Jessica Ann Simpson (born July 10, 1980) is an American singer, actress, television personality and fashion designer whose rise to fame began in 1999. Since that time, Simpson has achieved many recording milestones, starred in several television shows, movies, and commercials, launched a line of hair and beauty products, and designed fragrances, shoes, and handbags for women. She has devoted time to philanthropic efforts including Operation Smile and a USO-hosted tour for troops stationed overseas.
She has achieved seven Billboard Top 40 hits, three gold and two multi-platinum Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified studio albums, four of which have reached the top 10 on the US Billboard 200. Simpson starred with her then-husband Nick Lachey in the MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. She ventured into the country music market in 2008 and released Do You Know.
Simpson has a total of records sales in Australia of more than 426,000 copies and was ranked No. 113 on the 1000 artists chart of Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Decade Charts (1980–2010). In 2009, Billboard named Simpson as the 95th overall best Artists of the Decade. Simpson also was ranked at number 86 on Billboard 200 Artists, based on album sales.
Jessica Ann Simpson was born in Abilene, Texas, as the daughter of Tina Ann (née Drew), a homemaker, and Joe Truett Simpson, a minister and psychologist. She has a younger sister Ashlee, who is also a singer. As a child, Simpson began singing at her local Baptist church. At age twelve, she unsuccessfully auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club. While attending J.J. Pearce High School, she signed to Proclaim Records, a minor Gospel music record label. She recorded an album, Jessica, but Proclaim went bankrupt and the album was never officially released except for a small pressing funded by her grandmother. This small pressing gained her minor attention and she gave concerts with other acts such as Kirk Franklin, God's Property, and CeCe Winans. Simpson left high school at age sixteen (she later earned her GED), and after Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola heard Jessica, she was signed to the label.
1999–01: Sweet Kisses and Irresistible
Simpson released her first single, "I Wanna Love You Forever", which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999, and reached the top ten in ten countries. Soon afterwards, her major label debut album Sweet Kisses was released. To support the album, Simpson toured with Ricky Martin and with boy band 98 Degrees.
Meanwhile, Simpson's album Sweet Kisses had gone double platinum, helped by the follow-up singles "Where You Are" and "I Think I'm In Love With You", which were both released in 2000. The latter became Simpson's biggest radio hit at that point, and was her first release of an uptempo single. Her debut album sold 2 million copies in US. Columbia Records officials reportedly decided Simpson needed a change for her second album. The following year, when Simpson came to record her second album, executives pressured her to have a much more sexy image.
In 2000, Simpson started recording the follow-up to Sweet Kisses, with what Columbia considered more radio-friendly, up-tempo tracks. The album, titled Irresistible, was released in mid-2001 on the heels of the title-track first single. "The title track" became one of the biggest hits of her career; it peaked at number fifteen on the Hot 100 and stayed in the chart for twenty weeks. It managed to reach the top forty in some other countries it charted.
Irresistible debuted at number 6 in June 2001 on the Billboard 200 chart, with 127,000 copies sold in its first week. It was later certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling or shipments of 500,000 copies or more. Irresistible has sold 850,000 copies in the US, to date. In order to support the album, Simpson went on her first headlining tour, called the DreamChaser Tour, in mid-August, but due to the September 11, 2001 attacks could not complete the planned dates.
2002–05: Newlyweds, In this Skin and film career
During the summer of 2003, the reality show, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, starring Simpson and her then-new husband Nick Lachey began airing on MTV. Simpson's third album, In This Skin, was released in August 2003 to coincide with the series premiere of Newlyweds.
The show quickly became a pop culture phenomenon and is credited with making her a household name, even among those who did not follow pop music or MTV. "I never knew that just doing the show would give me that pedestal to step on," Simpson told Blender magazine, in a March 2004 feature.
