Her marriage to Nick Lachey may have been short-lived — their reality show too. But her brand, the Jessica Simpson Collection, has thrived for decades. You may not imagine that she still actively makes money, but her brand has seen more dollars than yours ever will. Let’s dive into the not-so-ditzy world of Jessica Simpson. Hers is a story of glamour, grit, and gossip.
A Preacher Man’s Daughter
Jessica Simpson was born on July 10, 1980, in Richardson, Texas – north of Dallas. Her mother, Tina, was a homemaker, while her father, Joe, worked as a psychologist and a Baptist minister. Like most stars, Simpson’s first experiences with music were in the church choir.
She enjoyed every moment of it. Everyone could see that she was talented. By age 11, Simpson was making public appearances on the vibrant gospel circuit.
Shattered Dreams at the Happiest Place on Earth
Getting into the Mickey Mouse Club was every budding star’s dream. Simpson jumped at the chance when she heard that Disney Channel was holding auditions. She went to the 1992 regional tryouts in Dallas, where she stood out among 30,000 hopefuls. Although Simpson made it as a finalist, she froze on stage.
Anyone would if their audition slot was right after Christina Aguilera’s! She had to follow that? Simpson knew she had blown it. Had she succeeded, Simpson would’ve been part of the elite Mouskeeter gang in the ‘90s – Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, and Christina Aguilera.
Despite the Disney nightmare, Simpson’s family encouraged her to keep trying. She held on to the music in her and continued singing at church camp. A year later, the camp’s guest speaker heard Simpson sing and was blown away by her acapella rendition of “Amazing Grace.” By chance or divine intervention, he also happened to be launching a new gospel label.
Before you could say amen, Simpson had signed with the fledgling Proclaim Records and began working on her first gospel album. The good times were short-lived, though. Proclaim Records folded, and Simpson had an album with nobody to sell it.
No Better Support System Than Family
Simpson had already experienced her fair share of disappointments for someone so young. Through all of it, her close-knit family kept her going. What are fancy record labels when you have a loving family? Simpson’s grandmother put in her own money to help release the album.
The singer and her father decided to team up on the Christian music circuit. Joe would preach to his flock, while Jessica was featured as a musical performer. Listeners were moved by her singing and would pick up a CD after. Soon, she began opening for gospel legends such as Cece Winans.
Salvation, But With Many Strings Attached
Simpson began making a name for herself in the gospel music circuit. For a while, it seemed like she finally belonged. Encouraged by the success, Simpson took her album to several Christian record companies. What she encountered was decidedly un-Christian.
While Jesus loved her for who she was, record labels weren’t as welcoming. Every company turned her down. It had nothing to do with her talent and everything to do with her body. She was too curvy — an early bloomer. Men wouldn’t be able to help themselves, they said.
The Sweet New Face of Teen Girl Pop
After being turned away at the gates, Simpson decided to pursue a career in pop music. It was a leap of faith that would change her life. The family sought the help of Tim Medlebaum, an entertainment attorney, who facilitated meetings with nine record labels.
Sony Music Executive, Tommy Mottola, was so impressed that he signed Simpson on the spot. She had the looks and the voice. The only thing left to do was market Simpson as a virginal pop star — someone whose sweet, wholesome image would be a foil to the more sensual Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera.
The Price of Fame
With Tommy Mottola’s backing, Simpson finally got her moment in the sun. It seemed perfect — but behind all the glamour lay a dark secret. Right after signing with Sony, Mottola told Simpson to shed 15 pounds. He said it was the only chance she had of ever being famous. He wanted “Janet Jackson abs” for her next video.
Mottola’s comments fed deeply into her insecurities, and she promptly went on a starvation diet. She took diet pills and even drew abs onto her stomach. It would mark the beginnings of a 20-year struggle with body dysmorphia.
Her Successful Debut Single
Jessica Simpson’s moment arrived with her debut single, “I Wanna Love You Forever". The single was released on September 28, 1999, and became a huge success. Her arrival marked a new era in the teen pop girl revolution.
“I Wanna Love You Forever” was an uplifting ballad – the same kind that allowed Columbia Records to build Mariah Carey's phenomenal career trajectory in the 90s. Simpson’s single reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. While not the most popular single by Simpson, it’s the only one that reached the top 10 in America.
Necessarily Late to the Game
Tommy Mottola signed Jessica Simpson with Columbia in 1997. Why did it take the company so long to release her album? Allegedly, Mottola had promised Simpson that he would release her album within six months. Had that happened, the bubble gum pop industry would have looked different.
By the time she arrived with “I Wanna Love You Forever,” Simpson had been beaten to the game by Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Mandy Moore. Whether by design or accident, these stars arrived before Simpson – a wholesome new role model for teen girls.
