Jessica Simpson had a candid conversation with Katherine Schwarzenegger about the emotional process of forgiving the person who sexually abused her as a child during Wednesday's Gift of Forgiveness podcast. Having previously revealed she was abused from age 6 to 12 by the daughter of a family friend in her memoir, Open Book, Simpson revealed there was more to the story as she got older.
"I would say about eight years ago I confronted her," the singer recounted to Schwarzenegger. "I went to her and I just said, 'I know you know what was going on and I know that you were being abused — 'cause she was being abused by an older guy. He was always there at the house as well — he never touched me, but he would abuse her and then she would come to me and do the stuff to me — and so in so many ways, I felt bad for her, and I was allowing the abuse to happen."
At the time, Simpson told the woman that while she knew there was a lot, she had to deal with, seeing a professional would be a good way to "find a way to understand those moments and to forgive those moments and to heal from those moments." She continued, "And [I said], 'I just want you to know that I forgive you and I don't really care to be around you that much or ever again, but I do want you to know that, like, I know what happened between us and I'm not gonna live in denial about it.'"
Simpson said she felt moved to confront the woman after doing some "soul-searching" following her divorce from Nick Lachey in June 2006, as she was "celibate" and on a "journey to explore" herself. "I knew that I couldn't move forward without letting her know that. I wasn't just gonna leave it unsaid," Simpson said, adding that she also sent the woman a copy of her book, telling her she hoped it could bring healing on everyone's part.
In Simpson's book, she wrote about protecting sister Ashlee Simpson from abuse: "I lay between them, fiercely protecting my sister from this monster," she wrote. "I didn't want her to feel as disgusting as I felt. … I never let her near Ashlee, but I also never screamed or told her to stop." When she told her parents about the abuse, she claimed their response left much to be desired. "We never stayed at my parents' friends' house again," she wrote. "But we also didn't talk about what I had said."