In This Skin, debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200 , with sales of 64,000 in its first week. But, it rebounded after a special collectors' edition was released in April 2004, and subsequently reached a peak of number 2. It contained the song "Sweetest Sin", which barely even made an impact on the Bubbling Under Hot 100. However, the album did contain the hit singles "With You" (No. 14, 2004) and a cover of the Berlin song "Take My Breath Away" (No. 20, 2004), and a lesser hit, a cover of the Robbie Williams song "Angels", which charted just outside the Billboard Hot 100. In December 2004, the album was certified three times multi-Platinum by the RIAA. According to Simpson's biography, the album has sold 4 million copies in US, to date.
The couple starred in the television special The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour, which aired in 2004 and was compared to The Sonny & Cher Show. In 2005, Newlyweds won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Reality Show before wrapping shortly after.
In late 2004, Simpson released her first Christmas album titled Rejoyce: The Christmas Album . It peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard 200 chart and was later certified gold by the RIAA. Simpson appeared on The Dukes of Hazzard soundtrack, releasing "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", a cover of the 1966 Nancy Sinatra. The song peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Song from a Movie, in 2006. The song's video featured Simpson as Daisy Duke. It contains scenes of her flirting and singing in a bar and then later washing the General Lee car, wearing a skin-tight, revealing pink bikini. In some countries the video was banned for its overtly sexual content. Simpson received criticism from a Christian group calling itself "The Resistance", for the sexualized image she used in the music video for "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". In response, Simpson stated, "It didn't really surprise me because I grew up with a lot of that backlash. That's why I didn't end up going into the Christian music industry. I think that if they're really good Christians the judgment wouldn't be there."
In the summer of 2005, Simpson made her first appearance in a motion picture as Daisy Duke in the movie version of the television series The Dukes of Hazzard. The film was No. 1 at the box office its opening weekend, and grossed $30.7 million on 3,785 screens. It also had an adjusted-dollar rank of No. 14 all-time for August releases. The film eventually collected $110.5 million worldwide, although it was much less financially successful outside the U.S.
2006–07: A Public Affair and Employee of the Month
In 2006, Simpson returned to the recording studio, switching labels from Columbia to Epic Records. On 29 August 2006, she released her fifth studio album A Public Affair. The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, with 101,000 copies sold in its first week. The album sold 300,000 copies in the US, a low figure compared to her previous albums. The first single from the album, bearing the same name "A Public Affair", debuted at number thirty-nine, her highest debut after "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", and reached a peak of number fourteen on the Hot 100. It also hit number 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play, becoming Simpson's first number one single on the chart. Internationally, it reached the top ten in Canada and Ireland. The video featured appearances by actresses Eva Longoria and Christina Applegate, singer Christina Milian, Maria Menounos, Andy Dick, and Ryan Seacrest.
Simpson's second film, Employee of the Month, was released October 6, 2006. With poor reviews, the film took in $11.8 million in its opening weekend, debuting at number 4 just behind Open Season. In December 2006, while performing a tribute to Dolly Parton at the Kennedy Center Awards, she botched the lyrics, getting flustered in front of a crowd that included prominent persons such as Steven Spielberg, Shania Twain, and President George W. Bush. Though Simpson was given the chance to redo the song for cameras, her portion was edited out of the CBS broadcast.
In December 2007, Simpson co-starred with Luke Wilson in her third film, Blonde Ambition. The film opened in eight theaters in Texas (the home state of both Simpson and Wilson), and earned US $6,422. It was released on DVD in January 2008. Blonde Ambition fared better overseas, where it grossed $253,008 in the Ukraine its opening weekend.
2008–09: Move to country and Do You Know
In September 2007, Simpson's father Joe Simpson stated to People magazine that Simpson was considering doing a country album. Joe Simpson told People that she is "talking about doing a country record and going back to her roots, being from Texas."
