The woman photographer who was accosted by Nick Lachey while snapping pictures in Beverly Hills over the weekend has told DailyMail.com that she feared the singer was going to ‘knock her out’ during the violent altercation.
Lachey, 48, was caught on video losing his temper with Jody Santos, going off on a foul-mouth rant, and attempting to snatch her phone from her car, after he was spotted having dinner with wife Vanessa on Sunday night.
In video shared on social media, the Love is Blind host can be seen approaching the woman and calling her a ‘p***y mother f***er,’ before reaching into her vehicle.
Santos, a veteran paparazzo, told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that she is still reeling from the Oscar-night incident.
Nick Lachey was seen losing his temper with a female photographer before attempting to snatch her phone while on a night out in Beverly Hills
Lachey, 48, was seen flipping off paparazzi after he was snapped leaving Mastro’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills Sunday night
The former pop star lost his cool after he spotted photographers taking photos of him and his wife during their dinner date
‘I’m still shaken up over this. I truly thought Nick was going to bust his fist through my car window,’ Santos said.
‘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.’
Veteran celebrity photographer Jody Santos told DailyMail.com she is still ‘shaken up’ over the incident
Santos, who has been in the paparazzi business for 18 years, said driving around celebrity hot spots at night and snapping pics of stars leaving fancy restaurants is common practice in her profession.
While driving through Beverly Hills Sunday she spotted Lachey and his wife Vanessa, leaving the popular Mastro’s Steakhouse, where a 4-oz kobe steak can cost as much as $240 and garlic mashed potatoes go for $15.
Santos said she pulled over across the street and began taking photographs, but what happened next came as a complete shock to her.
‘Nick’s not really on the radar. I just saw him and I figured I would get a shot of a couple coming out of a restaurant,’ she said.
‘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.
‘I immediately locked my door and rolled up my window as fast as I could. He then starts punching the window. I thought he was going to break his hand, that’s how hard he was hitting the glass. I am surprised he didn’t shatter the window.’
Santos said she waited for Lachey to walk away before rolling down her window and asking him: ‘Why are you being so mean to me, you used to be so nice? Why did you hit my window?’
Jody Santos told DailyMail.com she has snapped Lachey in public ‘plenty of times’ in the past without any issues
The paparazzo claimed Vanessa Lachey ‘gged’ her husband on and encouraged him to take action
The photographer was driving through Beverly Hills when she spotted Nick and Vanessa leaving the popular Mastro’s Steakhouse, where a 4oz. kobe steak can cost as much as $240
From there, the situation escalated.
‘I thought he was walking away. I had no idea he was going to turn around and come back, but that’s what happened,’ Santos said.
‘And this time he called me ap***y motherf***er, shoved his arm through my car window, and tried to grab my cell phone.
‘He couldn’t get it because it was strapped around my neck and I was trying to lean towards the passenger’s side as best I could.’
Santos said she believes Lachey had been drinking prior to the confrontation.
‘I could smell alcohol on his breath for sure,’ she added. ‘Then he asked me, “is the paparazzi still a thing?” and I said, yes, that’s why I’m here. I’m a photographer.’
Santos, who has been in the paparazzi business for 18 years, said driving around celebrity hot spots at night and snapping pics of stars leaving fancy restaurants was common practice in her profession. She is pictured right with singer Lana Del Rey
After footage of the altercation made headlines Monday, Lachey took to Twitter to address the incident and admitted that he ‘overreacted.’
He then went on to imply that he had been harassed by the paparazzi, writing: ‘Last night, after enjoying a great dinner with my wife and our dear friend, the paparazzi harassed us as we walked back to our hotel.
‘I clearly overreacted. I’ve been in this game long enough to know that their antics are sadly part of the deal. Stupid of me. Done.’
But the tweet drew criticism from social media users, as well as Santos, who shot down his claims that she had been harassing him from her car.
‘There were only two of us. [There were] two photographers and we were just doing our job. I was basically giving Nick free publicity with a possible story about a celebrity couple going out for dinner,’ Santos said.
‘Shame on Nick for not taking responsibility, for not apologizing to me and for putting the blame on me. Not to mention invading my personal space, attempting to punch me and steal my phone.
Lachey addressed the incident in a tweet Monday, admitting he ‘overreacted’ but claimed he was being ‘harassed’
Lachey’s tweet did not sit well with critics who believed he reacted aggressively despite the photographer keeping an appropriate distance
‘When is it ok for a man to do that to a woman? Never. His last word is “done”. I want him to know that I’m not done. And when he gets contacted by the police, he’ll realize he’s not done,’ she added.
Nick and Vanessa Lachey at the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards
Two days later on March 29, the celebrity couple took to social media to announce their new Netflix show The Ultimatum, in which they both star as hosts.
Earlier in the day, Lachey – Jessica Simpson’s ex husband – defended his actions once again in a follow-up tweet implying that he was the victim of a clickbait narrative and that it was ‘reckless’ and ‘absolutely false’ to say that he had been violent or physical during his altercation with the photographer.
But Santos said the statement is another example of Lachey shifting blame and failing to take responsibility for his actions.
‘Nick had time to go on social media to promote his new show, but he didn’t have the time to reach out to me and apologize,’ she said. ‘Instead, he twisted the truth and put the blame on me.
‘First I want an apology from him, and then I want him to know that it’s not ok to come after a photographer, let alone a female one and use foul, sexist language. He needs to take accountability for his actions.
‘It’s one thing to be violent towards a woman and call her foul names, and it’s another when you blame the other person and lie about what really happened.’
Two days after the incident, Lachey and wife Vanessa took to social media to announce their new Netflix show The Ultimatum, in which both they will both star as hosts
The couple, who tied the knot in 2011, will host new reality show after appearing as hosts of hit Netflix series Love is Blind
‘Is this really the image he wants kids to see? That he thinks it’s okay to treat a woman like this, and then to put the blame on her? And what’s up with Vanessa egging him on?’
Lachey’s tweet did not sit well with critics who believed the photographer had kept an appropriate distance while taking photos and called on the former pop star to make a personal apology.
‘[You] left out the part about she was in her car (not harassing you), you were drunk and called her a very misogynistic name, and reached in her car and tried to take her phone,’ one user said.
‘She did not deserve to be attacked. She was literally sitting her in car, quite a ways away from them. He had to run across the street to reach into her car/bang on the window. I wish people would stop acting like violence is ok when they are inconvenienced,’ said another.