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Jessica Simpson: 'I Didn't Know Myself' While Married to Nick Lachey

Gettyimages | Scott Gries
By Alyssa McCraw

Nick and Jessica. It still has a ring to it!

Speaking of ring, there's might have been the first celebrity wedding we had ever obsessed over.

The young couple met at a music biz Christmas party in 1998 when Simpson was 18 and Lachey was 25. After a brief on again/off again relationship, Nick proposed to Jessica in February 2002 and the two were married eight months later. Our fairytale ended when they confirmed news of their separation in December 2005 and finalized their divorce in June 2006.

While promoting her upcoming autobiography "Open Book," the pop-star-turned-fashion-mogul is sharing new details about her marriage with the boy band crooner.

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What's so refreshing about Simpson's angle is that there really isn't one. Instead of playing the "scorned ex-wife," Jessica has nothing but nice things to say about Nick, yet she remains respectful of his new life - Lachey met his now-wife Vanessa Minnillo in 2006 with whom he shares three children.

"I respect Nick very much," she told PEOPLE. "We meant a lot to each other and we always will...He has a family now and I would never say anything to disrespect that."

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The couple starred in their own MTV reality show titled Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, which aired from 2003 until 2005.

“We were young and pioneering our way through reality television," Simpson recalls. “We worked and we were great at it but when it came time to being alone, we weren’t great at it anymore...we really got crushed by the media and by ourselves." She continued by saying that she couldn't stand giving her fans the false hope that she and Nick "were this perfect golden couple."

"I didn't know myself," the now 39-year-old admits. Although it's been almost 15 years since their split, she's never questioned Nick's intentions or the love that they shared.

"He knew me as this young innocent 18-year-old that had never been introduced to the world in so many ways," she said. "I went straight from my father to him. Nick’s very smart."

In this collection of samples taken right from the book, Simpson never once appears to regret her first marriage (or the man she married).

"I want to be very respectful because I married him for a reason and we were together for seven years for a reason. "

Another hot topic of discussion of the book is her 2006 romance with musical bad boy John Mayer. Simpson details some of his more mesmerizing aspects - like how "he'd walk into a room, pick up a guitar, and [she'd] swoon - but she retains her honesty in the uglier stuff. "I didn't really know the man behind the guitar. And that was my mission."

Despite some other major lows, Jessica did find lasting love. She's been happily married to former NFL star Eric Johnson since 2014 and - like Lachey - is the proud parent of three kids.

As if that's not enough to be thankful for, her Jessica Simpson collection is a billion dollar clothing line, and she also voices her own audio book (which will feature her new music!).

"I've never felt more inspired...there is power in the truth."

Simpson's memoir "Open Book" releases on February 4th.

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