Former boy band star in trouble for assaulting female photographer

98 Degrees
Nick Lachey, top, with his 98 Degrees boy bandmates (Image credit:

Ex-boy band member Nick Lachey has been ordered to attend anger management classes, as well as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, after an aggressive altercation that occurred a year ago with a female press photographer outside a steak house. 

Celebrity photographer Jody Santos, who has been in the paparazzi business for over 18 years, was simply snapping photos from her car in Beverly Hills when she was accosted and verbally abused by Lachey, who also attempted to snatch her phone. 

• Paparazzi or not, these are the best professional cameras

Being a press and celebrity photographer can't be easy. Often seen as sneaky and devious paparazzi, in reality these photographers might only need one harmless shot to meet a deadline and pay the bills for a week. Privacy is a delicate thing to work with, and visiting the homes of celebrities should be a big no-no. However, in the case of Santos, it was the photographer's privacy that had been breached. 

On March 27 2022 an incident occurred where Lachey – celebrity TV host of Love is Blind Season 4 and former 98 Degrees frontman – attempted to physically assault Santos as she was taking photos from her car in Beverley Hills, while he and his wife Vanessa were leaving a restaurant. 

A report from the Daily Mail at the time revealed that Santos was scared Lachey could have "knocked her out" had she not rolled up the window. "In all my years of photographing celebrities, no one has ever tried to hit me. I am just relieved that I rolled up my window as fast as I did, otherwise he would have knocked me out. No doubt about it." 

The video footage below shows Lachey yelling profanities at Santos, going a bit ballistic, and reaching into her car to attempt to take her phone, which was on a lanyard around her neck. Santos claims that she could smell alcohol on his breath, and he also repeatedly punched her car window after she rolled it up to the point she thought he would break through it.

One year on from the incident, Lachey has been ordered to attend 52 sessions of anger management, as well as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for 12 months, by the Beverly Hills Police Department in order to avoid receiving a criminal record and charges by Santos of Battery and Assault.

While this might seem like a win for Santos, she is still waiting on any form of apology from the singer after he attempted to punch his fist through her car window and steal her phone, all while yelling profanities. 

Granted, Santos was in fact taking photos of Lachey which must feel invasive and annoying as a celebrity, but as someone who has been in the public eye for plenty of years prior to this, surely to some extent paparazzi is to be expected and ignored - especially when out in a public space and having dinner on a night out, as opposed to being in the luxury of his private home. 

In a new interview with the Daily Mail, almost exactly one year on from the altercation, Santos has shared that her persistence was the key factor in not letting Lachey get away with it:

"I kept calling the DA's office and told them that I thought he was getting preferential treatment, so finally they called me back and said, 'No he's not getting preferential treatment,' and explained that they have a program with the courts where they don't let misdemeanors just walk, they have to attend anger management classes and AA meetings.

Speaking further on the incident that night, Santos explains, "Nick's not really on the radar. I just saw him and I figured I would get a shot of the couple coming out of a restaurant. I have taken photos of him plenty of times and never had a problem, but this time was different. He flipped me off and then I heard Vanessa say, 'Go get 'em, open the door,' and then he started walking towards my car all aggressive." 

There have been plenty of photographer vs celebrity stories in recent years, including when Aquaman Jason Momoa told paparazzi to F*%@o*, as well as the time that Snoop Dogg didn't understand photography copyrizzle and blamed photographers for stealing his likeness. Will it ever end? At least Jody Santos got some justice in this case.

• You might also be interested in the best lenses for portraits, as well as the best cameras for Instagram, and not forgetting the best telephoto lenses for shooting from a distance.

• Take a look at why Dua Lipa was sued AGAIN for Instagram photo copyright, and discover how Weezer's latest music video was shot using a single 360 camera.

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.