Jessica Simpson reveals that she was sexually abused from age 6 to 12 in her new memoir, Open Book. In a new interview with People, Simpson opens up about confronting her abuser, and the ongoing healing process that resulted.
She says that her abuser was a family friend, with a daughter one year older than Simpson. In an excerpt shared with People, Simpson says it started small, with tickles, but soon became "things that were extremely uncomfortable."
Simpson explains: "As a child, I didn't know what was going on. I just knew I wanted to protect everybody else in the room."
Eventually, she turned to alcohol and drugs to mask the pain. When she sober in 2017, she realized she had to confront the past to move into the future.
"I needed to confront my abuser," says Simpson. "It was extremely painful and still is. It's still shocking. That little girl in me wanting to do the right thing, not knowing how to stand up for herself and not knowing how to stop it."
She says that while the abuse doesn't define her, it definitely shaped her life. "I felt like a lot of who I am, the character of who I am, was built through the trials and the pain of abuse," she says. "I allowed it to happen, so I felt that I was as much of the abuser as the abused. So I was very shameful during that time, from 6 to 12 years old."
Open Book and songs that will accompany it, will be released February 4th. Simpson, who shares three children with her husband Eric Johnson, hopes her openness will give others courage.
"As a mother, that's why I wanted to tell people about it — that it's not your fault."