Jessica Simpson Reveals She Was Sexually Abused as a Child

Jessica Simpson's memoir, Open Book, will be released on Feb. 4, and excerpts shared ahead of its release reveal for the first time that Simpson was sexually abused as a child. In an excerpt shared by PEOPLE, Simpson wrote that she was first abused at age 6 "when I shared a bed with the daughter of a family friend."

"It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable," she wrote. "I wanted to tell my parents. 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."

In her memoir, Simpson wrote that the trauma of the abuse combined with later pressures eventually led her to later self-medicate with alcohol and stimulants.

"This feeling of being alone and scared in the dark was one I’d had since I was abused as a child," she explained. "I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills."

The 39-year-old ultimately decided to get sober in 2017, the day after she and husband Eric Johnson threw a Halloween party and Simpson realized she couldn't even dress her children.

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The designer wrote that she and Johnson drove their daughter, Maxwell, to school that morning, Simpson in the passenger seat.

"It was 7:30 in the morning and I'd already had a drink," she wrote in another excerpt from PEOPLE. Later, when her team helped her get into her Willie Nelson costume, she "zoned out" and realized she couldn't help her husband when he asked if she wanted to help her children get ready.

"I was terrified of letting them see me in that shape," she admitted. "I am ashamed to say that I don’t know who got them into their costumes that night."

The next morning, after taking an Ambien to sleep, Simpson wrote, "I slept in, afraid to see them, afraid I had failed them. I hid until they left, then drank." She called her close friends and told them, "I need to stop. Something's got to stop. And if it’s alcohol that’s doing this and making things worse, then I quit."

With the support of her friends, parents and a team of doctors, as well as therapy twice a week, she ultimately got sober and has been since.

"When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life," Simpson shared. "I found direction and that was to walk straight ahead with no fear."

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"Honesty is hard but it's the most rewarding thing we have," she added. "And getting to the other side of fear is beautiful."

Photo Credit: Getty / Jason LaVeris