Sharing her truth. Jessica Simpson reveals in her upcoming memoir, Open Book, that she was sexually abused as a child and later self-medicated to cope with the trauma.
The “With You” singer, 39, writes that the abuse began when she was 6 years old and “shared a bed with the daughter of a family friend,” according to an excerpt published by People on Wednesday, January 22. “It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable.”
At the time, Simpson worried that she was at fault and felt afraid to share her story.
“I wanted to tell my parents,” she writes. “I was the victim but somehow I felt in the wrong.”
Six years later, when she was 12, the actress decided to tell her parents, Joe and Tina Simpson, during a road trip. She recalls Tina, now 60, slapping Joe’s arm and saying, “I told you something was happening.” However, Joe, now 61, “kept his eye on the road and said nothing,” Jessica writes.
“We never stayed at my parents’ friends house again but we also didn’t talk about what I had said,” she recalls.
As time passed and her career took off, the Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica alum tried to bury her trauma but found herself turning to coping mechanisms.
“I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills,” she writes in the book.
However, Jessica became sober in November 2017 and has not touched alcohol since, a move that she considered to be “easy.” Starting twice-weekly therapy, however, was more difficult.
“When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life,” she told the magazine. “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.”
The fashion designer also credited her family and close friends with being her support system, revealing that they gave her a group hug the moment she realized she needed help.
Jessica shares daughter Maxwell, 7, son Ace, 6, and daughter Birdie, 10 months, with her husband, Eric Johnson.
Open Book hits bookstores on Tuesday, February 4.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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