Jessica Simpson’s life has been a public affair, but now the singer is sharing some of her most private struggles, including her battle with addiction.
The pop star-turned-billion-dollar businesswoman has penned a powerful new memoir, “Open Book,” in which she reveals childhood sexual abuse led her to “self-medicate with alcohol and stimulants,” according to People, which published exclusive excerpts from the book on Wednesday.
The downward spiral ended with Simpson getting sober in 2017 after “hitting rock bottom.” Now, she’s looking back on her highs and lows in hopes of helping others who might be struggling.
“I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills,” Simpson writes in the memoir.
The “Newlyweds” alum reveals that she was first abused at age 6 by the daughter of a family friend, who she would often share a bed with throughout childhood.
“It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable,” Simpson writes, adding that she initially said nothing because “somehow I felt in the wrong.”
She didn’t tell her mother and father, Tina and Joe Simpson, until years later.
“We never stayed at my parents’ friends house again but we also didn’t talk about what I had said,” Simpson shares.
The lasting trauma followed her as her career took off in the late ’90s and she became a household name due to her popular MTV reality show with ex-husband Nick Lachey.
The two called it quits in 2005 and Simpson has since found love with current husband Eric Johnson, with whom she shares children Maxwell, 7, Ace, 6, and Birdie, 10 months.
But addiction continued to plague her, coming to a head at Halloween party she hosted at her home in 2017. That’s when she sought the counsel of family and friends, and made the decision to get sober, which she describes as a “continual gift.”
“I need to stop. Something’s got to stop,” Simpson writes in the memoir. “And if it’s the alcohol that’s doing this, and making things worse, then I quit.”
With the help of doctors and therapy appointments twice a week, Simpson says she has “allowed myself to feel the traumas I’d been through” and started to heal old wounds.
“When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life,” she writes. “I found direction and that was to walk straight ahead with no fear.”
Simpson will release a handful of new songs ― the first music we’ve heard from her since a 2010 Christmas album ― as part of the audiobook for the memoir to help give dimension to her story.
“Open Book” hits shelves Feb. 4.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.