"Come On Over", first leaked onto the internet on May 27, 2008. Shortly after country radio stations around the country began giving the single radio play. In the United States, "Come on Over" became the most-added song to country radio for the week of June 6, 2008, debuting at number forty-one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It broke a record held by Miranda Lambert ("Me and Charlie Talking") and Brad Cotter ("I Meant To") for highest-debuting first chart entry by a solo artist; both artists debuted at number forty-two on that same chart. The video for the first single, "Come On Over", premiered on Simpson's official website in July 2008. The single peaked at number eighteen on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. Prior to the albums release, Simpson performed at select state fairs and visited various country music radio stations in order to promote the album. The country album, entitled Do You Know, was released on September 9, 2008. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart in both the US and Canada, giving Simpson her first number 1 album of her career. She opened for Rascal Flatts on their "Bob That Head Tour" from January 17 through March 14, 2009.
Simpson's next movie, Major Movie Star (later renamed Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous) was released straight to DVD on February 3, 2009. On April 7, 2009 Simpson's rep confirmed with US Weekly that she and label Sony Nashville were parting ways.
2010–present: Return to Reality TV and Happy Christmas
In an interview for the March 2010 issue of Allure Magazine, Simpson stated that she is working on a new album. The album will end her contract with her label. She also stated that she will be producing some of the songs on the album.
Simpson hosts a VH1 series, The Price of Beauty, which began airing March 15, 2010 on. Simpson and her father Joe Simpson are the executive producers. In an interview for the March 2010 issue of Allure Magazine, Simpson said that she is looking for edgier, more intellectual roles. She guest starred on the hit show Entourage on August 1, 2010.
Her first greatest hits compilation, titled Playlist: The Very Best of Jessica Simpson, was released on October 12, 2010. Simpson later revealed that she was working on a second holiday album titled Happy Christmas. It was released on November 22, 2010. On November 25, 2010, Jessica appeared on NBC's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. On November 30, 2010, she appeared on NBC's Christmas in Rockefellar Center.
In June 2011, it was announced that Simpson participated as a mentor in the new reality show on NBC's, "Fashion Star" with Elle McPherson.
Cosmetics and clothing
'Jessica Simpson Dessert by Jessica Simpson' was launched in April, 2004 after co-founders, Randi Shinder and Simpson designed a line of edible perfume, lip gloss and other beauty products under the Dessert Beauty brand. A parallel line named Dessert Treats was launched the following year in February, 2005. The new line was marketed at a much younger audience.
Simpson and stylist Ken Pavés launched a line of hair and beauty products on the Home Shopping Network. Simpson also created the Jessica Simpson Collection in which she designs and markets a line of handbags and (primarily high-heeled) shoes and boots. The Jessica Simpson's Intimates began selling in major department stores and online shopping sites in spring 2009.
Simpson has launched a fragrance line. Her fragrance was made by Parlux Fragrances. Her debut perfume, Fancy, was launched in 2008. The success of Fancy spawned two more fragrances, Fancy Love and Fancy Nights.
Simpson has made commercials for Pizza Hut, Proactiv Solution and a commercial with Ice Breakers with her sister Ashlee. In 2005, she started advertising Proactiv Solution, an over-the-counter acne medicine. In 2006, she premiered in another Pizza Hut commercial for the Super Bowl XL broadcast. She sang "These Bites Are Made For Poppin'," in reference to the song "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," to advertise the new Cheesy Bites Pizza. In 2007, the Super Bowl featured her third Pizza Hut commercial, which again promoted the Cheesy Bites Pizza. She has also advertised DirecTV in character as Daisy Duke.
Simpson is Operation Smile's International Youth Ambassador.
In March 2007, Simpson donated a new Chrysler minivan to the Elim orphanage in Nuevo Laredo. Simpson won a Chrysler Crossfire sports car at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, but exchanged the $50,000 luxury car for a minivan so she could help the orphanage.
Criticism and controversy
Simpson, who endorsed George W. Bush for president in 2004, but was later said to have "snubbed" him by canceling an appearance at a 2006 Republican fundraiser in Washington, D.C.. Manager Joe Simpson said that even though he and Jessica are "big supporters" of the president, who had invited them, they felt it was inappropriate to attend a political fundraiser.
