As the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC redefined pop music for the masses upon the closing of the 1990s, 98° were also making girls scream and swoon with their darling good looks and delightsome harmonies. Fronting the vocal group was the svelte charmer Nick Lachey. This onetime sports medicine major was a bona fide star thanks to his sensitive performance style, thus a career in Hollywood seemed destined for Lachey.
Born Nicholas Scott Lachey on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee in fall 1973, he and his younger brother Drew excelled in sports and academics while attending Cincinnati's School for the Creative and Performing Arts. There, the Lachey brothers honed their vocal abilities, but it wasn't until Nick was a student at Miami University in Ohio that he found himself seriously considering a career in music. He and soon-to-be bandmate Jeff Timmons were invited to attend auditions for an up-and-coming vocal group in Los Angeles. Drew and pal Justin Jeffre jumped aboard shortly thereafter, and 98° was sired. The band went on to release four albums (all of which went platinum), and singles such as "My Everything," "Way You Want Me To," and "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" became chart and radio favorites across North America.
Just as the boy band phenomenon began winding down somewhat, Lachey felt it was time to focus on other artistic ventures. The second tenor married his longtime girlfriend, singer Jessica Simpson, in fall 2002 and launched a solo career. He and Simpson instantly became A-list celebrities when their MTV-based reality show, Newlyweds, captured American audiences in 2003. While their show was still going strong, Lachey issued his first album for Universal, the R&B/pop-flavored album SoulO, before the year's end. In between albums, Lachey tried his hand at acting. He appeared in several episodes of the WB's Charmed in 2004 and 2005, and a small part in the Nora Ephron comedy, Bewitched. Before the year's end, Lachey and Simpson announced their separation. In the midst of a tabloid field day, Lachey resumed his music career in spring 2006 with the release of his second album, a number two hit titled What's Left of Me. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, Rovi