In an excerpt obtained by People for a cover story published on Wednesday, the pop star turned fashion designer writes that the abuse began when she "shared a bed with the daughter of a family friend" at just 6 years old.
"It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable," Simpson writes, adding that she was hesitant to tell her parents, Joe and Tina Simpson, for some time because she was worried that she was at fault for the abuse. "I wanted to tell my parents. I was the victim but somehow I felt in the wrong."
Around the age of 12, though, Jessica Simpson finally said something during a family road trip. The star remembers her mother slapping her father's arm and saying, "I told you something was happening." However, Simpson writes, "Dad kept his eye on the road and said nothing."
Simpson adds, "We never stayed at my parents' friends' house again but we also didn't talk about what I had said."
Years later — when her career took off as a singer, actress and reality star on MTV's Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica with now ex-husband Nick Lachey — Simpson says that she quietly self-medicated to mask her trauma. "I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills," she writes in Open Book.
Simpson eventually became sober in November 2017. While she says giving up alcohol was "easy," committing to twice-a-week therapy sessions was at first a challenge but ultimately rewarding.
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