Jessica Simpson hit rock bottom with her alcoholism in 2017, hasn’t had booze since

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit to Johannesburg, South Africa

As many of you know, I like Jessica Simpson a lot. I always have! She’s one of those celebrities who genuinely seems real, like someone I would know and sort of like. She’s not the deepest person and she’s never pretended to be. She’s often been a mess, and I’ve still rooted for her and I always will. All of this to say, I might buy her memoir, Open Book. Jessica got the cover of People Magazine to promote the release of Open Book. She talks a lot about how she was living a lie, how she was sexually abused as a child, and how she struggled with addiction as an adult. Some highlights from this People cover story:

Living a lie: Five years ago Jessica Simpson had an offer to write a motivational book “to living your best life.” But in her heart, she knew she couldn’t go through with it. “I didn’t feel comfortable talking about myself in a way that wasn’t honest,” says Simpson, 39. “I’m a horrible liar.”

She was abused: Simpson reveals for the first time that she was sexually abused as a young girl. The resulting emotional pain, along with other stressors, including career pressures, led her to self-medicate with alcohol and stimulants — a dependency that would later prompt her doctor to tell her her life was in danger.

Getting sober: “I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills,” she writes. The star got sober in November 2017 and hasn’t had a drink since. “Giving up the alcohol was easy,” she says. “I was mad at that bottle. At how it allowed me to stay complacent and numb.”

The trauma: Therapy, she says, was the hard part. As she writes, “With work, I allowed myself to feel the traumas I’d been through.” The abuse began when she was 6 years old, “when I shared a bed with the daughter of a family friend,” she writes. “It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable.” Frozen in fear, she worried it was somehow her fault. “I wanted to tell my parents,” she writes. “I was the victim but somehow I felt in the wrong.” When she was 12 years old, she told her parents, Tina and Joe Simpson, while they were on a car trip. Her mother slapped her father’s arm and yelled at him: “I told you something was happening…Dad kept his eye on the road and said nothing. We never stayed at my parents’ friends house again but we also didn’t talk about what I had said.”

Rock bottom: She writes about hitting rock bottom after a Halloween party at their home in late 2017. That’s when she told 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 gathered around her in a group hug and haven’t left her side since. With the support of her parents and help from a team of doctors and twice weekly therapy, she’s been sober since that day and calls her newfound clarity “a continual gift…When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life.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. And getting to the other side of fear is beautiful.”

[From People]

Learning that Jessica Simpson is an alcoholic is not the biggest reveal in the world, I have to say. I checked through our archives because I remembered writing about one appearance she made in 2017, where she was absolute sh-tfaced. That was back in September 2017, so about a month-and-a-half before her rock-bottom come-to-Jesus moment about her addiction. Good on her for getting sober and getting into therapy. And the story about being abused… back in those days, her father was a preacher/minister. I am not shocked that he did not know how to handle it when she finally said something. Poor Jess.

Jessica Simpson flaunts weight loss in a busty dress on her way to dinner at Il Mulino

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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24 Responses to “Jessica Simpson hit rock bottom with her alcoholism in 2017, hasn’t had booze since”

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  1. Madi says:

    Good for her!!!!! I have always liked Jessica too. I guess I always knew that she liked her drinks, but she seemed so “happy” all the time – which is what I suppose she just projected to the world – that I didn’t see that she would be in recovery or need to be. It just goes to show that you never really know what is going on behind closed doors. Some of the loveliest, sweetest people that I know are or were problem drinkers. I say that to point out that not all people with that issue are what we typically think of as the angry, mean, abusive alcoholic.

  2. Erin says:

    Wow, love her even more for being so human and real about this. It takes courage to share a story like hers. I wish her all the peace and happiness in the world.

  3. Eleonor says:

    She is harmless.
    She doesn’t pretend to be someone she is not, and for me it’s ok.

  4. Tiffany says:

    I remember the photos of Jess walking out of restaurants nine sheets to the wind….and then getting into a chauffeured car.

    I know this is a oxymoron, but she seem to have a sliver of responsibility when she drank. She knew it and was prepared for it.

  5. StormsMama says:

    This may sound odd
    And I’m asking bc I wonder
    Not bc I’m judging
    Was she abused by the friends daughter? A peer? Was the girl substantially older? Or was it an adult?
    I just wonder bc I know that peer curiosity is normal- not that they should be fondling one another – but the curiosity isn’t abnormal-
    But obviously with a large age difference it can be traumatizing and with an adult to child it’s downright horrific.
    I was abused as a child and only recently- as in past few months- have I realized I wasn’t bad or deserving. I mean you know that stuff rationally but it’s amazing how emotionally and psychologically you can still think it’s your fault.
    I am also struggling with alcohol
    I stopped for 5O days then started up again and it’s a real struggle and I know it’s poison and not helpful for me
    I’m really impressed with her honesty and look forward to reading her book

    I also appreciate the name Open Book
    Bc Abuse and alcoholism can both be open secrets and open secrets are toxic. I’m sure in Therapy one of the issues may have been her mom not saying and doing something.
    I know for me it was like If not YOU then who?? You are my mom!!

    Anyway I’m happy for her

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Sending healing wishes and positive energy your way.

    • lucy2 says:

      I hope you have a strong support system around you, and help when you need it. My best wishes to you.

    • tealily says:

      It sounds like it was the friend’s daughter to me, but we don’t know how old the daughter was as the time.

