To each their own. While Ben Higgins and Jessica Clarke are making headlines for their decision to abstain from sex until they tie the knot, they are hardly the first celebrity couple to make the public declaration.
Back in the ‘90s, Jessica Simpson’s decision to save herself for marriage was a hot topic. The singer opened up about how her relationship with now ex-husband Nick Lachey was affected by her choice in her 2020 memoir, Open Book.
“It gave America a story line to follow,” she wrote. “The sexy virgin and the long-suffering, but still understanding, hot prince. … Nick loved the fact that I was so strong in my faith … [But] I would get so frustrated, asking God to take the blindfold from his eyes and help him find a spiritual center.”
Still, Simpson admitted that she was tempted before their October 2002 nuptials.
“One time, he hugged me, and I thought I was just going to burst into flames,” she recalled in Open Book. “I had to push him away, not because I didn’t trust him, but because I was teetering on the edge of just giving in.”
After the twosome got married, Simpson felt like she owed it to the public to open up about her experience.
“I’d built up this anticipation in my mind that the first time I had sex with my husband had to be this transcendent experience where the heavens parted,” she wrote. “What I didn’t know then is that everyone’s first time is awkward, and that is part of it. And that it’s OK, but at the time, it’s tough to understand. I had joined a long line or virgins in my family who said yes to forever for that one experience.”
Simpson and Lachey ultimately went their separate ways in 2005. While he married Vanessa Lachey in 2011, the fashion designer and Eric Johnson exchanged vows in 2014. Both Simpson and Lachey have three kids with their second spouses.
“In terms of my marriage to Eric, I have never felt more myself or more free,” Simpson told Us Weekly in February 2020. “Eric and I have a true mind, body [and] soul connection. I am most certainly in this marriage and this life with Eric by my side with free will!”
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Scroll through for other celebrity couples who opted to abstain from premarital sex: