Now 40-years old, pop star, movie star, reality TV star Jessica Simpson has already lived a full life. She is twice married, currently to ex-NFL’er Eric Johnson, and has three kids. She also recently published her first book, a memoir titled Open Book. Even though she has been in the headlines for reasons other than entertainment (drunk on The Ellen DeGeneres Show) her life the past few years has recently been relatively quiet.
Jessica Simpson was almost part of the new Mickey Mouse Club. In fact, she made it all the way to the semi-finalists for the show, where she was in competition with the likes of Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake. Unfortunately, nerves got the best of her and ultimately, she was not chosen for the show.
It did continue to push her toward a music career. It was an early music career that featured Christian music and a tour. Simpson had begun to record a Christian album and tour to promote it but, according to her father, she had to quit the tour because the size of her breasts was deemed too sexual for the art of Christian music. Go figure.
JESSICA SIMPSON FINDS FAME WITH MUSIC
Jessica Simpson caught the ear and eye of super-producer Tommy Mottola, who at the time was the head of Columbia Records and married to Mariah Carey. His first idea was to have Simpson embrace an anti-sex appeal look. To let her voice speak for herself and make her image more relatable to many of the listeners.
The plan worked, at first. The sale of her first album, Sweet Kisses, was solid. But the image Mottola wanted to continue went out the window when Simpson met 98 Degrees band member Nick Lachey, who Simpson would eventually marry and together the two would turn their lives into a reality show.
JESSICA SIMPSON REVOLUTIONIZES REALITY TV
2002 was the first time Jessica Simpson was seen on both the big and small screen when she appeared on an episode of That 70’s Show and in the movie Master of Disguise. But 2003 saw Simpson and Lachey board the MTV reality show, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.
The idea for the show initially was meant to be for Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley after the two were married in 1994, but the couple decided not to move forward with it during pre-production. So, Simpson and Lachey took it on and the reality show lasted three seasons.
The series played on Jessica Simpson’s naïve personality (aka dumb blonde) that was cemented in the series’ first episode with the Chicken of the Sea incident. Simpson is looking over a Chicken of the Sea can (for those of you who don’t know, it’s tuna) and she asks Nick, “Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? I know it’s tuna, but it says ‘Chicken… by the Sea’ [sic].” The show was a hit for the MTV audience and firmly put Jessica Simpson on the reality TV map.
While Jessica Simpson continued on with Newlyweds, she also made guest appearances, along with Lachey, on her sister’s reality TV show The Ashlee Simpson Show. Her appearance on the series was to help promote Ashlee’s foray into her own music career. Eventually she even attempted a movie career, starring in The Dukes of Hazzard movie in 2005 as Daisy Duke.
DIVORCE, MORE LOVE, MORE REALITY
Jessica Simpson divorced Nick Lachey in 2006 and she then went on to a relationship with singer John Mayer. That didn’t last long as she then moved on to former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo. During this time, Jessica Simpson continued to record and tour and find herself a movie role or two as well as a TV show or two.
It was 2010 when she appeared on another reality TV show, this one called The Price of Beauty. This show was vastly different from her initial jump into reality TV. In this one, Jessica Simpson traveled the world with her two best friends, Ken Pavés and CaCee Cobb, in an attempt to explore beauty and its true meaning in different cultures. At this time in Jessica Simpson’s career, she had already started her line of hair and beauty products, so her search for beauty across the world included makeovers for some of the guests on the show.
This wasn’t the only reality show Jessica Simpson appeared on. She was also seen on an episode of The Biggest Loser and she, along with Nicole Richie, were part of Fashion Star, a show that focused on fashion design. Simpson and Richie were mentors for the show as well as judges. The show lasted a brief two seasons.
JESSICA SIMPSON NOW
Jessica Simpson has mainly kept herself out of the spotlight in recent years. Her marriage to Eric Johnson in 2010 also brought her three children. She now spends most of her time raising them. Jessica made an appearance, her final on TV, in 2018 on the reality TV show Ashlee + Evan, which followed her sister Ashlee (again) and her relationship with Evan Ross. She only appeared on one episode.
Open Book was published in February 2020 and in it Jessica Simpson touches on everything from her singing career and her relationships (mainly Lachey and Mayer) to the sexual abuse she experienced as a child. She talks about reality TV and the effect it had on her career. She also speaks about her issues with weight and the bigger issue she had with alcohol.
As Jessica Simpson turns 40, she finally seems content with where she is at in her life. Jessica appears to be a happy mom, a loving wife to a good husband, and now an author. It’s unclear if we will ever see her in front of the camera again, but reality TV always seems to find its way back into her life.