Whatever Happened To Jessica Simpson's Father

Jessica Simpson's father, Joe Simpson, catapulted his talented family into the limelight in the early 2000s, when he crafted an innovative formula that would set the ground for countless reality TV shows in the years to come. Before he put daughter Jessica and her then-hubby, Nick Lachey, in front of the camera, catching a glimpse into the lives of A-list celebs was certainly not commonplace. The former psychologist-turned-dadager then set his sights on younger daughter Ashlee's multi-faceted career, and, in doing so, solidified the Simpson clan's status in the Hollywood ... but more on all of this below.

Nothing good can last forever though, and come the 2010s, this celeb parent's life began to take a negative turn. Between a failed marriage, rampant rumors about his sexuality, run-ins with the law, and a major health scare, Joe Simpson hit a serious rough patch. However, he persevered and thankfully came out the other side even stronger. Want to learn more? Keep on scrolling to find out whatever happened to Jessica Simpson's father.

Jessica Simpson's father revolutionized reality TV

After making a name for himself as a successful music manager in the late '90s and early 2000s, Joe Simpson helped launch his famous daughters' on-screen careers. 

First there was Jessica Simpson. While the pop star had already released a couple of albums and hit songs like "I Wanna Love you Forever" and "Irresistible," she didn't hit her peak until her father had the ingenious idea to also make her a reality TV star. Between 2003 and 2005, Jessica and her now ex-husband, Nick Lachey, entered fans' homes with MTV's Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. Joe produced the series, which marked the height of the songstress' career. Around the same time, he decided to replicate his successful TV model for younger daughter Ashlee by executive producing the same network's The Ashlee Simpson Show. The series aired from 2004 to 2005, documented the making of the younger Simpson sister's debut album, and helped the "Pieces of Me" singer launch her own, if short-lived, music career.

As Joe himself boasted on his website, he was truly a "pioneer" in the realm of reality TV, having used the medium to build a fan base for his daughters and help them sell records — many of which he also produced. Records like Ashlee's sophomore effort, I Am Me, which was certified Platinum in 2005.

Joe Simpson got in trouble with the law

Flash forward to August 2012, when Jessica Simpson's father made headlines for all the wrong reasons. According to People, the Simpson family patriarch was reportedly driving down Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles at the time, when he was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. Sources cited by the magazine claimed that Joe Simpson willingly agreed to a breathalyzer test, as he'd only had "a couple of glasses of wine at dinner with his wife." 

However, TMZ learned shortly after that Simpson was allegedly driving with a .12 blood alcohol level — the limit in California is .08. After being booked and spending a night in jail, he was ordered by a judge to stay away from all alcohol while out on bail and awaiting his court date. As the gossip rag pointed out, this was a "pretty unusual order" given that Simpson didn't have any previous DUI arrests

People reports that Simpson was slapped with two misdemeanor counts of DUI in the end. He pleaded no contest to one, while the other was thrown out, and was ultimately sentenced to three years of probation, in addition to completing an alcohol-education course.

Then the Simpsons' marriage fell apart

Joe and Tina Simpson appeared to have one of the strongest marriages in Tinseltown ... until they didn't. The couple was hitched for a whopping 34 years when Tina dropped a bombshell and filed for divorce in September 2012. According to People, she cited "discord or conflict of personalities" at the time. Despite lingering rumors that Joe had cheated on his wife with a young male model, the exes remained mum on the matter, with a rep simply telling the magazine, "It is an amicable split and there is no third party involved. Any other related allegations are completely false." 

Their marriage was officially over when the former couple reached a multi-million dollar settlement by the following April. According to court documents obtained Radar Online, Joe and Tina were ordered to split their respective profits, as well as daughter Jessica's life insurance policy, of which they were both beneficiaries. While Tina got the family home in Waco, Texas, as well as a Range Rover and a Porsche, Joe got to keep a house in Sherman Oaks, Calif. and a pair of Mercedes cars. What's more, Joe reportedly had to give his ex-wife "an unspecified amount" from one of his bank accounts containing $2.1 million. 

Joe Simpson fought off rumors about his sexuality

Just as Joe Simpson's 34-year marriage to Tina Simpson fell apart, rumors began swirling that Jessica and Ashlee Simpson's father was secretly gay. In October 2012, Radar Online went so far as to allege that he'd spent thousands of dollars while playing the role of "sugar daddy" to then-21-year-old model Bryce Chandler Hill. According to the mag, the catalyst leading to Tina filing for divorce was reportedly her discovery of the affair and alleged cash flow. However, TMZ reports that Simpson denied the allegations and apparently told his loved ones that the speculation surrounding his sexuality was "ridiculous."

