Jessica Simpson’s friends are “very concerned”
Jessica Simpson's friends are "very concerned." Simpson has shed more than 100...
Jessica Simpson had a love life that was the subject of numerous newspaper headlines and magazine covers when she was a teenage singer and reality star, but she never revealed it. How “a major movie star” followed her, wooed her, and made attempts to seduce her.
In her latest short story for Amazon Original Stories, Movie Star, out on Wednesday and available online, she spills all (apart from the identity of the star). A tale of long evenings spent at the Chateau, private flights, enormous egos, and enormous small lies. They consistently claim to be single, she writes. But ultimately, it’s a tale of self-realization.
“This is a very personal story and I really thought I would never share it!” Simpson tells the news. Writing it down, she says, brought back memories of her fast track to worldwide fame. “The whole period was very surreal,” she says. “There were times I had a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong! But a lot of the time it felt isolated because I am someone who likes to deeply connect with people and I didn’t know who was trustworthy and who was not.”
I learned you can’t always take people at their extremely compelling word — seems basic, but it really isn’t when you are dealing with someone who sells it so effectively, she recalls, looking back. She also learned a few valuable lessons along the road. She claims that living in a deception makes you feel far worse than not being true to your heart and elevating your self-worth. “I also discovered that monogamy has a very broad definition in Hollywood!”
The singer, fashion designer, and best-selling author, now 42, has three children with her husband of nine years, Eric Johnson: Maxwell, 10, Ace, 9, and Birdie, 3. She has returned to the recording studio these days and is “having fun and becoming inspired by music.”
“I have learned that self-love is one of the keys to really loving someone else and that true love will never make you question yourself or what’s real,” she says. “Thanks to my amazing soulmate and husband, I am able to love passionately and without fear of being hurt.”
Every time it buzzed, the enormous black Motorola flip phone in my purse would explode, giving me the willies. My favorite female pop singers in the business surrounded me on the red carpet at the 2001 MTV VMAs after-party. I was there after that.
Imagine me wearing a black off-the-shoulder cocktail dress with a huge, thick belt and black booties that are so short they shave my legs. I was mistaken in thinking that the attire said, “I belong here,” but it didn’t. The party’s host, Jennifer Lopez, had changed into a bubblegum pink crop top and skirt that she could only wear.
She stopped to take a photo with me, which Ja Rule photobombed with his Burberry bucket hat because she was being so thoughtful. Women appeared to have been told by their stylists to shred up their clothing and wrap the leftover pieces around themselves again. They then topped this off with a wardrobe full of accessories, including chokers and shackles that weighed these stunning women down in pants that were cut to the bone. I gave off the impression that I was about to dig into my enormous belt, take out a massive signing book, and offer a variety of Sharpies.
My wallet. Two boyband members—one from *NSYNC and the other from the Backstreet Boys—were calling me, and I was avoiding them. I was on two separate calls earlier at the hotel, one on my Motorola and the other on the in-room phone. As I alternated between the conversations, I put each on hold when the conversation turned too serious regarding the precise time of our meeting. I felt confident and able to communicate well over the phone, but in person, I was aware that my shyness would prevent me from even trying to meet their eyes.
He had suggested that The Backstreet Boy might attend the event. I believed I could elude him. I had sat in the first row of one of his concerts when I was a teenager. He gyrated his body while pouring a bottle of water all over himself during a song while staring at me the entire time. He chuckled when I asked him if he recalled that. Most likely, it was one of his movements.
The second boyband member admitted to me that he chose to live in his car. I was familiar enough with the business to understand that the financial stability of those boybands was constantly in question, but he seemed to stand by his assertion. He replied, “I’d be OK doing that the rest of my life.” Just hold onto a few things. When he said “belongings,” I saw myself trying to pack his van with all my Cancer heart wouldn’t let go of. It was clear that wouldn’t work.
“I’m just gonna put you on hold again,” I had said, and hung up for good.
Early September 2001 was the time. Nick, my first genuine boyfriend, and I had spent the summer apart, and I still had no idea how to be single. We had been dating since I was 18 and he was 24; our relationship lasted over three years. He was ready to marry me now that he was 27. But my father refused to grant his approval. He considered me to be too young to get married.
It’s amusing I assumed I was of legal age. I had no idea how to date. Before Nick, talking to males in the middle of the night and getting into problems with my parents were what I thought of as relationships. My career helped me mature more quickly in some aspects while keeping me grounded in more fundamental ones.
During those months of being single, I made a lot of dating-related resolutions in my diary. I must venture out and engage in new relationships. I wrote it the day after I turned 21 in July of that year, and I still find it amazing how I could be so precise about something I didn’t really understand. I didn’t know what “experience” even meant. I was still in love with Nick, so if I had butterflies for anyone else, I felt bad. I never fell for the trap because even the idea that something might be possible with another man felt dishonest.
That evening at the MTV party, I was unaware that I was precisely five days away from seeing Nick again and eventually being engaged to him, but that is another story. Imagine me in the black cocktail dress doing what Columbia Records instructed me to do for the time being. Getting as much attention as I could for my new single “A Little Bit” tonight was part of my job.
When I was jostled at the party on the red carpet, my security guy kept me from collapsing because we were all piled on top of each other. Because my superiors at Columbia Records had instructed me, “We want you on the red carpet,” I was determined to stand my ground. I genuinely believed that meant I had to always keep at least one foot on it.
Even though they wouldn’t let me create any of the songs for my brand-new album, Irresistible, these folks at the executive table claimed that it would define me. They reprimanded me for gaining weight and specified the exact length (beyond my shoulders) and color of my hair (keep it blonde). They would not be happy if they found out I was avoiding another well-known boyband member. At least I knew that. They could get the attention they wanted by dating a famous boyband member.
I gave up my position as the phone continued ringing in my backpack. Should we visit a bar? My security guard was questioned. “I’m 21 now. I can have a beverage.”
He scowled, and I wasn’t sure if it was because of the calories or the drink. He just so happened to be my trainer. I liked him even though I believe he was hired more to keep me safe from the passed appetizers than from crazy stalkers.
A huge movie star was walking toward us in jeans and a T-shirt when I noticed his face abruptly lightening at someone behind me. I turned around to see it. Although my security had said that they were buddies, I had questioned whether he hadn’t overstated the case. The tight handshake and tight bro embrace indicated that the love was genuine.
“This is Jessica,” my bodyguard said.
I know,” the movie star admitted. He hugged me differently; he gave me a modified celebrity hug that lasted a little bit longer than I had anticipated. This megastar, who I always thought was so hot, eyeballed me all the while our common friend and my bodyguard were talking. I had plenty of reasons to change out of that attire because it seemed like he was undressing me with his looks.
Movie Star began chit-chatting, and as he leaned in, I was aware enough to think, Oh, this is what it feels like to get hit on. Considering that, other than my ex-boyfriend, no other man had ever been so forthright about gazing at me provocatively. I wanted people to at least see me in that light. He leaned in so I could hear him better and put a hand on my hip.
I had a strange sensation. Although I was focusing on his lips, everything else around me seemed dreamily blurred. I read a lot to make up for dropping out of high school, so I had read enough of the Bront sisters and Jane Austen to understand what was going on. Although it wasn’t love, this was a lovely feeling. I reasoned that this is what they mean when they talk about swooning. One of those swoon-worthy moments.
This wasn’t like the guilty butterflies that boys my age would give me when I considered a possibility. It was actual.
I wasn’t prepared, too. Leaving Movie Star, I came up with an explanation and behaved like Cinderella in ugly boots. I wish I could say that I was being diplomatic. Later, I discovered that this was considered “playing hard to get.”
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