'The Ultimatum' Host Vanessa Lachey Shares the Benefits of 'Not Trying to Pretend to Be This Perfect Couple'

The NCIS star, Netflix host, and mom of three is proudly transparent about the highs and lows of marriage and parenthood. Here, she opens up about traveling with her family, the challenging skin concern she and her daughter share, and her thoughts on Love Is Blind couples' welcoming babies one day.

Nick Lachey and Vanessa Lachey
Photo: NBCUniversal/Getty

Whether she's shooting Netflix dating shows Love Is Blind and The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, starring in NCIS: Hawai'i, or just trying to sneak in a bit of travel, family life is of the utmost importance to Vanessa Lachey. And fans adore the fact that she's so candid about her journey with husband Nick Lachey as partners and as parents.

"Both Nick and I have learned through living our life that transparency is key," she shares. "We're not trying to pretend to know it all, and we're not trying to pretend to be this perfect couple."

Parents caught up with the mom of three about the benefits of being so open about her marriage and contending with common parenting challenges.

What Vanessa Has Learned About Her Kids and Marriage Through Travel

Family travel is inevitably an opportunity to spend more time together, bond, and broaden your little one's horizons. And while Nick, Vanessa, and their three kids—Camden, 9, Brooklyn, 7, and Phoenix, 5—enjoyed those benefits on a recent summer trip to Disney World, the Abacos in the Bahamas, and Cleveland (where Nick's family resides), Vanessa notes that she feels like the experience led to learning a lot about her kids' distinctive personalities as well.

"With Brooklyn, she wipes her chair down, sets a little blanket and her stuffy, and she was ready—a good little listener," remembers the Netflix host. "Camden is turning into a teenager even though he's 9. And then Phoenix is like, 'I need to go to sleep. I'm so tired, but my body isn't tired. My body wants to stay awake! It's not listening to my mind. My mind is saying go to sleep, but my body wants to play.' And I was like, 'Oh my gosh, you are No. 3 so through and through!'"

But this recent, big family adventure wasn't all smooth sailing. Like just about every person trying to travel by air right now, the family of five was met with delays, one of which led to a missed connection and having to book a flight on a different airline in order to get home. "And at 2 in the morning, we had to reclaim our bags and recheck them in, and I'm sure whoever was behind us was like, 'This poor family,'" says Vanessa. "So look, you know, we all have our days."

In those moments, she says she and Nick have to get in sync. "Nick and I have to constantly look at each other and remind each other that we're on the same page," she notes.

She also recommends parents be kind to themselves, and pull out the tablets and other easy-to-grab activities. "No one's too good for a tablet!" says Vanessa. "What I've also learned is get something as simplistic as brand new markers, crayons, or stickers and either a coloring book or blank canvas."

Though her kids love to draw and write and have supplies at home, being given new ones tends to result in more enthusiasm and engagement.

What It's Like to Deal With a Common Skin Issue as a Mom

Of course, figuring out how to keep the kids content during long travel days is just one parenting challenge Vanessa's been navigating. After contending with uncomfortable rash and welt-like hives for years, Vanessa, who recently partnered with Allegra Hives, realized early on that her daughter Brooklyn suffered from the skin condition too. She would be breastfeeding, break out in hives, and then realize that her baby had as well. More recently, Vanessa saw that Brooklyn was breaking out while horseback riding.

"I looked over, and she had these red hives all over her face and neck and hands," recalls the mom of three. "I was like, 'Huh, I wonder if you're allergic to the horse hair,' which is so unfortunate because she loves horses." She soon put two and two together, realizing that anytime her daughter rode without a saddle or brushed her horse, she'd break out in hives.

"So I was like, 'Let me get this straight, you're gonna have to have me saddle your horse and me brush your horse and me do all the work so that you can ride the horse?' and she's like, 'I mean, why not Mommy?'" remembers Vanessa with a laugh.

​​The Beauty of Being Open About Marriage

Fans of Netflix's Love Is Blind and The Ultimatum could probably never imagine a celebrity couple other than Vanessa and Nick Lachey hosting the reality shows, and that's, in great part, because they are so open about their own highs and lows. It's something Vanessa is certainly aware of, and it brings her lots of joy to be able to be a sounding board and offer advice to young couples. She never says, "This is how you do it," but shares, "This is what we did and what worked for us, and we are still together 16 years later."

Their comfort with transparency is a lesson Vanessa hopes to pass on to contestants and viewers. "In this day and age of smoke and mirrors, it's important to be a genuine, authentic person," says the host. "And I'm just forever grateful to Netflix for the opportunity to let Nick and I share our love story and hopefully inspire other people's love stories."

You can also count Vanessa among the top fans of Love Is Blind season one couples Lauren and Cameron and Amber and Barnett. "It's just really refreshing to see people fall in love for the right reasons and then work through all the other things after the fact," she says.

And the famous mom believes that the emotional connection and solid communication that both season one couples have developed will serve them well if and when they become parents. She asserts, "I have no doubt in my mind that whenever they are ready to have children, they have all the tools they need to tackle that fully and with their whole heart."

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