Jessica Simpson has not had a drop of alcohol since November 2017, which is when she decided to confront her issues.
Trigger warning: The story contains graphic details of child abuse and addiction that might be distressing to some readers.
Celebrities live out their lives in public but there's more to them than we get to see. Many of them have overcome difficult childhoods in order to realize their dreams. It's hard to work on oneself to overcome our weaknesses. But, the results are sweet, and Jessica Simpson, singer, businesswoman, mother, and wife, knows that.
The 40-year-old pop star was once considered no. 3 only after Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. "No. 3’s good enough by the way, and I feel that now," Simpson told The New York Times. She became a star after her first album in 1999. However, even as her fame rose, there were hidden trauma and pain that she couldn't express.
In her memoir, Open Book, Simpson said that she was relying on alcohol when she was dating singer-songwriter John Mayer in 2006. She felt insecure around him, and it took her a while to realize she had a problem. However, it took her another 11 years to actually confront her addiction. She was told sometime in 2014 or 2015 that she needed to stop drinking and abusing pills, including diet pills, because they were posing a serious risk to her health.
“I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills,” she wrote in her book, as per People.
It wasn't just her insecurities but also childhood trauma that led her down this path. She revealed that she was sexually abused as a child, and later, that pain coupled with other stressors caused her to self-medicate with alcohol and stimulants.
She was as young as six years old when the abuse began and it lasted for almost six years. The mother-of-three revealed that the person abusing her was the daughter of a family friend. Simpson later found out that her tormentor had been molested by an older boy, according to The New York Times. The Sweetest Sin singer had to share a bed with the older girl about three times a year when her family went to visit them.
It took her many years to muster the courage to tell her parents about it. They never returned to visit those family friends. "It took me until I was 13 years old to know that if I wasn’t put in that situation anymore, it could stop," she said. “That’s why I opened up about it in the book, because I really want people to know at a young age, if they are going through that, just speak up earlier because it could have stopped for me so much earlier," she added.
However, it didn't go completely as anticipated. They were in the car when Simpson spoke up. “Dad kept his eye on the road and said nothing,” Simpson wrote in her memoir, according to People. “We never stayed at my parents’ friends house again but we also didn’t talk about what I had said," she added.
The pain and trauma were buried inside her and only her closest friends knew about her childhood experience. She revealed that she hit rock bottom after a Halloween party in her home in 2017. "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," she told her friends.
She said that she got sober in November 2017 and hasn’t had a drink since. "Giving up the alcohol was easy,” she told People. “I was mad at that bottle. At how it allowed me to stay complacent and numb."
Her friends and family supported her through the journey. She went to therapy twice a week and the clarity was "a continual gift," she said. "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," she added. "Honesty is hard but it’s the most rewarding thing we have,” she said. “And getting to the other side of fear is beautiful."
Simpson was married to singer Nick Lachey from 2002 to 2006. She is presently married to American footballer Nick Johnson. They have three kids together.
Cover image sources: Getty Images | Photo by (L)Brenda Chase (R) Brian Ach