Jessica Simpson has revealed that she was sexually abused as a child, leading her to rely on alcohol and pills for years.
Speaking about her “long, hard, deep, emotional journey” for the first time, the US pop star and actress says she was “killing myself with all the drinking and the pills”, but that she has been sober since November 2017.
Simpson, 39, writes in her new memoir Open Book, previewed by US entertainment magazine People: “Giving up the alcohol was easy. I was mad at that bottle. At how it allowed me to stay complacent and numb.
“With work, I allowed myself to feel the traumas I’d been through.”
Simpson says that the abuse began when she was six years old, “when I shared a bed with the daughter of a family friend”.
“It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable.”
Simpson says that she “was the victim but somehow I felt in the wrong”, and that she wanted to tell her parents.
However, she did not tell her parents Tina and Joe Simpson until she was 12, writing that her mother then slapped her father’s arm and told him: “I told you something was happening.”
The singer and reality TV star continues: “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.”
Simpson says that she kept her anxiety, the pain and the trauma that she went through a secret, instead depending on self-medication with alcohol and stimulants until a doctor warned her that her life was in danger.
In Open Book, she says that she hit rock bottom at a Halloween party at her home in 2017 before she told her 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.”
Simpson says that she has been supported by her friends, her parents, a team of doctors and twice-weekly therapy.
“When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life,” she says.
“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.”
Simpson found fame as a teenage pop star in the late 1990s before starring in MTV reality series Newlyweds: Nick And Jessica with her first husband Nick Lachey. The show ended in 2005, with their marriage following shortly afterwards.
She has since starred in films including The Dukes Of Hazzard and Employee Of The Month.
Simpson has been married to former American football player Eric Johnson since 2014 and they have three children together.