Jessica Simpson Opens up About Divorce to Nick Lachey: 'I Don't Think He Ever Thought I Would Take the Leap'

It's been 15 years since Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey divorced, but now the mother-of-three is telling all in her new memoir, Open Book. Ahead of its Feb. 4 release date, PEOPLE obtained an exclusive excerpt that details the couple's relationship, including how their fairy-tale beginning turned into an unfortunate end.

After meeting Lachey at "a Hollywood event" in 1998, he and Simpson started dating before marrying four years later. "Nick loved the fact that I was so strong in my faith and that I had this wide-eyed innocent approach to life. When he proposed in 2002, I said yes," Simpson wrote.

Some of their married life was chronicled by the reality show Newlyweds, where the tension between the two first started to surface.

"Our anxieties about our careers just seemed to feed off each other," she said. "We had been together almost seven years when I told Nick, 'I think I want a divorce.' I later heard that he told the press he was blindsided. I don't know how. At that point, we were not even speaking to each other. Maybe he was just shocked that I stood up for myself. I don't think he ever thought I would take the leap."

Along with her marriage to Lachey, Simpson also details her relationship with musician John Mayer. Particularly, the fact that he referred to her as "sexual napalm" in an interview with Playboy in 2010.

"He thought that was what I wanted to be called," Simpson wrote. "I was floored and embarrassed that my grandmother was actually gonna read that. A woman and how they are in bed is not something that is ever talked about. It was shocking," she said, before acknowledging that "he's publicly apologized and I don't want to take that away from him."

Simpson's memoir is more than just her relationship recaps, as she also gets frank about her lifelong struggle with alcohol and drugs, which was rooted in childhood abuse.

"I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills," Simpson admitted, despite the success she'd found. After marrying Eric Johnson in 2010, she eventually hit bottom at a Halloween party at their house back in 2017 and has been sober since then.


"Giving up the alcohol was easy," she admitted. "I was mad at that bottle. At how it allowed me to stay complacent and numb. With work, I allowed myself to feel the traumas I'd been through. When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life."

Open Book will be available for purchase on Feb. 4.