Chicken Or Fish? 'Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica' Premiered In 2003

Aug 19, 2018

On this date in TV history 15 years ago, the burning question of the day was: Is Chicken of the Sea tuna fish or chicken?

That's how MTV viewers were introduced to pop singers Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey on their Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica reality show on Aug. 19, 2003.

The first season of 'Newlyweds' was released on DVD in 2004.
Credit Courtesy MTV Networks

Lachey, a 1992 Cincinnati School for Creative & Performing Arts graduate, had met Simpson at a 1998 Christmas party while he was singing with his band 98 Degrees. Their wedding on Oct. 26, 2002, in Austin, Texas, was the opening scene for Newlyweds. She was 22; he was 28.

The first view of their married life together was Jessica's infamous "chicken or tuna" moment while Jessica was eating and watching TV in their Hollywood home.

JESSICA:  Is this chicken what I have? Or is this fish? I know its tuna, but it says Chicken…. by the sea. Is that stupid? 

[Nick stares at her in disbelief.]

JESSICA: What? Don't make fun of me right now, I'm not in the mood.

NICK:   You act like you've never had tuna before.

JESSICA:  I've had, like, tuna fish, like sandwiches and stuff, like this.

NICK: You and I have eaten tuna like this before.

JESSICA: Why is it called Chicken by the sea, or in the sea?

NICK:   Chicken of the Sea is the brand!

JESSICA: Ohhh.  [She makes a face at him]

NICK: It's because a lot of people eat tuna, like they eat chicken, so it's "Chicken of the Sea."

JESSICA: OK, I understand now. I read it wrong. (Laughs)

In the premiere, Jessica also explained why she seldom did the dishes or other housekeeping chores: "I've had a record deal since I was 14 years old. (I was) always living in hotels. People always cleaned up after me. Maids came in and made the beds. I didn't really have to upkeep things. So I think that's been the biggest adjustment."

Newlyweds aired three seasons, through March 30, 2005. Nick and Jessica separated the following November, and Simpson filed for divorce in December 2005. It was final on June 30, 2006.

A&E aired a reality show in 2015 about brothers Drew and Nick Lachey opening their Over-the-Rhine bar.
Credit Courtesy A&E

Since then, Lachey largely has made his living starring in reality shows and TV competition shows: Taking the Stage (starring SCPA students on MTV for two seasons, 2009-2010); Clash of the Choirs, Stars Earn Stripes, The Winner Is, The Sing-Off, VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live, Battle Of the Network Stars, Celebrity Family Feud, Dancing with the Stars, Home & Family, Miss USA 2018, Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration and Lachey's Bar (2015).

Lachey married actress Vanessa Minnillo on July 15, 2011, in the British Virgin Islands. The wedding also was filmed for TV. Nick & Vanessa's Dream Wedding aired July 30, 2011 on TLC.