You can bet Nick Lachey was excited to mark his 34th
birthday on Nov. 9. That’s not just because he shares it with girlfriend
Vanessa Minnillo, who turned 27, but also because it capped a rebirth of sorts.

“2007 has been a rebuilding year for me… music, studio, learning things about
who I am as a man,” Nick tells Extra at his restaurant Company American Bistro’s
grand opening on Wednesday, where he and Vanessa celebrate their birthdays. “I
think it’s exciting. Any time you learn
and grow it’s an exciting time.”

Not to mention, it was much better than what he went through last year, when his
divorce with Jessica Simpson was finalized. “I don’t think you can get much
worse than the year before [2006]. The last year has been good… been in the
studio working on a new album. I’m
excited to get that out in 2008.”

It will be the former boy bander’s third solo album. His
second, What’s Left of Me, was released last year and featured heartbroken
tunes no doubt inspired by his very public split.

“There have been some great albums that come out of
heartbreaking times… my last album,” Nick says.

So now that he’s in a different place in his life, can we expect happier numbers? Most likely.

“As an artist, it’s our responsibility to draw on whatever we are
going through.”

For more on Nick, tune into Extra tonight.

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