Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson are engaged just two months after the former NFL receiver divorced his wife of five years and less than six months after the couple began dating. Are high profile celebrity marriages and breakups a factor in declining support for marriage among young adults?
Jessica Simpson says she’s marrying former NFL receiver Eric Johnson. Simpson’s love life became a household topic when she starred with Nick Lachey in the MTV reality show, “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.”
“I liked him immediately when I met him. I told my mom I wanted to marry him,” Simpson said of Lachey in the opening of the 2003 hit series that ran for three seasons.
Less than eight months after the 41st and final episode aired in 2005, Simpson and Lachey filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.
Simpson talked publicly about her disappointment that Lachey began dating quickly after they separated. “Oh, it hurt me,” she said. “Two or three weeks later? Yeah, I’d say it kind of hurt me.”
Four years later, after a series of high profile romances with celebrities including comedian Dane Cook, singer John Mayer, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Simpson says she’s happy that her ex-husband is typing the knot with Vanessa Minnillo, the MTV host he began dating the year he and Simpson divorced.
Ten days after Lachey announced his engagement to Minnillo, Simpson said she’s marrying former NFL player Eric Johnson. The pair reportedly began dating less than six months ago, shortly after Johnson separated from his wife of five years. Keri and Eric Johnson were divorced in September.
Unlike Simpson’s other widely publicized love interests, Johnson is not well known in celebrity circles. After graduating Needham High School in Massachusetts, Johnson went on to Yale University and entered the national spotlight in the 1999 Harvard-Yale game when he caught 21 receptions for 244 yards, including the game-winning touchdown in a come-from-behind victory. Over seven seasons in the NFL, the 6-3, 252 pound tight end caught 240 passes for a total of 2,178 yards during play for the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans, before being released by the Saints in 2008.
Jessica Simpson, 30, has sold more than 20 million records worldwide. While she’s better known for her musical talent than the success of her relationships, Simpson’s life is closely followed by fans worldwide.
As surveys continue to show decreasing enthusiasm for marriage among young adults, many say the examples of famous celebrities, such as the stars of MTV’s Newlyweds, being unable to keep their relationships together is having an impact.
Studies show that couples who delay long-term decisions until the powerful biological, intellectual, and emotional blinders of the “illusion stage” of a relationship have passed are more likely to make commitments they will honor.
Six to 12 more months together before Simpson and Johnson head down the aisle will give the couple the best chance of knowing if their marriage will bring the lifelong happiness they both surely crave. Millions of fans, including many who look to celebrities as models for their own lives, will undoubtedly be watching carefully.