By Kat Giantis
Nick Lachey is probably kicking himself that he didn't ride out his romance with Vanessa Minnillo just a little bit longer. Maybe then he could have avoided being dragged into ex-wife Jessica Simpson's breakup drama with Tony Romo, who ditched her last Thursday, the day before her 29th birthday.
Seems reunion speculation has begun in earnest now that the onetime "Newlyweds" are both suddenly single. But is there actually a chance that the former flames, who split in 2005 after three years of MTV-documented, chicken-or-fish-marred marriage, could get back together? Depends who you ask.
The latest cover of Us Weekly touts the possibility of a "second chance" for Jessica and Nick and hints that they are "haunted by secret feelings," none of which apparently includes a burning desire to reconcile.
"He would never ever go back with her. He's a different person now," an insider tells the mag. "All Nick wants now is a non-famous girl he can settle down and have kids with."
And though Simpson has made it clear that she, too, is hoping to start a family sooner rather later, reconnecting with Lachey is "the last thing on her mind," insists a confidant. "They don't talk and haven't seen each other in years."
People magazine reports that the Simpson clan is also giving a thumbs-down to the kiss-and-make-up idea, with the starlet's overly involved dad, Joe, seemingly leading the anti-Nick charge, which isn't surprising given that he wasn't thrilled by their marriage (he reportedly had trouble mustering a smile at the wedding) and was rumored to have meddled in the relationship.
"It won't happen," a source pooh-poohs about the reconciliation rumblings. "They have no respect for him. Jessica has no respect for him. There is way too much bad blood between Nick and Joe for Jessica to even think about it."
Or is there?
The Chicago Sun-Times claims the ex-lovebirds have reached out to each other following their respective bust-ups and have engaged in several extended phone chats.
"Nick has never stopped loving Jessica," says an insider.
During a teary sit-down with Rolling Stone in 2006, Lachey admitted he was devastated over their failed union.
"It breaks my heart that I couldn't make Jessica happy," he said. "I wanted to be everything to my wife. I wanted her to look at me with love in her eyes, the way she did at the beginning, and have her feel like I was the most wonderful, awe-inspiring man on the planet. And when that stopped, it was the worst feeling in the world."
Simpson is probably experiencing something similar at the moment. People magazine says she's reeling over being abruptly dumped by Romo.
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"Jessica was really blindsided," a family insider tells the mag. "She's sad, mad, and confused. Her emotions are all over the place."
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback, who has been hitting the Los Angeles club scene with his buddies in the wake of the split, "wanted this perfect mold of the perfect football girlfriend," explains another insider. "People don't realize that Jessica has been worn down by Hollywood. She has insecurities and inner demons that she struggles with. She's not some upbeat blond cheerleader that people want her to be."
That said, those closest to Simpson expect her broken heart to make a full recovery.
"She's gone through heartache before," a source points out. "She wants someone who is on the same page that she is. If she has to move on for that, she will."