When Jessica Simpson’s memoir, “Open Book,” came out earlier this year, the singer shared deeply personal and traumatic moments in her life, writing and talking about unhealthy relationships she’d experienced, her struggles with sobriety and the sexual abuse she suffered as a child.
This week, Simpson told Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt on her podcast, “The Gift of Forgiveness,” that she was eventually able to confront and forgive her abuser, who was the daughter of a family friend. (The episode was recorded “pre-COVID” but was just released.)
The lifestyle brand businesswoman had previously said that she was abused from ages 6 to 12 when she and the girl, who was a year older, would share a bed together.
“It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable,” Simpson said in her book, which was published in February. She wrote that for a long time she didn’t tell her family what was going on because “somehow I felt in the wrong.”
Simpson, now 40, eventually told her parents about the incidents and they stopped staying at their friend’s house. About eight years ago, she said on the podcast, she confronted her abuser.
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
“I went to her and I just said, ‘I know you know what was going on and I know that you were being abused’ ― because she was being abused by an older guy,” the singer told Schwarzenegger Pratt. “Basically, he was always there at the house as well. He never touched me but he would abuse her and then she would come to me and do the stuff to me. In so many ways, I felt bad for her and I was allowing the abuse to happen.”
Simpson said she decided to talk to the woman after her own divorce from Nick Lachey, when she was going through a period of “soul searching.”
The “Newlyweds” star said she told the woman “that she should probably talk to someone and find a way to understand those moments and to forgive those moments and to heal from those moments.”
“I knew that if I was honest with her, it would clear my conscience,” the singer added. “I even sent her the book [this year] and I told her that I hope that it brings healing.”
Part of Simpson’s own healing came with getting sober. She said in her memoir that she used to “self-medicate with alcohol and stimulants” in order to escape from her childhood trauma.
“I need to stop. Something’s got to stop,” Simpson wrote, pointing to a Halloween party she hosted in 2017 as a wake-up call. “And if it’s the alcohol that’s doing this, and making things worse, then I quit.”
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.