Jessica Simpson Arrives
In 1999, Simpson released her first album, “Sweet Kisses." The album’s catchy tunes and ballads found a huge audience, steadily climbing the charts until it reached platinum status. The same year, she recorded “Did You Ever Love Somebody” for the much-adored show “Dawson’s Creek” (1998).
Simpson sat pretty at the top of the charts. Even while sharing space with forces like Aguilera and Spears, she had finally made it. She went on tour to promote her album and opened for stars like Ricky Martin and the boy band 98 Degrees.
New Beginnings, New Romances
Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson met at the Hollywood Christmas parade in 1998. When the singer went on her album tour, sparks were already flying. Lachey later told the press that he spent all night looking for her through the crowds. In 2000, the two collaborated on “Where You Are” – Simpson’s second single from her debut album.
The couple appeared in a music video, singing to each other.
A Virgin and Not Just for PR
Tony Mottola had a big hand in crafting Simpson’s image as a hot but wholesome star. But given her roots, it wasn’t entirely a marketing exercise. Simpson wanted to become a positive role model for teen girls in the best way she knew. She was a vocal advocate for abstinence before marriage. Her message was that innocence is sexy, no matter what others might tell you.
She even turned down a role in “Coyote Ugly” (2000) since the sex scenes did not align with her personal values.
All Grown Up
Simpson attempted to reinvent herself after tying the knot with Lachey in October 2000. In 2001, she released “Irresistible,” an album that reflected a more mature, sophisticated her. How much someone can change in a year is debatable. But at age 21, she believed she had figured out who she was as a person and an artist.
The album was an effort to articulate this edgier version of herself. But unfortunately, there weren’t too many takers or believers. The “Irresistible” album didn’t do as well commercially as “Sweet Kisses.”
The Newlyweds Bring People Home
In 2003, Simpson and Lachey invited viewers into their lives with an MTV show called “Newlyweds.” The pair was deeply in love and didn’t have anything to hide, or so they thought.
Simpson and Lachey wanted everything to be as natural as possible. They wanted to show everyone how “normal” they were as a couple. Viewers got to see unedited glimpses of their lives — from daily routine to fights. The reality series was a massive hit, with 2.7 million viewers watching the show each week.
Is It Chicken or Tuna?
Part of what attracted viewers to the show were the funny moments. The world has “Newlyweds” to thank for the infamous “dumb blonde” moment that follows Simpson around forevermore.
In one of her more ditzy moments on the show, Simpson is seen opening a can of tuna by the brand “Chicken of the Sea.” She first thought it was funny and then promptly got confused. Was she eating chicken? Was it tuna? Lachey explained it to her. Although the moment passed, the world never forgot.
What’s Real, What Isn’t?
Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were the first couple of reality TV. They seemed genuinely in love – but there’s always the question about whether any of it was actually real.
One of the show’s producers revealed in an interview that a constant, genuine thing on the show was Simpson’s personality. She was always true to herself. Call her naïve, or maybe fearless, but she never put on a show for the cameras. What you saw was 100%, Simpson.
The Character Everyone Forgot She Played
While everyone remembers her for mistaking tuna for chicken, here’s one thing the world forgot — Jessica Simpson was in “That 70’s Show” (1998).
In 2002, Simpson played “Blonde Jackie” or Annette – a beautiful girl from California who catches the attention of Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher). She was a Jackie (Mila Kunis) replica, only blonde. Simpson played Annette for a three-episode arc. In the end, her character, who refused to play second fiddle to Jackie, returned to California.
Was She Playacting or Actually an Airhead?
Jessica Simpson was the ditzy blonde everyone loved to hate. Her legions of fans continued loving her, but she earned a ton of criticism for appearing “dumb.” Later, people began speculating whether it was all for show. Was she deliberately playing an airhead?
At the height of her bimbette persona on “Newlyweds,” Simpson’s mother, Tina, revealed that her daughter had an IQ score of over 150 points in the fifth grade. If this is true, Simpson could be a bonafide genius! We may never know the truth. But she did go on to build a billion-dollar fashion empire, despite her airhead ways.
A Third Studio Album
With “Newlyweds,” Simpson had made her mark on television. She leveraged her newly-acquired reputation as a TV star and released her third album, “In This Skin” in 2003.
Her single “With You” would become one of the most successful songs of her career. Fans particularly enjoyed the music video. She's eating tuna and presumably laughing at herself along with everyone else. In 2004, Simpson released an expanded version of “In This Skin” with footage from “Newlyweds”, after which she went on tour to promote the album.
Her Most Successful Album
“In This Skin” became her most successful album. The album sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. But what made the album different from its predecessors, 1999's “Sweet Kisses” and 2001's “Irresistible”?
For one, Simpson took more creative control of her music. She co-wrote 10 out of 14 songs on the album. These songs incorporated pop-rock, dance, Middle-Eastern music, and acoustic — a significant departure from the teen-boppy style of her previous two albums. If you listen closely, the songs explore more mature themes lyrically.
