Jessica Simpson tests her marriage on MTV. The singer and her husband Nick Lachey say viewers will be privy to plenty of fighting on their new reality series

By Liane Bonin
Updated August 20, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Pop star Jessica Simpson, 23, and 98° alum Nick Lachey, 29, hardly seem like candidates to follow in the Osbournes’ MTV reality series footsteps. After all, the squeaky clean stars of ”The Newlyweds” (Tuesdays, 10:30 p.m.) have never been in rehab, don’t throw hams at people, and have only managed to shock fans with the prim and proper news that Simpson saved herself for marriage. talked to the couple about why they wanted to air their not-so-dirty laundry, where the cameras couldn’t go, and why Nick got to sing their theme song (sounds like something to fight about already).

Why in the world would you let MTV roll tape while you’re trying to adjust to married life?
JS I don’t know why. Why did we do this?
NL It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, really. Whether it’s good or bad, at the end of the day we’ll look back on it with fond memories.
JS And it will be great to show our kids. I would love to see footage of my parents when they first got married.
NL Um, I don’t think I would.

What ground rules did you set with the show’s producers?
NL They don’t go upstairs in our house and they don’t go in the bathroom.
JS Unless something really funny happened, in which case we’d call them upstairs. Like if I was throwing a temper tantrum, Nick would say: ”Hey, you’ve gotta come see this!”

Did you retain any veto power over how much we get to see?
NL Yes, but we said we’d only use it if it was something really bad or tragic that would be damaging to someone else in our lives. We understand we’re going to be plenty embarrassed by stuff on the show, and we’re just going to have to let it go.
JS I’m going to be embarrassed every episode, I can feel it now.

Conveniently, both of you have solo albums coming out; Jessica’s ”In the Skin” on Aug. 19 and Nick’s ”SoulO” on Sept. 9. What can you tell us about them?
JS The label kind of handed it over to me and said do what you want, so I wrote 90 percent of my album. And instead of concentrating on an image or a dance move, it’s really about the lyrics, the voice, and the instrumentation. It’s a very organic sound, lots of live instruments, and some of the songs are just a one-take vocal. It’s personal, not overproduced.
NL I’m by myself instead of with 98°, so that’s a big difference right there. I did a lot of the writing for it, so it really reflects who I am. And the second single, ”This I Swear,” is actually the theme song to our show.

Hey, why did you get to sing the theme and not your wife?
NL She graciously allowed me to have that honor.
JS Yes, I did. And it didn’t hurt that he has a good marriage song, either.

Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica

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