      Good luck with the alcohol. I have mostly stopped drinking for the past year or so. I allowed myself a few drinks over Christmas as a treat and I find myself craving wine most nights again as a result. I, too, wish I’d never picked it up again. I feel so much better without it!

    • Spicecake38 says:

      You are worth the fight no matter how long and or hard, live your best life.

    • Marigold says:

      A lot of adults will set aside peer abuse amongst kids as just being normal peer curiosity. A lot of kids engage in consensual behavior, but it’s possible for an 8 year-old to abuse another 8 year-old. She didn’t give details, so I wouldn’t speculate, but lack of consent is lack of consent, whether there’s an age and power disparity or not.

      If someone has been trained to “be polite,” and not to cause trouble or upset, then they might sit there and absorb very unwanted and traumatizing abuse. The younger the child victim is, the less likely they are to have tools for asserting themselves or saying, “no.”

      She didn’t like what was happening, and it happened every time, so whether it was a girl or a boy or an age-range peer or an adult…she stuffed it down, received no consolation or justice or validation from her parents, and then went on just doing what people told her to do her entire life.

      That’s freaking sad. Poor woman. I’m glad she got sober, and I hope she’s on her way to a much better chapter.

  6. Sayrah says:

    I’ve always liked her too. I’m actually wearing one of her shoe designs today. Good for her for sharing her story. I’m so disappointed in her parents for not pursuing therapy or even attempting to discuss what had happened to her again. I hope she can stay committed to sobriety. It looks great on her.

    • Astrid says:

      +1. I’m wearing one of her winter coats today that always gets compliments. Wishing her the best

  7. A says:

    I wish her all the best for her recovery. I remember when I was a kid I used to think she was the greatest singer alive LOL of course my opinion has changed but I still listen to her music.

  8. Chaine says:

    She has always seemed like a sweet person. I’m glad she got help and is healing.

  9. julia says:

    I have always liked her as well. Alcoholism is a cruel beast. I did things in active addiction that I would never do today. I lied, stole, made many, many poor judgement calls, lost friends, the trust of my family, isolated. The list goes on and on. I’ve been sober now for a year and a half, and at first the shame and guilt was horrible – almost unbearable. But now I am so proud that I can say I’ve been in recovery, I can share my story and I’ve mended many of the relationships I thought I would never, ever have again. Keep it up Jess! One day at a time….

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    She actually reminds me of one of my friends. Crazy, loud, over-the-top, messy but loyal, genuine and honest. We laugh hard and loud and we cry hard and loud. I’m glad Jess found found her pivotal point. Nothing is easy about changing bad and damaging habits, especially when we finally realize how many we’ve hurt.

  11. Nev says:

    I love Jessica too!!! I really hope she does a audiobook!!! Can’t wait.

  12. usedtobe says:

    I’ve always had such a soft spot for her and will, too, probably buy her book.
    Good on her for opening up and sharing her story.

  13. Meg says:

    Celebrities have their asses kissed so for her to say it would be inauthentic to write a motivational book shows she takes responsibility hense her not getting a DUI. Many addicts part of their addiction is not being honest or accepting reality. Not saying that would be easy to do but Elton John said the only rehab that worked for him was one that wasn’t a spa he was cleaning bathroom floors like everyone else. I think that’s part of Lindsey Lohans problem deflecting from her actions and not seeing reality for what it is.
    Good for jess

    • lucy2 says:

      I was impressed by her declining the book deal too.

      Glad she’s doing better, and I hope it continues for her.

  14. JustMe says:

    I quit drinking wine in 2016. My husband and I had separated for 9 months and when we reconciled he had quit drinking. I was a 3-4 glasses if wine a night “to unwind” . was I an alcoholic? Probably not…was i drinking too much absolutely.

    I just stopped one my birthday that January and have never craved it once. But you know what irked me? Friends would try to convince me oh have a glass whats the difference instead of respecting my choice.

    • Tiffany says:

      When I was in college there was this huge event and large amounts of alcohol are consumed and the campus and local police was trying to get a bit of control of it (the year before was a huge rager whether they wanted it to be or not) . So they started this program for people to go on the honor system to be designated drivers/ sober buddies and not drink the event weekend. I think we got a t shirt and free tickets to all the events or something of another the year I signed up.

      You would think I was the devil when they saw me drinking water and soda and my answer was, ‘Y’all, it is literally one weekend. It will be alright’. Wow, no self control from those clowns.

      I still miss them. 😉

    • Marigold says:

      This happens in a lot of peer groups for people leaving addictions. When someone goes on a diet to eliminate sugar or to lose weight, for example, the peer group almost invariably will use a gathering to sabotage their progress. “Oh, eat the cake; what’s the harm?” Same thing with alcohol, casual pot use, and probably lots of other things.

      And it’s not okay.

      People get used to the addict being a certain way, and when the addict finds the strength and self-esteem necessary to dig in and do the work of change (which is long and excruciating for most), the friends are made uncomfortable by the changes in their friend. They feel judged, jealous, threatened, or some combo of the three. They push the addict to just go back to being “who you’ve always been.” It’s always selfish and it’s always damaging.

      I think that’s why so many rehab programs and sobriety practices recommend being isolated from old peer groups for a while at the start.

  15. Jules says:

    Wow. Have her parents ever apologized for this? That incident of her parents sound as if her mother was suspicious of SOMETHING but didn’t try to get to the bottom of things, as well as let Joe Simpson lead but he just clammed up from beginning to end. Their reactions are BOTH upsetting. My heart hurts for Jessica.

    I wonder if she ever told Nick or anyone else about this too? What about Ashlee?