Everyone Wants Jessica
The success of “Newlyweds” created a stream of other projects for Simpson. First up, the popular show came back for a second season in January 2004. In April of that same year, ABC brought the couple onboard for the ”Nick & Jessica Variety Hour.”
Simpson launched a line of beauty products, also in April. “Dessert Beauty” contained products known for their kissable, edible quality. Yes, people could literally eat their cosmetics. In addition, she was being considered for film roles, and there were even sitcom discussions being held.
An Album Close to Her
You can almost see the collective eye roll whenever news breaks about another Holiday album in the market. “Rejoyce: The Christmas Album” (2004) was more than just another project for Simpson. Anyone who knows Jessica knows that she’s a devout Christian. Her faith has shaped and informed her life in more ways than one. Simpson’s refreshing take on Christmas songs was received very well by fans.
Her album gave a contemporary spin on old holiday favorites without going over the top. And we know from history that holiday albums can be tricky endeavors.
Good Girl Turns Bad
In 2005, Simpson broke away from the good girl image forever. She made her debut on the big screen as Daisy Duke in “The Dukes of Hazzard” (2005). But it was her steamy music video for the film that made the news and started a controversy.
For the uninitiated, “These Boots Are Made For Walking” features Simpson in a skimpy outfit and cowboy boots. Those who’ve watched it will remember Simpson as Daisy Duke, writhing around on a car. Several countries promptly banned the music video.
Don’t Be Fooled by the Dumb Blonde Image
Simpson realized early on that her fans liked listening to what she had to say, no matter how silly. People were also interested in what she was wearing. And so, she decided to do a fashion line — because why shouldn’t girls and women be able to dress like her?
Simpson envisioned a brand that made “celebrity fashion” accessible and affordable to everyone. In time, the Jessica Simpson Collection would include clothes, accessories, luggage, and perfumes. But the journey first began with shoes. The collection started as a shoe collaboration with Nine West and was enormously successful.
These Boots Are Meant for Buying
At 5 ft 3 inches, Simpson was famous for rocking heels. Her shoes garnered extra attention after “Dukes Of Hazzard.” While criticizing her ‘skimpy’ outfit, the world was hyper-focused on her cowboy boots.
Simpson knew that the first product for her line had to be shoes. The only person who could make that happen was Vince Camuto, the shoe-licensing mogul. Camuto didn’t know much about Simpson when she reached out to him. But his son, a fan of “Newlyweds,” provided much-needed insight. In 2005, Simpson and Camuto launched their first product and bestseller – a red, high-heeled “Daisy” cowboy boot.
The Simpson Effect
Most celebrity brands who work with celebrities consider the potential risks. There’s always the chance that they might say or do something outrageous. But not Jessica Simpson. She could say or do no wrong in the public’s view. Part of the reason for this was her stint with Reality TV. Fans felt like they already knew her.
Nothing she said or did could shock consumers since they had seen it all. It also helped that Simpson was always up for promoting the brand. She loved in-store appearances, meetings, and interviews. Her identity as the frontwoman was never in doubt.
The Simpson Sibling Rivalry
The public personas of Jessica Simpson and Ashlee Simpson indicated that the two famous singing sisters had very little in common. Rumors were flying that the two didn’t get along. In 2004, Ashlee wrote a song called “Shadow” which seemed to confirm the gossip. The lyrics are telling. She sings, "I was stuck inside someone else's life and always second best/ She was beautiful/ She had everything and more.”
The lyrics likely referred to Jessica. The dislike seemed mutual. According to reports, Jessica took her mother for a two-week holiday to the Virgin Islands that overlapped with the due date of Ashlee’s first child.
No Longer Newlyweds or Wed
2005 was a big year for Simpson since she made significant strides in her career. But it was also a year of heartache. Simpson and Lachey separated in November and signed divorce papers in December — a fact that shocked their fans.
Simpson broke the news to a “blindsided” Lachey in the car on their way back from a dinner date. Ironically, it was “Newlyweds” that had created misunderstandings and tension between the couple. They believed they had begun to play their roles even when the cameras weren’t rolling, and that's never a good thing for a marriage.
The Third Wheel
“Newlyweds” played a big part in creating a rift between Simpson and Lachey. But many people believe there were far more insidious forces at play. It wasn’t a secret that Simpson’s father, Joe, had never liked Lachey.
Joe was an undeniable, often unwelcome presence in Simpson’s life. He was always around, even when he wasn’t — he was still somehow pulling the strings behind the scenes. Did he affect their marriage? Lachey thought so and felt Joe was partly responsible for the split. It’s one of the reasons the divorce was so bitter.
