Late Wednesday, over-scrutinized Hollywood couple Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey announced, after months of speculation, that they had decided to separate. In what appeared to be an attempt to dodge coverage during the holiday (no such luck, the Today show was all over the story early Thursday morning), an official statement was issued late Wednesday night, and the couple's press reps were unavailable for further comment on Thanksgiving. The statement, submitted "exclusively" to Us Weekly, read: "After three years of marriage, and careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways. This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other." Wed in October 2002, Simpson and Lachey were a telegenic, publicity-perfect couple, celebrating their love in TV specials and making their private life public in the MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, which made both the B-list singers stars and put them permanently in the public eye from its first broadcast. Break-up rumors surfaced aggressively this year, with Us Weekly reporting a split in October, a story the couple fervently denied at the time. And just as they're filming thw new season of Newlyweds!