Five years ago, Jessica Simpson was offered to write a motivational book about how to live your best life, but she didn’t feel she could be the one to do it.
“I didn’t feel comfortable talking about myself in a way that wasn’t honest,” said Simpson. “I’m a horrible liar.”
The singer and fashion designer opened up in her new memoir, Open Book, about the first time she was sexually abused as a young girl. The experience left her with emotional pain, alongside other stressors, including career pressures, which made her turn to self-medicate with alcohol and substances – a dependency which would later prompt her doctor to tell her that her life was in danger if she continued self-medicating.
“I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills,” she wrote.
In November 2017, Simpson got sober and hasn’t sipped alcohol since. “Giving up the alcohol was easy,” she said. “I was mad at that bottle. At how it allowed me to stay complacent and numb.” She admits that therapy was the hard part. She wrote, “With work, I allowed myself to feel the traumas I’d been through.”
The sexual abuse began when she was just 6 years old. She “shared a bed with the daughter of a family friend,” and “it would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable.”
Simpson, frozen with fear, worried that this was somehow her fault. “I wanted to tell my parents,” she wrote. “I was the victim but somehow I felt in the wrong.” She opened up to her parents, Tina and Joe Simpson, when she was 12 years old, while on a car trip.
Her mother slapped Joe’s arm and screamed at him: “I told you something was happening.”
“Dad kept his eye on the road and said nothing,” Simpson wrote. “We never stayed at my parents’ friends house again but we also didn’t talk about what I had said.”
In the years following the unfortunate situation, she skyrocketed to fame with her voice and her own reality TV show Newlyweds, which documented her three-year marriage with Nick Lachey. Despite living the “high life,” she buried her anxiety, the pain and the trauma she had experienced in the past. Only her closest loved ones knew the truth.
In 2010, Simpson, who runs the clothing line Jessica Simpson Collection, met her soul mate Eric Johnson. The two tied the knot in 2014 and now have three kids together, 7-year-old daughter Maxwell, 6-year-old son Ace, and 10-month-old baby girl Birdie.
In her new memoir, she also wrote about hitting rock bottom after hosting a Halloween party at their home in late 2017. She opened up to her closest friends: “I need to stop. Something’s got to stop. And if it’s the alcohol that’s doing this, and making things worse, then I quit.”
Her friends came together during Simpson’s hardship and supported her since then. With the help of her family and team of health professionals and therapy sessions, the singer has been sober since that day.
“When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life,” she said. “I found direction and that was to walk straight ahead with no fear.”
“Honesty is hard but it’s the most rewarding thing we have,” Simpson added. “And getting to the other side of fear is beautiful.”
Along with the release of her book, Simpson is also releasing six new songs that tell her story.
“It’s been a long hard deep emotional journey,” she said. “One that I’ve come through the other side with pure happiness and fulfillment and acceptance of myself. I’ve used my pain and turned it into something that can be beautiful and hopefully inspiring to people.”