Her Biggest Money Mistake
Simpson had many regrets about her marriage to Lachey. But she confessed later that there was one thing that specifically came back to bite her — the insane payout she had to give Lachey to finalize the divorce. Who’s to blame for that debacle? Joe Simpson, according to the grapevine.
Joe reportedly discouraged his daughter from signing a prenup since Lachey was a much bigger star when they married. But by the time they divorced, Simpson was worth much more! She reportedly paid him a whopping $12 million. Love hurts!
The Epic Rebound
Simpson wasn’t one to cry over a man. Nine months after her divorce from Lachey, she found herself a new man in John Mayer. Mayer’s infamous reputation with the ladies was well-established. With Jessica Simpson, the story would reach bizarre, extremely predatory heights – even for Mayer.
The two began dating in 2006 – marking the beginning of a steamy on-again-off-again relationship. Unbeknownst to Simpson, the nightmare was only beginning. Things were about to get a lot more twisted.
Red Flags Galore
Jessica’s ongoing body-image struggles reared their ugly head while dating Mayer. Mayer was unhealthily “obsessed” and took a gazillion photos of her. Simpson became terrified that he was doing “a Mayer” – collecting souvenirs before dumping her.
She became incredibly anxious, placing enormous pressure on herself to be perfect. This played out in every conceivable way — from how she looked to scrutinizing the texts she sent him for impeccable grammar and spelling! It was never enough.
Jessica Drops Another Album That Bombs
The release of “A Public Affair” in 2006 proved what everyone already knew. Simpson had a voice, but nobody seemed keen on putting it to great use.
The first single arrived in anticipation of her divorce to Nick Lachey finally materializing — an up-tempo breakup track, if you will. In fact, it came out just one day before the two signed the dotted line. “A Public Affair” entered the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. The album didn’t fare well. Coincidentally, the song reached the top ten only on the iTunes store, the same time as Ashlee Simpson’s “Invisible.”
Why the Album Missed the Mark
“A Public Affair,” debuted at No. 5 on the US Billboard 200 but failed to make a splash. Eventually, the album sold only 500,000 units in the United States. Critics had mixed reviews.
Some enjoyed the musical diversity compared to her previous works. Others believe she may have been too scared to create anything original. For instance, the single “A Public Affair” sounded a lot like Madonna’s “Holiday.” “I Belong to Me” was way too tame to be an actual empowerment anthem. Industry watchers felt that Simpson’s days as an artist might be over.
Jessica in “Employee of the Month”
While navigating her tense relationship with Mayer, Simpson made appearances in several films. Among them was “Employee of the Month” (2006), where she played the gorgeous Amy – an ambitious new employee who joins the Super Club supermarket.
The film didn’t enjoy commercial or critical success. Simpson’s role followed familiar, cliched tropes – a beautiful girl who inspires an unambitious man to change. People were tired of seeing the same old cliches on screen.
More TV Ambitions
In 2007, Simpson starred as Katie Gregerstitch in the romantic comedy “Blonde Ambition.” Most of the film’s story seemed straight out of the singer’s life – a small-town girl who moves to the city with big dreams.
Rumor had it that the movie was a remake of “Working Girl” (1988). Simpson believed the themes were similar, but she wouldn’t classify it as a remake. Despite the film eventually bombing at the box office, it still grossed an impressive $2.7 million in the first five days of the DVD release. Jessica's loyal fan base probably had everything to do with it.
A Relationship Detour
Just like her acting career, Simpson’s relationship with Mayer was on-again-off-again. The couple broke up and got back together at least nine times. During one of these long breaks, Simpson started dating Tony Romo, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
This relationship was worlds apart – healthy and stable, with no drama. It seemed like she had finally gotten over Mayer – until the singer barged his way back into a family event, begging her to take him back. Simpson wisely refused. But Romo wasn’t at this event, and she foolishly decided not to tell him about it. Romo dumped her on finding out.
Bad Luck Charm
Tony Romo was clearly good for Jessica Simpson — but many people believed Simpson was his bad luck charm throughout their relationship. Coincidentally, Romo’s performance on the Dallas Cowboys was far from perfect during this time.
He ended up playing some of the worst games of his career. Simpson received a lot of fan hate for “distracting” him. The failure wasn’t in Romo’s form or skills. How could it be? It had to be his girlfriend. She received cruel nicknames like “Yoko Romo” from the Dallas Cowboy fans. Everyone, even then-President George W. Bush, blamed her for his poor performance.
In between two tumultuous relationships, Simpson decided to take a complete U-turn career-wise by venturing into country music. What possessed her to make this move remains a mystery, especially in a genre notorious for conservative gatekeeping. Expectedly, the move was disastrous.
She released “Do You Know” (2008), a honky-tonk album that failed spectacularly, both commercially, and critically. Call it foolish or brave, but the singer even performed at the Country Thunder USA Festival in Wisconsin, where the audience unceremoniously booed her off the stage. Being a girl from Texas wasn’t enough to make someone a country star.