Jump to February 2014 and these reports were back in full force when photos surfaced of Simpson frolicking on the beach in Miami, Fla. with a younger man. The dadager quickly took to Twitter to set the record straight, writing, "More mis-information in the news. The guy in the pics is my modeling Client. He was in Miami taking agency meetings. That's it!!" Indeed, TMZ later learned that the client in question was Scottish model Jonathan Keith, whom Simpson was managing. The pair were reportedly in Miami so Keith could attend castings.

Jessica Simpson's father couldn't keep up his TV success

Following his stint as producer of Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica and executive producer of The Ashlee Simpson Show, Jessica Simpson's father attempted to keep riding the reality TV wave to the bank ... albeit with limited success. Focusing on what he knew best, Joe Simpson produced more shows starring daughter Jessica, including Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty, Jessica Simpson: The Price of Beauty, and Jessica Simpson: Happy Christmas

As the older Simpson sister began focusing more on her own family and took a step back from the spotlight, her dadager tried his hand at launching another reality TV show for MTV (2013's The Alectrix followed an unknown girl group as they tried to break into the mainstream), as well as a 2007 sitcom starring Angie Harmon called Women's Murder Club. Unfortunately, Joe just couldn't replicate his early televised successes and abruptly stopped producing TV shows in 2013. "I don't watch a lot of reality TV," he revealed to The Daily Dish years later, admitting that television was never his favorite medium anyway.

Did Joe Simpson try to use his daughter's fame?

In a move that was surprising (and totally uncool), Joe Simpson tried to use his eldest daughter's fame to up his own street cred. It was September 2015 when the dadager showed up at the swanky rooftop pool and bar at Manhattan's Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel, according to Page Six. One onlooker told the media outlet that when Simpson and two pals were denied access by security, he simply wasn't having it, claiming, "He started begging, 'But I'm Jessica Simpson's father,' pulling out his iPhone and scrolling through his Instagram as proof."

Simpson, who was reportedly dressed in "full Justin Bieber attire, complete with one pant leg rolled up and multiple necklaces," was later allowed to enter. However, name-dropping is never really a good look, So, perhaps most surprising was the fact that he didn't deny the story. "The guy at the door wanted me to wait for the head guy ... I said I just want to go have a drink," Simpson told Page Six while sharing his side of things. "I told him Jess was my daughter. I showed him my passport."

Joe Simpson has since built a solid new career

From music manager and television producer to fashion photographer — Jessica Simpson's father has built yet another successful career for himself. In 2016, Joe Simpson decided he would trade in music and TV for fashion in order to pursue one of his lifelong passions: photography. "I've always loved being behind the camera," he told People at the time. "I was even the photographer at my own wedding when I was 19!" Simpson continued, "There is something about taking pictures that makes me happy, and it has always been a hobby for me." 

Simpson soon began landing editorial contracts and was already exhibiting his work at a solo show at Bruce Lurie Gallery in Los Angeles by May of that year. Since then, he's snagged a gig as a staff photographer for LA Models, The Daily Dish confirmed in 2017, and has built quite an impressive portfolio of editorial and portrait work, including covers for Candid and C'est Prune magazines. According to his website, Simpson's main focus has been on "bridging the gap between lifestyle and fashion."

Jessica Simpson's father faced cancer head-on

In November 2016, Joe Simpson's rep revealed to People that Papa Joe had been diagnosed with prostate cancer two months earlier. However, the rep made sure to include a positive update, noting that Jessica Simpson's father had already undergone surgery and was recovering well. Thankfully, the media outlet confirmed that Simpson was cancer free in May 2017 following radiation treatment. "I went from Stage IV to cancer free!" the man himself told Us Weekly that July. "I feel good. I beat it. I have zero cancer!"

In September 2018, Simpson opened up about the life-changing ordeal with daughter Ashlee on her show, Ashlee + Evan. "I remember saying to the doctor, 'What if I don't have surgery?' He said, 'In six months you'll be dead,'" he said. Faced with his own mortality, Simpson admitted that he "really wrestled with just saying, 'I'll see you guys later.'" However, his family kept him inspired. "I couldn't do that to you and to your sister and to my little grandbabies," the proud dad told Ashlee, noting that he simply wasn't ready to leave them. However, his recovery was anything but easy, as he added, "Because I don't have testosterone, I just don't have energy, so you have to power through."