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Nick and Jess: a mess

Katie Perry | Tuesday, November 29, 2005

After an utterly stellar Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s – thanks to mom’s monumental potato casserole, about a dozen cousins and an upstate New York blizzard that could instill the Christmas spirit in the Grinch itself – it happened.

“Simpson, Lachey officially separate,” the AP headline read, each word stinging more than the previous. I felt betrayed, cheated and deceived.

Sure, I had seen the US Weekly and People magazine leaks: “Simpson pouts at Lachey’s birthday bash,” “Nick gets it on with two strippers in Vegas” and the like. Did anyone actually buy these allegations? The marriage of America’s sweethearts was obviously not in jeopardy – or so I thought.

Lies, lies, lies. One for each season of “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.” One for each year of their seemingly pristine matrimony. One for each time I was weirded out by Jessica’s sketchball of a dad – and then some.

The official statement was as cold as Jessica’s uneaten “buffalo” wing.

“After … careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways. This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other.”

And with those two sentences, it was over. What about their Christmas special? They wore matching sweaters – now that’s love. And who was the first person Jess called on Sept. 11? Nick – again, love.

My mind raced with a thousand and one questions. Is love really this fleeting? If these kids can’t make it, who can?

As self-assigned prosecutor in the mystery of who destructed the indestructible romance that was Nick and Jessica, I have narrowed my suspects down to three individuals.

The first is Mr. Simpson, Reverend Simpson, Joe Simpson, whatever he goes by. This man is flat-out creepy, and creepy people are always the malicious ones. Well, not always. But I would guess at least 75 percent of all creepy people are the root cause for life’s deepest problems – like lost love.

Drew Lachey, Nick’s significantly less attractive brother and former 98° bandmate, is the second likeliest culprit. In each season of “Newlyweds,” it seemed like this guy was always lurking around the mansion, obviously hoping for some alone time with Jess. Perhaps Jessica got confused, mistook Drew for Nick, and fell into his trap of infidelity.

The last suspect is Matt Leinart, as there is a good chance Nick cheated on Jessica with the standout Southern California quarterback. Maybe Nick crumbled after Matt’s repeated advances. Maybe the post-game locker room bonding and private invitations for ballroom dance lessons proved too much for the doe-eyed songster.

But assigning blame cannot take away my pain nor mend the Simpson-Lachey divorce debacle. I guess I’ll just never understand. People who sing “Take My Breath Away” duets don’t break up.

They just don’t.