because there was a clear ending. That was a special thing, to have as a … really, the ultimate wedding video. It is a great experience to go back and look at, but as far as doing anything else -- IXNAY on REALITAAAAY.
So what are you two doing for the holidays?
We are just going to spend it in Cincinnati with my family, and see her family shortly after that. We have little kids [around] -- my niece and nephew. It is fun to watch them go through the presents and the whole process.
Do you have any fun holiday traditions? Do you and Drew sing carols?
I know some people gather around the piano and sing carols together, but we don't really do that. We're starting a tradition this year where we'll have our first ever ugly Christmas sweater party. So that will be a staple for years to come.
Are you going to Twitpic that?
Trust me, I am sure there will be. They are heinous. So bad.
Fair enough. So what are your New Year's resolutions?
My New Year's resolution for the past 10 years has always been to stop biting my nails.
That was mine. I actually did it this year!
I did, too! For the first time! Vanessa and I made a deal that I would stop biting my nails.
So I haven't figured out my resolution for this year, but I am not very good about keeping them so I don't really take them that seriously. Whatever it is, I am sure I will break it within a week.
Do you and Vanessa ever go and get manicures together?
No. I haven't gotten to that point. Although, I don't know how to really care for [my nails] because I've never had them. So I get dirt under them and don't know what to do with them. It is actually a lot more convenient just to bite them off.
That's the spirit!
It's true. You gotta take care of them. You gotta file them and all this nonsense. It is easier to just bite them off and let 'em bleed.