Vanessa Joy Lachey (née Minnillo; born November 9, 1980) is an American television personality, beauty queen, fashion model, television host and actress. She was named Miss Teen USA in 1998. She has been a New York-based correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and hosted Total Request Live on MTV. She has starred in two network sitcoms, and has hosted various competition and reality shows through the 2010s and 2020s.
Vanessa Joy Minnillo was born at USAF Clark Regional Medical Center in Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines. Her father, Vincent Charles Minnillo, is an American citizen from Cleveland, Ohio of Italian and Irish descent, while her mother, Helen Ramos Bercero, is from Manila, Philippines. Minnillo has an adopted brother who is two years older. Her father moved the family frequently because of his service in the Air Force. She lived in Washington, California, Nevada, Florida, Germany and Japan and attended eight different schools in nine years. Minnillo's parents separated in 1983 and were divorced in 1986.
Minnillo's parents both remarried. She and her brother Vincent Jr. relocated to Turkey with their mother and new stepfather. By 1991, in the wake of Operation Desert Shield, they returned to their father's home, eventually settling in Charleston, South Carolina, where Minnillo attended the Roman Catholic Bishop England High School and was a cheerleader. From then on, she lived with her father and stepmother, Donna. She also attended Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School, in San Bernardino, California, for one year.
Minnillo was crowned Miss South Carolina Teen USA and went on to win the title Miss Teen USA in 1998, the first Miss Teen USA from South Carolina and also the first from South Carolina to be named the pageant's Miss Congeniality. She was a host on MTV's Total Request Live (TRL) from 2003 until 2007 and became a New York City correspondent for Entertainment Tonight in 2005. Minnillo hosted Miss Teen USA (2004) and co-hosted Miss Universe (2007).
After leaving MTV and Entertainment Tonight, Minnillo was featured in print and web-based advertising for BONGO Jeans' Spring/Summer 2007 collection. She has been spokeswoman for Flirt! Cosmetics, a line she helped create which debuted in August 2007, in Kohl's department stores. In May 2006, Maxim magazine ranked Minnillo #15 in its annual Hot 100 issue. She has been featured on the covers of Maxim (October 2005, October 2006), Shape (March 2007), and Lucky (July 2007).
Lachey was a finalist in E!'s competition to replace Brooke Burke as host of Wild On!. She also hosted True Beauty, a competition in which 10 contestants vie for $100,000 and inclusion in People Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People issue. The series premiered on ABC on January 5, 2009, with a first season that ran through February 23, 2009. ABC renewed the series for a second season, which ran from May 31, 2010, through July 19, 2010. Lachey became a co-host of ABC's Wipeout beginning in winter 2011. Her first appearance was on December 8, 2011. Due to her pregnancy, Lachey left the show in late 2012 and was replaced by Jill Wagner.
Lachey has appeared in television series including That’s Life, City Girls, 30 Rock, The Bold and the Beautiful, Psych, Hawaii Five-O and Maybe It's Me. In 2008, she played Ashlee in the How I Met Your Mother episode "No Tomorrow". She starred in the 2008 comedy Disaster Movie, a spoof of big-budget Hollywood disaster movies. Released on August 29, 2008, the film was a moderate box office success, earning $34,624,652 worldwide. The film received extremely negative reviews, however, earning six Razzie Award nominations. It stands at number one on the IMDb Bottom 100.
Lachey (as Vanessa Minnillo) signed on to appear in Redefining Love, a 2009 romantic comedy, but she is not listed in the final cast. In November 2009, TVGuide.com announced that Minnillo would guest star alongside Disaster Movie co-star Kim Kardashian on CBS's CSI: NY. "The ladies [Vanessa and Kim] portray two women who've managed to concoct a very interesting scheme that ends in murder," confirmed executive producer Pam Veasey. Minnillo's former MTV colleague and close friend, La La Vasquez, as well as the band Train, also appeared in the episode. In 2011, she guest-starred on 30 Rock as Carmen Chao, Avery Jessup's (Elizabeth Banks) coworker at NBC who is competing for the same promotion. Minnillo later guest-starred on the then-new series Hawaii Five-0 with then-fiancé Nick Lachey.
On September 6, 2017, Lachey was announced as one of the celebrities who will take part in the 25th season of Dancing with the Stars, competing against her husband, Nick. She was paired with professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Chmerkovskiy's wife, Peta Murgatroyd, was paired with Nick. On October 30, Lachey and Chmerkovskiy became the seventh couple to be eliminated from the competition, finishing in joint seventh place.
Minnillo began dating singer Nick Lachey in 2006. Nick Lachey separated from Jessica Simpson in December 2005, and the two divorced at the end of June, 2006. Minnillo and Lachey began dating after she appeared in the music video for his song "What's Left of Me". In June 2009, they broke up, but in October 2009, Lachey confirmed that they were back together after having been "single for a minute". Minnillo and Lachey became engaged in November 2010.