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    Nick Looks Ahead

    Breaking up is hard to do, especially when your entire marriage unfolded on MTV. But don't feel sorry for Nick Lachey.

    At least, that's what the former boy-bander and reality-TV star is telling fans in the latest issue of Teen People, which features the first one-on-one interview with Lachey since his split from Jessica Simpson.

    "I have a great life," he told the magazine. "That chapter is done."

    In January, Lachey and Simpson sold their Calabasas, California, mansion for $3.5 million to Justin Berfield, who plays Reese on Malcolm in the Middle.

    Simpson has since purchased a $3 million Beverly Hills home, while Lachey plunked down a reported $5.5 million to acquire a home previously owned by Heidi Klum and Seal, according to Us Weekly.

    He may be inhabiting a bachelor pad for now, but Lachey isn't ruling out expanding his one-man show--albeit sometime in the future.

    "Playing with my friends' kids and having them call me Uncle Nick--that's life," he said. "That's what makes me happy, not selling a million records. Obviously, it's not the right time for me to be a father. But the one thing I haven't had a chance to do is be a great dad."

    While Simpson's ditz-with-a-heart-of-gold persona tended to overshadow Lachey's regular-Joe image on Newlyweds, the two have been sharing equal face time in the media lately, especially since divorce proceedings started heating up.

    In December, Simpson petitioned a Los Angeles court to deny Lachey spousal support. Lachey may have been the possessor of more bling when they wed in 2002, but Simpson's singing, endorsement and acting deals have since sent her wealth skyrocketing.

    Furthering the conflict, Lachey and Simpson wed the old-fashioned way--sans a prenup. Now they, along with a handful of lawyers, are trying to nail down their exact date of separation, because the day the two officially went solo could affect the amount of money they will split. Lachey claims Simpson moved out Dec. 13; she is sticking with the date they announced their breakup, Nov. 23.

    However the monetary chips fall, Lachey probably won't be hurting. He recently signed on to appear with Brooke Burke in ads for celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson's Core Secret fitness DVDs. Lachey and his muscles netted $500,000 for the deal, according to Us Weekly.

    Shortly before parting ways with Simpson, Lachey inked a deal to star in a UPN sitcom about a newlywed baseball player. No word yet on whether the show will go ahead on the CW, the network that will form later this year when UPN and the WB combine.

    Lachey has also released the new single, "What's Left of Me," which he cowrote. But he insists that the breakup ballad, featuring lyrics such as, "Been dying inside/little by little," does not reflect his current state of mind.

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