Jessica Simpson is preparing to release her memoir, Open Book, in February, and an excerpt shared with PEOPLE is revealing one of the star's most private struggles. In the excerpt, Simpson opened up about her battle with addiction, revealing that sexual abuse when she was young, combined with later pressures, led her to later self-medicate with alcohol and stimulants.
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Simpson wrote that she was first abused at age 6 "when I shared a bed with the daughter of a family friend," she wrote. "It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable."
"I wanted to tell my parents," she continued. "I was the victim but somehow I felt in the wrong."
She eventually told her parents, Tina and Joe Simpson, when they were in the car together when Simpson was 12. Tina slapped Joe's arm and yelled, "I told you something was happening."
"Dad kept his eye on the road and said nothing," Simpson wrote. "We never stayed at my parents' friends house again but we also didn't talk about what I had said."
The Texas native soon found success as a singer and later as a designer, though she kept her trauma hidden from nearly everyone. "I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills," she wrote. In 2010, she married husband Eric Johnson, and hit "rock bottom" after a Halloween party at their home in 2017.
"I need to stop," Simpson told her close friends at the time. "Something's got to stop. And if it’s the alcohol that’s doing this, and making things worse, then I quit."
The 39-year-old got sober in November 2017 and has not had a drink since. She received support from her parents and friends, working with a team of doctors and going to therapy twice a week. "Giving up the alcohol was easy," she explained. "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," she added, calling her current state a "continual gift."
"When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life," Simpson said. "I found direction and that was to walk straight ahead with no fear.”
"Honesty is hard but it's the most rewarding thing we have," she added. "And getting to the other side of fear is beautiful."
Simpson explained to PEOPLE that she had received an offer to write a motivational book "to living your best life," but knew that to do so wouldn't be speaking her truth.
"I didn't feel comfortable talking about myself in a way that wasn't honest," she said. "I'm a horrible liar."
"It’s been a long hard deep emotional journey, one that I’ve come through the other side with pure happiness and fulfillment and acceptance of myself," she continued. "I've used my pain and turned it into something that can be beautiful and hopefully inspiring to people."0comments
Open Book will be available on Feb. 4.
Photo Credit: Getty / David Livingston