These days, our knowledge of celebrities too often originates with paparazzi images and snarky quotes by anonymous "insiders." After a while, it's easy to forget that stars are real people. That's why HuffPost Celebrity decided to launch its all-new #nofilter quick-fire question-and-answer series. Because how well do you know someone until they've shared their guiltiest pleasures?
Nick Lachey is known for swoon-worthy pop ballads, but the 98 Degrees frontman was never heard crooning about fast-food offerings … until now. Lachey, 39, has teamed with Wendy’s for the chain’s "Pretzel Love Songs" campaign to launch its new Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger. Fans who tweet praise for the PBC using the hashtag #PretzelLoveSongs may see their comments used as lyrics in a series of original music videos throughout the summer. And Monday night, Lachey kicked off the initiative at a Manhattan Wendy's by performing his first ode to the burger, along with older hits "I Do (Cherish You)" and "This I Swear." We caught up with the heartthrob, now dad to 10-month-old Camden, to talk about 98 Degrees' reunion tour, bizarre baby names and whether his son is a future boy-bander.
How many pretzel bacon cheeseburgers have you eaten?
I had one and it’s very, very good. I’m a huge pretzel guy, especially the big salt pretzels at football games. I was just telling somebody else that my favorite spot is Bavaria because you go there and sit in the beer gardens and have those huge salt pretzels. So, combining that with a bacon cheeseburger is just the perfect combo for me. Highly recommend it.
What's your guilty pleasure?
If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
If I was on death row, my last meal would be a Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger [laughs]. I’d probably just order everything in sight and make them bring it all to me so I could just choose at the moment what I wanted to eat. But let’s hope that never happens.
What's the craziest thing a fan's ever tweeted at you?
The horror of the Internet is the anonymity that everyone feels when they’re tweeting at you. I’d say 98 percent of what people tweet is positive, but there are some crazy people out there who feel like they can just say whatever. So I’d say the crazy stuff is from the crazies, and I wouldn’t dare repeat or give them credit for any of it. But there’s a lot of hostility out there at times.
What do you think of today's boy bands, and teen pop stars like Justin Bieber?
I think it’s tough. I mean, I can’t imagine putting myself in Justin Bieber’s shoes and dealing with the amount of fame and scrutiny that he has to deal with, and being his age and trying to make sense of all that, with social media. I'm thankful that when we got popular, in 98 Degrees, we didn’t have Twitter and all that stuff that’s so exposing. Because everyone makes mistakes. But you don’t need to see your mistakes magnified all over international press. So, I feel for those guys. They had to deal with a world that I didn’t. But look, I think they’re talented. They certainly fill a role that mostly women want to see filled and it’s always been that way.
You've been touring with New Kids on the Block and Boys II Men. What's that been like?
It’s awesome. It’s truly been a dream come true for us to be onstage with those two groups. And Boys II Men were literally our idols, the guys we modeled ourselves after and wanted to be like. So, to be onstage singing with them is surreal, really. And New Kids, we didn’t know them as well as Boys II Men, but they’re really the ones who pioneered the whole boy band thing, so it’s truly an honor to be out there with them. We actually had a chance to do a song with Boys II Men in Cincinnati, my hometown, a couple weeks ago and I think, for all of us, that was one of the highlights of our career. Being at home in Cincinnati singing with them on the same stage was awesome.
What's the biggest difference between touring now and back in the '90s?
Well, nothing recovers as quickly as it did then. Your voice doesn’t recover, your body doesn’t recover. We’re just older. But it’s kind of better, in a way. Our families have been out with us, sharing in the experience with us. And we’re not out partying like we used to party back in the day, to be honest. It’s a different kind of tour, but it’s a better tour. We’re all very cognizant of the fact that it’s a blessing that we get to do this again. It’s a blessing that we can go out and have these kinds of shows and these kinds of audiences, and I think we all respect that and we’re enjoying it more because of that.
If your son Camden wanted to be in a boy band when he's older, would you approve?
Uh, yeah, depending on who his boy band mates were. I want him to pursue his own dreams, whatever those are. If he wants to be in a boy band, I’ll support that. If he wants to be a tennis player, I’d support that. If he wants to be a ballet dancer, I'd support that. Whatever he wants to do, he’s got to find his own personal passions and achieve those, and I want to be there for him.
As a new dad, what do you think of nontraditional baby names, like North West?
Some might argue that Camden’s a little unconventional, so I’m not going to throw stones. But the thing you have to keep in mind is, your child is going to have that name the rest of their life, so you don’t want to just do something that’s a gimmick for fun. It’s their name. If North is meaningful to you, then that’s great. Camden was meaningful to us, and everyone’s got their own reasons. So I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason or rulebook for it. You just have to know that one day your kids can say, “Why the hell did you name me that?”
What's the silliest thing you've read about yourself?
That I have hair plugs. That I was gay. There’s been so much stuff written that it’s hard to pinpoint one.
If you could give advice to a younger version of yourself, what would it be?
I woudn’t have gotten as serious about girls as young as I did. I mean, having a long-term high school girlfriend, probably a bad idea, probably not necessary. So maybe I would’ve told my younger self not to do that. But for the most part, I don’t look back with much regret. I’m pretty set with the way everything played out.
What shows are always on your DVR?
“The Killing,” love that show. "Game of Thrones," obviously. "House of Cards," "The Newsroom," "Homeland," can’t wait for “Breaking Bad” to come back. All of those addictive serious shows, I’m all in. And of course, “The Winner Is.”