The Scent of a Woman
2008 was the year the singer proved her versatility yet again. Simpson collaborated with Parlux Fragrances to launch her first perfume, “Fancy.” Fragrances would become an integral component of her brand.
The scent received rave reviews for being ultra-feminine, and sales were excellent. The perfume was also affordable, helping it stand out among other celebrity brands. “Fancy” had a sweet scent similar to the wildly popular “Viva La Juicy” of the time.
Jessica Finally Calls It Quits
The Jessica-John story took a notorious turn in 2010 when Mayer gave an interview for Playboy. In the now-scandalous interview, Mayer declared that he was addicted to Simpson. What followed was an elaborate retelling of their private lives. He spared no detail about what went on in the bedroom – details the world will never un-hear.
A humiliated Simpson was “so done” and broke up with him – for good this time. She had to change her phone number and email address to rid herself of his presence.
The Emotional Affair
Few people know that around this time, Jessica Simpson had another man in her life besides John Mayer and Tony Romo. The mysterious, lesser-known beau was Johnny Knoxville, her co-star on “Dukes Of Hazzard.”
But the two only shared an “emotional affair,” according to Simpson, and they never slept together. She later admitted that she could share her feelings and thoughts with Knoxville freely. Their relationship and closeness began when Simpson was still married to Nick Lachey.
A New Low for the Media
In 2009, the star showed up to a Florida chili cook-off, performing in a tank top and a pair of admittedly unflattering mom jeans. She thought nothing about it and left — until the press, haters, and everyone in between decided to weigh in on her curvy figure.
Words like “fat” and “Jumbo Jessica” made the rounds. A woman was brought down for wearing jeans – a new low for the media. The horrific comments triggered severe bouts of body dysmorphia for Simpson.
Uncovering the Price of Beauty
Jessica's response to the haters came in the form of a 2010 VH1 Documentary series, “The Price Of Beauty.” As the host, Jessica Simpson traveled to different countries to understand how different women perceive and pursue ideas of external beauty. It was a theme close to the singer’s heart. She met women who resorted to extreme measures like physical pain and starvation to feel “beautiful.”
The show wasn’t a raging success but was received positively by audiences. While Simpson and her friends remained objective and non-judgmental, some of the finer nuances of cultural sensitivity seemed lost on them.
She Loved Lending a Hand
When she wasn’t on set or building a business empire, Simpson was helping the less fortunate. In 2010, She served as the International Youth Ambassador for Operation Smile – an international charity providing corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and facial deformities.
She often spoke of a child named Boke, who she met in Kenya while volunteering on a medical mission. Although the team treated over 250 children, little Boke left a lasting impression on Simpson. She stayed with the child through all phases of the treatment – from initial evaluations through surgery and recovery.
You’ve Got the Wrong Girl
Besides the VH1 documentary, 2010 was also looking up for Simpson dating-wise. She and retired NFL star Eric Johnson began dating. The couple was incredibly smitten. But it seemed like old demons would continue to haunt Simpson. Johnson was deeply in love and excitedly broke the news to his parents about her.
They asked him if Jessica was the one who had shaved her head and had two kids. They thought she was Britney Spears – a comparison that had plagued Simpson throughout her career.
Not Your Father Figure
It’s no secret that Jessica Simpson idolized her father growing up. After all, being part of his world and the church circuit is how her life as an artist started. When Joe Simpson suddenly left – the betrayal hit them very hard.
In 2012, Joe abandoned his family for a while. He had been planning to leave the marriage for a long time but Jessica never expected him to up and leave the way he did. Simpson took many months to heal and get over the bitterness. But her troubles with Joe were just getting started.
Jessica Fires Her Father
Simpson had to take a difficult but logical next step after her parents separated. She needed to fire Joe Simpson as her manager. To anyone, the decision was understandable and even warranted. But Joe refused to acknowledge that this was it.
It was almost as if he had disassociated. For a long while, Joe pretended as if nothing had changed. He ignored Simpson’s wishes and continued making decisions on her behalf. Things got so bad that Simpson had to fire him five times because he refused to accept that he was no longer in charge.
Jessica Simpson Mentors Young Fashion Hopefuls
In 2012, Simpson appeared as a mentor on NBC’s “Fashion Star” alongside Nicole Ritchie and John Varvatos. What “The Voice” did for singing reality contests, “Fashion Star” similarly hoped to achieve in fashion design reality TV.
Every week, the three mentors supported amateur designers with big fashion dreams. The show followed familiar tropes – themes, challenges, winners, and eliminations — but was different in its focus on the business side of building a brand. Something that Simpson was great at already. The show aired for two seasons but was canceled in 2013.
