“That was one of the things I think that really drew us to each other is we both really value family and how important family is,” Nick, 43, tells PEOPLE for the annual World’s Most Beautiful issue. “It’s easy, especially with multiple kids, to just get caught up in that — and it’s a beautiful thing to get caught up in,” says Nick.
“We both knew we wanted a family,” he adds, explaining that “at this point” in the couple’s lives, “it is the single biggest priority” for them. “But it’s also good to have a balance where you’re still seeing your friends, you’re still having date night, you’re still doing things that are important to you outside of your family.” However, when it comes to making plans without their children, they need to know “at least a week in advance,” says Vanessa. “We have to make a full plan [and] make sure there’s nothing with the [kids’] schedules.” Most of the time, the family of five is together.
And with three little ones — Phoenix Robert, 4 months, Brooklyn Elisabeth, 2, and Camden John, 4½ — Vanessa, 36, credits “a lot of teamwork” to helping the pair strike a balance. “We spend a lot of time together as a family,” says Nick.
“I say this all the time: I would not be able to do this without an active husband, daddy,” she shares. “I think at this age it’s a lot of going to the park. Don’t do that to your sister,’ and that is a constant — and I say it’s exhausting because it’s a constant lesson.” She continues, “But when you see moments of it paying off and [Camden] walking and going, ‘Excuse me? ’ and he looks at him in the eye, and says, ‘Thank you,’ you’re like, ‘They listen!
He keeps it together because Lord knows I can’t.” Although spending time with their kids is top priority, the couple, who tied the knot in 2011, still makes sure to “carve out time” for themselves.
It’s a lot of going to get ice cream or just fun stuff at their age they can do.” And when it comes to the couple’s parenting style, Nick describes it as “moderate.” “I don’t think we turn away and say, ‘Hey! ’ ” Even though it’s always a team effort between the pair, Nick admits, “If it gets bad” he’s “the bad cop for sure.” Explains Vanessa, “I think it’s because — and I told Nick this — they love and respect him so much that they don’t want to disappoint him.
Let the kids do whatever they want,’ ” he says, “but we also don’t want to be helicopter parents where we’re constantly berating and berating, and after a while I think it just falls on deaf ears.” Adds Vanessa, “I believe things that are important to us, we’re strict about. And when Nick is upset, you can see it in his face, and he’s not okay.
For example, manners.” “We always make sure you have to clean up after yourself,” she explains. Literally, he can look at them and they’ll get the quiver lip.” “It’s the dad look,” says Nick, adding that as far as disciplining their children equally, Vanessa thinks he’s “a complete pushover” with Brooklyn. “I handle it in different ways, but I discipline her.” For Vanessa, the “true test” will be how Nick is with Phoenix.
“Vanessa’s best quality as a parent is her absolute across-the-board, unwavering love for her kids, and she never lets a moment go by where her kids don’t know how much she loves them,” says Nick, adding, “That love, For Nick, his best and worst quality is his “sensitivity,” says Vanessa. I don’t know.’ ” Even Nick, himself, admits he’s “banned from Web MD.” “I’m not allowed to go on Web MD anymore,” he says, adding that he’s not a hypochondriac and that he just tends to “look up symptoms.” But the couple shares that, over the years, they’ve grown as parents.
“He’s so sensitive to the kids that he’s an amazing dad because he’s very aware of how they’re feeling and what’s going on with them,” she explains. “I think by the time [you have] your first one, everything is so surreal and you’re so precious and paranoid about everything as first-time parents,” explains Nick.
“He’s so in tune with them that it’s a beautiful thing to watch, and watch his parenting with that sensitivity.” “But then to a fault, he worries so much,” she continues. “And then by the second one, you’ve been down that road once, so you’re a little bit more prepared for what’s going to come, so you’re a little bit more relaxed.
And then by the third, I think you let down your guard even a little bit more, but it’s all in a positive way.” “I try to tell women it’s like a quiet confident,” adds Vanessa. ’ It’s just we love the dynamic we have.” She explains, “We had the boy and the girl, and three was the wild card — whenever it happened, it was going to happen, and it happened sooner than I think we thought.” For the couple, Phoenix’s arrival was “exciting” and “such a welcoming surprise.” “Five of us, three kids, is a good number,” says Vanessa. We respect them, but we’re good at three.” For more from the Lacheys and more celebrity families, pick up PEOPLE’s World’s Most Beautiful issue, on newsstands now.
“It’s just a calm feeling that overtakes you.” Still, all three of their kids are “very different,” she says. “No matter what you think you know with one, you get all new challenges with the next. it’s just something new every time.” However, the parents of three may not find out what it’s like to add another baby to their family. “Any more than that and we’re really outnumbered.” She adds, “We personally would have no time for ourselves and life in general, and it just becomes madness.
Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey were married Friday evening in a tropical island ceremony in front of just 35 friends and family, their reps confirm exclusively to PEOPLE.