In June 2008, Simpson was seen with boyfriend Tony Romo wearing a shirt that said "Real Girls Eat Meat". It was seen as a slam at Romo's ex girlfriend Carrie Underwood, who is a vegetarian. PETA criticized Simpson, stating "Jessica Simpson's meaty wardrobe malfunction makes us thankful that no one is looking to her for food advice. Chicken-of-the-Sea, anyone? The woman who thought that Buffalo 'wings' came from buffaloes would benefit from some good veggie brain food."
On July 19, 2008, Simpson performed at the Country Thunder Festival in Wisconsin. She was booed by the crowd and received a poor reception from country music critics. She responded by saying, "I don’t know what your perception is of Jessica Simpson or what tabloid you buy, but I just want you to know that I’m just a girl from Texas; I’m just like you. I’m doing what I love and dating a boy."
Marriage to Nick Lachey
She began dating 98 Degrees group member Nick Lachey in 1999. After dating for two years, the couple cooled their relationship. After the September 11 attacks, the couple reconciled. Simpson stated, "After 9/11, I knew that I never ever wanted to be away from Nick ever for the rest of my life." On October 26, 2002, Simpson married Nick Lachey. She famously announced she had remained a virgin until her marriage. In November 2005, after months of tabloid speculation, Simpson and Lachey announced they were separating. Simpson filed for divorce on December 16, 2005, citing "irreconcilable differences." The couple's divorce was publicized worldwide and was reportedly finalized on June 30, 2006.
Simpson told Jane magazine in October 2006 that she knew her marriage to Lachey was over when he refused to join her on a charity trip to Africa, even though it was on their third wedding anniversary.
The couple sold their Calabasas mansion, in which Newlyweds was filmed, to Malcolm in the Middle star Justin Berfield for an undisclosed amount. On February 6, 2007, the Associated Press reported that Simpson said she was stung when her ex-husband jumped back into dating after their high-profile breakup. "Oh, it hurt me," the 26-year-old singer-actress says in an interview in the March issue of Elle. "Two or three weeks later? Yeah, I'd say it kind of hurt me."
Simpson received increased publicity following her divorce, reportedly having romances with her Employee of the Month co-star Dane Cook and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. Simpson also had an off-and-on relationship with musician John Mayer. Dating rumors started in August 2006 with a People magazine article, but kicked into high gear when Simpson and Mayer spent the New Year holiday together in New York City, both attending Christina Aguilera's New Year's Eve 2006 party. The couple eventually parted ways for good in May 2007.
In November 2007, Simpson began dating Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. The relationship was controversial among some Dallas Cowboys fans, as she was blamed when Romo had poor football performances. Some of the Cowboys' fans gave her the nickname "Yoko Romo" in comparison to Yoko Ono, who many Beatles fans blame for "ruining" John Lennon.
"If only Tony had called me and said, 'Terry, Jessica [Simpson] and I are going to go to Mexico,' I would've told him: 'You crazy? Don't do that! The paparazzi is going to find you, man. You're a star. She's a star. It's just going to happen,' " Bradshaw said in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Even President Bush jokingly endorsed the "Jessica jinx" after the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl in 2008. During the traditional White House reception for the winning team, the president quipped, "We're going to send Jessica Simpson to the Democrat National Convention."
On July 13, 2009, People magazine reported that Romo and Simpson had ended their relationship.
In May 2010, Simpson began dating former NFL player Eric Johnson, who had separated from his wife Keri Johnson in October 2009 after five years of marriage. Johnson's divorce was finalized on October 7, 2010. On November 14, 2010, Simpson announced her engagement to Johnson.
Main article: Jessica Simpson discography
* Sweet Kisses (1999)
* Irresistible (2001)
* In This Skin (2003)
* Rejoyce: The Christmas Album (2004)
* A Public Affair (2006)
* Do You Know (2008)
* Happy Christmas (2010)
* Heat It Up Tour (2000)
* MTV TRL Tour - selected dates prior to her headlining tour (2001)
* DreamChaser Tour (2001)
* Reality Tour (2004)
* Tour of Duty (2005)
* Bob That Head Tour (2009) (opening act for Rascal Flatts)