Fashion That Leaves No One Behind
Although her music and acting careers came to a halt, Simpson’s fashion line endured. The brand was forever evolving and growing – much like Simpson herself. In 2012, she took another step in her commitment to inclusive fashion.
She made a maternity clothing line! She launched the collection so that moms-to-be could proudly show off their baby bumps. The clothes were designed to make moms look and feel great. Sometimes, a new outfit can lift a tired pregnant mother’s spirits unlike anything or anyone else. The announcement came weeks after the birth of her daughter, Maxwell Drew Johnson.
More Troubles With Joe
Jessica had to deal with Joe Simpson’s shenanigans long after she fired him. Days before her wedding to Johnson, she received a call from Joe asking if he could bring a +1 to her wedding – his male model “friend,” Jonathan Keith.
Simpson was taken aback. She had never met Keith before. Was her father casually coming out of the closet? Joe has never confirmed dating Keith or being gay to date. Simpson herself remains tight-lipped about a story that’s not hers to tell. Despite the drama, Simpson and Johnson’s lavish, beautiful wedding in 2014 took place without any glitches.
Wedding Stories That Left Everyone in Splits
The second time was truly the charm for Jessica Simpson. The wedding was magical – except she noticed that her husband-to-be was behaving strangely. He looked unhappy as she walked down the aisle.
Simpson being Simpson, immediately thought he hated the way she looked. Did he not like the dress? The truth was hilarious. In the bridal procession were Johnson and Simpson’s children, Maxwell and Ace. Ace ran into Johnson’s arms during the procession. As he lifted the child – his pants ripped up! After finishing their vows, Johnson whispered, “Babe. I split my pants completely.”
A Successful Business Woman Is Born
Simpson’s clothing brand was wildly successful, without the need for too much noise or buzz. Unlike other businesses, the company emerged stronger after the recession and quietly dominated the fashion industry.
In 2015, her clothing line brought in a revenue of $1 billion from several retailers like HSN, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. Few businesses ever survive or make it to the billion-dollar mark. A remarkable feat for a venture once dismissed by everyone as a vanity project by another celebrity. Simpson was an unlikely but savvy business mogul.
Before Size-Inclusive Was a Thing, There Was Jessica Simpson
Simpson’s down-to-earth and relatable nature became an extension of her brand. She made fashion accessible to all women — long before buzzwords like “body positivity” and “body neutrality” took over social media.
She had experience being in different sizes, with an intimate experience of how shopping or trying on clothes can be triggering for anyone who wasn’t “skinny.” Every woman wants to feel included. When a fashion line carries clothes in all sizes, that’s a powerful affirmation that every individual matters. Her brand’s inclusive vision only strengthened the bond with her fans.
Simpson’s marriage to Johnson seemed happy – but she was still battling her inner demons. Years of ruthless media scrutiny about her body had taken a toll, and Simpson reached a breaking point.
She was mortified by how she looked. It became impossible to look at herself in the mirror without falling apart. Simpson wore a white t-shirt all the time. She would even shower with it on. Things reached such a pass that she wouldn’t allow her husband to see her without the t-shirt, even when they were intimate.
She Turned to Plastic Surgery
Unable to live with her body any longer, Simpson considered surgery. She felt that a full tummy tuck was the only thing that could “fix” her body at the time. Desperation led her to push for surgery, even though her doctor was against the idea completely.
The singer eventually got her way and went under the knife. Simpson later said she never regretted the decision. But she realized that surgery didn’t make her feel better or significantly happier with herself. Her insecurities ran much deeper than what a surgeon’s knife could fix.
Simpson’s Struggles With Addiction
Although her struggles with weight and body image issues are well-known, she also had problems the public knew nothing about. She suffered from debilitating anxiety.
Since her tense, draining relationship with John Mayer, Simpson sustained some mental health issues. The crippling self-doubt made her question everything she said or did. It was too much for her and she started self-medicating. But there’s only so much numbing one can do. The residual trauma often resulted in nervous breakdowns.
A Very Public Unraveling
Few people outside the family knew about Simpson’s struggles with addiction. But intense issues like that don’t remain secret for long. The moment of unraveling came in the worst way conceivable. In 2017, Simpson appeared on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” when she alarmed audiences everywhere with her strange behavior. A visibly disoriented Simpson slurred her words and gave incoherent answers to questions.
She couldn’t recall how long she had been married. Simpson later admitted that she had been drinking before the interview. To this day, she hasn’t been able to bring herself to watch the interview.
The Tipping Point
Simpson had sunk deep into addiction, and it was only a matter of time before everything came crashing. The day of reckoning came on Halloween of 2017. It was 7:30 am, and Simpson had already downed a few drinks. By afternoon, she zoned out completely.
Simpson was so far gone that she couldn’t help dress her kids in their costumes. Overcome with shame, she slept in the next day and hid from her family because she had “failed” them. She realized she had hit rock bottom and called her close friends for help.
