The inaugural winner of the Great Great Man award is a former boy band member who is most famous for marrying America’s favorite naive sweetheart.
This great great man was born in Kentucky, though was raised in Ohio, where he was schooled with the goal to be a singer/entertainer. He attended Miami of Ohio before deciding to try his hand at a singing career with his buddy Jeff Timmons and brother Drew. Justin Jeffre rounded out the foursome who became the group 98 Degrees. Originally signed to Motown, they received their largest celebrity as a group with their second album, 98 Degrees And Rising. The group wasn’t as successful as The Backstreet Boys or ‘NSync, but still went four times platinum with the record. The group released four albums together including a greatest hits record called The Collection. They’ve worked with Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey on her song, Thank God I Found You and also performed with Michael Jackson, singing Man In The Mirror at Madison Square Garden helping MJ celebrate his 30 years in the music business. While the group hasn’t recorded together since 2002, our great great man did go solo.
Though his first solo album, entitled SoulO was not a hit, it didn’t matter. After dating for some time, our great great man married Jessica Simpson. Our great great man had to take a step back to his new wife who was a bigger star and was managed by her overbearing father. Rather than letting that get in the way of his new marriage, he agreed to allow having a camera in his house filming the MTV show, The Newlyweds which showcased his marriage with Jessica Simpson. It shed new light on Simpson, but also on him. He was seen as someone who was willing to put his marriage in front of his own success while his wife’s career was skyrocketing. He was the supportive husband with the brooding father in law and he supported his wife, even when she wondered if tuna fish was really chicken since the can said it was “Chicken Of The Sea”.
After being on camera for nearly three years, our great great man and his wife decided to divorce. He showed the pains from his divorce with the song What’s Left Of Me, which was also the name of his second album, which opened at number 2 on the Billboard Pop chart. The song was a perfect synopsis of a newly single man who was haunted by his broken relationship.
I’ve been dying inside, little by little
Nowhere to go, I’m goin outta my mind
An endless circle, runnin from myself until
You gave me a reason for standing still
Broken down, but not out, our great great man happened to move on, and move on well. Though still hurt over the break-up of his marriage, he had to do the right thing and simply found a new woman. That woman is MTV VJ, Vanessa Minnillo. Born in the Phillippines, Minnillo dated Derek Jeter before finding our great great man. She also starred in the video for What’s Left Of Me.
Who is our inaugural great great man award winner? None other than Nicholas Lachey.