Why Jessica Simpson Finally Decided To Share Her Traumatic Past

Jessica Simpson is well known as a singer, fashion designer, and ditzy reality TV star, but while she's beloved for her sunny disposition, Simpson's real life has been complicated by trauma, abuse, and addiction. The superstar finally decided to open up about her difficult past in her upcoming memoir, Open Book.

In an exclusive story for People, Simpson explained why she chose to be so raw and real in the new book. Apparently, that wasn't the original plan. Simpson was initially asked to write a motivational book about how she lives her best life — but she knew she couldn't follow that approach. "I didn't feel comfortable talking about myself in a way that wasn't honest," she says. "I'm a horrible liar."

Instead, Simpson opted to be as intimate as possible, sharing troubling details about her life for the very first time. "Honesty is hard," she says, "but it's the most rewarding thing we have."

Jessica Simpson says she was abused as a child

One major revelation in Open Book is that Jessica Simpson experienced sexual abuse as a child. According to excerpts from the book (via People,) the abuse began when she was 6 years old and "shared a bed with the daughter of a family friend." She writes, "It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable." 

Simpson says, "I wanted to tell my parents. I was the victim but somehow I felt in the wrong." When she did muster up the courage to confide in her mom and dad at age 12, their reaction wasn't as supportive as it could have been. Simpson recalls her mom slapping her dad on the arm and yelling, "I told you something was happening." She writes, "Dad kept his eye on the road and said nothing." Simpson said she never had to stay at that friend's house again, "but we also didn't talk about what I had said."

The trauma of that experience, amplified by career pressure and other stresses, eventually led Simpson to self-medicate with alcohol and stimulants — another battle she details in her memoir.

Jessica Simpson was 'killing' herself with drugs and alcohol

Jessica Simpson catapulted into fame as a musician, reality TV star, and fashion designer, but behind the scenes, she continued to battle the pain of her past trauma. In her memoir, Open Book, the singer reveals that she became so dependent on alcohol and drugs that her doctor told her that her life was in danger. "I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills," she writes (via People.)

The star reportedly hit rock bottom in 2017 after a Halloween party at the home she shares with her husband, retired NFL star Eric Johnson, and their kids. According to excerpts from the book, 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."

"I was mad at that bottle," Simpson says. "At how it allowed me to stay complacent and numb."

Jessica Simpson isn't afraid anymore

Simpson has reportedly been sober since November 2017. Thankfully, she had the support of her family, friends, and doctors to give up drugs and alcohol. She says she also attended therapy twice a week to work through her trauma. "When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life," she writes in Open Book (via People.) "I found direction and that was to walk straight ahead with no fear." Simpson says, "getting to the other side of fear is beautiful."

Simpson calls her newfound sobriety a "continual gift," and she hopes that her story will help others. "It's been a long hard deep emotional journey, one that I've come through the other side with pure happiness and fulfillment and acceptance of myself," she says. "I've used my pain and turned it into something that can be beautiful and hopefully inspiring to people."

Open Book is scheduled to hit shelves Feb. 4, 2020. Simpson also recorded an audiobook and new songs she calls "the musical counterpart to the story." She says the response has already been overwhelming. "It is absolutely surreal to see the years of pouring my heart into this book come to life in the most beautiful way," she tweeted. "I am blown away by your support."