The Road to Recovery
Simpson finally came to terms with her addiction. She enlisted family, friends, therapists, and doctors to help her on the road to recovery. She's been sober since 2017. Sobriety and staying healthy was the best gift she could give her kids, her husband, and herself. What’s more, Simpson took charge of the narrative surrounding the most challenging moments in her life.
Within a few weeks of being sober, she started writing a memoir on her struggles and the dark side of being a star. From incredible pain came catharsis through writing – and the hope that her experiences may help others.
Why Simpson Put in All Her Money to Buy Back Her Brand
A few years ago, Simpson sold her billion-dollar brand to a licensing company called Sequential Brands. The over-ambitious company went belly up and filed for bankruptcy. In 2019, Simpson put forward a whopping $64 million bid to buy back her own company – a decisive and symbolic move.
For someone who had tripped, fallen, and risen from the depths of despair, reclaiming her brand was the ultimate investment in herself. For Simpson, it meant reaffirming faith and infusing new life into a company she loved.
Decisive Decisions on a Difficult Day
The decision to buy back the Jessica Simpson Collection was a long-time coming. The plan was set to motion in 2019, on a day that was anything but regular. Simpson was 34 weeks pregnant with her third child.
During this time, she developed severe bronchitis and needed hospitalization. But it was on the same day that Simpson and her mother made a plan to fight for complete ownership of the company. She decided she would do anything to regain control of her legacy.
She’s Fine With Different Versions of Her
Jessica is no longer afraid to laugh at previous versions of herself. Those who followed her career will remember her on the 2003 cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The cover featured her with perfect hair, dressed in nothing but her underwear and high heels. She’s carrying a mop of sorts, and underneath the image is the title, “Housewife of the Year.”
Fast forward to 2020, Simpson posted a new picture – hair barely brushed, goofy smile, no make-up, and holding cleaning supplies. The delightful caption said, "Housewife of the Year looks a little different these days."
Simpson Is an Open Book
In 2020, Simpson published “Open Book,” her long-awaited memoir. The book is a candid retelling of events in her life. Some, such as the infamous chili cook-off and her body image issues, were already public knowledge. But nobody was prepared for some of the chilling revelations Simpson writes about with anguished detail.
From memories she had repressed to father-daughter dynamics, the book uncovers the secret, troubled life that Simpson led. For everyone who read it, “Open Book” became the book they didn't know they needed.
Why Everyone Wants to Work With Jessica Simpson Again
Interest in the Jessica Simpson Collection skyrocketed in 2020. It was bound to happen with Jessica and her mother, Tina Simpson, back in the driver’s seat. The two saw the company through a recession and a global health crisis.
The timing was perfect since everyone was reading and losing themselves in “Open Book.” In an interview, Simpson said she’s nothing without her fans. You may not like her or her music. But there’s no doubt that almost everyone loves Simpson’s shoes and clothes. And that is what keeps her going.
Shocking Revelations About Her Childhood
One of the most chilling revelations in “Open Book” was Simpson’s experience with assault. Simpson reveals that the daughter of a family friend behaved inappropriately with her when she was just six years old. Simpson was extremely uncomfortable but like most young girls, believed she was to blame somehow.
She repressed the memories and refused to face them – part of which fuelled her addiction issues later on. She has since dealt with the trauma in therapy.
Britney Spears Stealing Moments From Jessica
Time does heal wounds. With therapy and her loved one’s support, Simpson learned to cope healthily with the Britney Spears comparisons. She reached a stage where she could even laugh about it. In “Open Book,” she writes about a family vacation to Disney World in 2018.
She had gone there with her kids and husband when a woman approached her at the pool. She was super excited to be meeting Britney Spears! Simpson took it in good humor – musing at how only Britney could pull off stealing a Disney moment from her. The woman came back and apologized to Simpson for her mistake.
Her Complicated Relationship With Her Father
In her memoir, Simpson bares all about the complicated relationship she shares with her father. Joe Simpson managed her career from the start. While instrumental in getting her places, his presence grew more intrusive over the years.
She recounts how he tried to persuade her to pull a Runaway Bride while marrying Nick Lachey. He tried to get her to reconsider the wedding until she declared with gritted teeth that she was walking down the aisle regardless. The two’s relationship hit another rocky patch after Joe divorced her mother.
How “Newlyweds” Made Her Marriage a Nightmare
Simpson’s memoir takes readers inside her marriage with Nick Lachey. While filming “Newlyweds,” the constant presence of the cameras blurred the lines between reality and TV for the couple. Were they being filmed? Were they not? She felt like they could no longer be their genuine selves.
Jessica recounts one night when the pair got up from the couch and walked to an empty parking lot nearby. Only then, when they were finally out of earshot, could they yell and scream at each other. The paranoia as a result of the show had taken over their lives.
