Worked With:

Victor Alfieri

Giovanni Ribisi

Nancy O'Dell

Alex O'Loughlin

Tina Fey

James Roday

Carson Kressley

Gary Sinise

Matt Lanter

Josh Radnor

Ioan Gruffudd

Vanessa Minnillo Biography

Home > Actresses > M > Minnillo, Vanessa > Biography

Birth Name: Vanessa Minnillo
Born: 11/09/1980
Birth Place: Clark Air Force Base in Angeles City, Pampanga, PH

Born Nov. 9, 1980 at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, Minnillo's mother was a Filipino native who married Minnillo's father, a USAF aircrew member, while he was stationed at Clark. The couple separated when the youngster was only six, with her mother gaining custody of her and her older adopted brother, Vince. The three then set about moving around the world, living in Florida, Nevada, Japan and Germany. After the mother remarried another serviceman, the family moved to Turkey. It was the last time that Minnillo and her brother would live with their mother, as she returned her children to their father in Charleston, SC, following Saddam Hussein's invasion of neighboring Kuwait. The young girl spent the rest of her childhood in Charleston with her father and stepmother, remaining estranged from her mother until she was 19 years old. As a cheerleader at Bishop England High School in Charleston, Minnillo's unique, exotic beauty turned quite a few heads. She loved performing in front of a crowd so much that a friend suggested that she enter the Miss South Carolina Pageant. She not only took the crown, but swept all the categories.

Buoyed by her success, she entered the 1998 Miss Teen USA Pageant. She won again, this time taking home $150,000 in cash and prizes. Unfortunately, for Minnillo, her first big televised moment was pre-empted by President Clinton's live speech regarding the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Following her incredible pageant success, Minnillo decided on a change of plans. Instead of going directly to college, she opted to move to Los Angeles in search of ubiquitous fame and fortune. Her camera-friendly face landed her small jobs as host on Fox Sports and a short stint on the soap opera "The Bold and The Beautiful" (CBS 1987- ). In 2003, she began her all important relationship with MTV, following an appearance on "Beach House 2003." MTV executives liked what they saw and Minnillo was given her first big break as the host of "Total Request Live" (1998- ). Within a matter of days, she was on a plane from L.A. to New York City.

Once ensconced in New York, people immediately took notice of the 5'8" stunner. In particular, she caught the roving eye of Derek Jeter, the Yankee's star short-stop with a well documented history of dating beautiful women in Hollywood. Jeter and Minnillo embarked on what would become a tumultuous on-again off-again romance in November 2003. They were spotted all over NYC hot spots, including courtside at Knicks games - all of which garnered the starlet considerable tabloid ink. In April of 2006, Vanessa starred in Nick Lachey's music video for his song "What's Left of Me" - a ditty about the very public demise and heartbreak of his marriage to pop singer Jessica Simpson. In the weeks following the shoot, Minnillo and Lachey were spotted getting cozy in NYC and Las Vegas, but it wasn't long before Lachey was out and Minnillo was back with Jeter. Ironically, in a 2004 interview, Minnillo had named Lachey and Simpson's reality show "Newlyweds" as her favorite MTV show.

In 2005, Minnillo's career continued its upward trajectory when, in addition to her "TRL" gig, she became the New York correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight" (CBS 1981- ). One "ET" assignment in particular put her on the non-MTV radar - she donned a fat suit under the pretense of shining a spotlight on what overweight people go through each day out on the street. Minnillo, who was apparently unaware of the cruelty of others, was said to have felt shocked and horrified when people sneered at her or simply ignored her. In an ironic twist, that same year Maxim magazine named Minnillo No. 62 on their Hot 100 List. Striking while the iron was hot, she made her feature film debut with a cameo as the wedding date of the Human Torch (Chris Evans) in the superhero hit sequel, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" (2007), followed by a starring role in the parody "Disaster Movie" (2008), an aptly-titled box-office disaster. After a brief separation in 2009, Minnillo and Lachey reconciled and by 2010 were officially engaged.

Lachey and Minnillo were married in an intimate ceremony held on the privately-owned island of Virgin owner, Richard Branson, in July 2011. Shortly thereafter, she announced via Twitter that she had adopted her husband's last name professionally and from that point on would be known as Vanessa Lachey. During this same period, Ms. Lachey expanded her acting résumé with guest turns on such popular TV series as "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 2005- ), "CSI: NY" (CBS, 2004- ) and "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006- ). She put her hosting experience to good use once again in 2011 when she replaced Jill Wagner as one of the co-hosts on the obstacle course reality competition show, "Wipeout" (ABC, 2008- ). In the spring of 2012, Lachey broke the news that she and her husband were expecting their first child.