On Her Affair With Johnny Knoxville
Simpson admits in her memoir to having a soft spot for “Dukes Of Hazzard” co-star Johnny Knoxville. While everyone knows the two never got physical, few realized how deeply she fell for Knoxville while still married to Lachey.
While inappropriate, she said it was the safest she had ever felt. Knoxville brought out the best in her, embracing all her strengths and flaws. No other man had made her feel like she could achieve anything. Simpson owns up to her mistake without placing blame on Lachey.
She Spills the Beans on Her Botched-Up Tribute to Dolly Parton
Most of you may remember the said mortifying incident in 2006. For the unversed, Simpson was invited to perform a cover of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C. The event celebrated Dolly Parton’s career and had distinguished guests — then-President George W. Bush among them. But the unthinkable happened.
Simpson forgot the lyrics and ran off stage. Understandably, the backlash was harsh. In “Open Book,” Simpson reveals that she had been a mess that night since John Mayer had broken up with her again.
New Music by Jessica Simpson
Along with her book, Simpson also released six new songs after almost a decade. The songs are exclusively available for those who buy the audiobook. In an interview, Simpson revealed that she wrote the songs first.
She found inspiration to write her memoir while making music in her studio. Songwriting took her to an honest place much faster than anything else. The catharsis from making music eventually shaped the book.
Party of One
Among the songs in Simpson’s new collection is the anguish-ridden “Party of One.” The song was special since it was the first track she played for her father after firing him. Back then, Simpson had decided not to share any of her new music with him.
In “Party of One,” she sings about feeling alone and abandoned by him and her mother when she needed them the most. It referred to when Joe decided to divorce Tina – breaking the news to Jessica while she was pregnant and in the hospital.
From Queen of Tabloid Tales to Bestselling Author
After decades of terrible tabloids controlling the narrative, Jessica decided to tell her own story. Her candid memoir touched the hearts of her fans.
It also became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. In an interview, Simpson said she cried for five hours when she received the news. “Open Book” gave her a voice for probably the first time in her career. Everyone told her who to be, what to say, what not to eat or wear – for almost her entire life. By being open about her struggles – Simpson regained power over her narrative.
Essays on Motherhood and Other Inspiring Stories
Simpson’s forays into the literary world took another wonderful turn in 2020. In December of that year, she finalized a deal with Amazon and wrote a riveting essay on motherhood. “Take the Lead” came out in April 2021. The effort was just as brilliant as “Open Book.”
The essay details the weight of her emotional baggage over the years and how it seemed like she couldn’t go on. Simpson writes about taking the lead in her life and about overcoming fears and insecurities so that they could no longer hold her back.
An Intact Sense of Humor
Simpson worked hard to reach a much better place emotionally and mentally. And she retained her sense of humor when she reacted to a tweet by the “Today Show” about Subway’s tuna controversy. A lawsuit against the company claimed that Subway tuna sandwiches and wraps don’t contain fish but a mix of concoctions.
The company denied the allegations. Simpson was no stranger to tuna controversies and voiced her support for Subway while poking fun at herself. She responded to the tweet, saying, "It’s OK @SUBWAY. It IS confusing."
The Jessica Simpson Collection 2.0
In 2021, Jessica Simpson and Tina Simpson once again became proud independent owners of their labor of love – the Jessica Simpson Collection. The two then formulated exciting plans for the company.
The company plans to expand into several other areas — accessories such as yoga mats and face rollers. Jessica’s young daughter might also get involved by helping her mother and grandmother design pet accessories! There really is no way of stopping Jessica now.
It's About Time
New beginnings call for an Instagram post. In December 2021, Simpson posted a photo of herself in a bell-bottomed black suit that oozed confidence. The caption on the post said she was working on several product ideas for the new line — from health and wellness to skincare and furniture.
Her post received 90,000 likes in under 24 hours. The comments section turned into mini focus groups with suggestions such as short heels for tall girls and probiotics to reduce gut inflammation!
Simpson Making a Statement
In March 2022, Simpson was back and looking like a billion dollars for her brand’s spring campaign. The Spring Campaign symbolized new energy. A fitting theme after decades of setbacks and hard-won battles.
Like always, Simpson and her mother styled the looks together. She said it’s tradition and adds a bit of healthy competition to the mix before they meet in the middle. Tag lines like “Step Into Your Light” (with sunglasses) indicated that this isn’t your ordinary spring fashion collection.
Happily Ever After
In the spirit of new beginnings, the Jessica Simpson Collection launched a line of bridal shoes in June of 2022. The “Happily Ever After” collection has styles for every kind of bride, occasion, personality, and wedding dress.
She said that the thought of happy brides wearing her shoes made her giddy with happiness. The bridal shoe line is whimsical and romantic – not very different from Simpson herself.