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Jessica Simpson Talks Of Alcohol Abuse, Finding Herself Again In Memoir 'Open Book'

Jessica Simpson is back in the news, this time in her own words.

In her new memoir, Open Book, Simpson writes honestly about her career as a pop singer, her marriage to and divorce from Nick Lachey, her stint on reality TV, and her time with John Mayer. And she reflects on becoming a fashion mogul with a billion-dollar company.

But she also opens up about sexual abuse she experienced in childhood — and addiction.

Interview Highlights

On why she decided to open up now

There's never been a moment in my life that I've been more honest with myself. I mean, when I stopped drinking alcohol, I really saw all that I was hiding behind and all of the fears that I was letting overwhelm me in so many ways. And I finally, like, feel free of everything that I was holding secret and holding to myself. And I just really wanted to share the tools with people on how they can do this for themselves as well, cause we all have that capability and that strength within ourselves to do it.

On using diet pills, sleeping aids and alcohol – and drinking vodka at her daughter's school function

For me, I was just trying to get through the day, I was spiraling like everything. I mean, I had taken diet pills for a very long time and I didn't ever think that there was anything wrong with them. Now that I do not take them anymore, I realize how on edge that it actually made me and how much anxiety that they were actually causing — and then how the alcohol actually wasn't suppressing that, it was heightening that.

And I think that it really, like, in that moment of going to school and pouring a drink and having to have a drink to even get through a school function, that I was so insecure in that type of setting. It was a really shameful moment for me. And I really thought that those things were actually making me better when really they were destroying me, and they were taking me out of my life and not putting me in the moment.

On being abused during childhood

Yeah, it wasn't that I wasn't happy and it wasn't that I wasn't madly in love with my children and madly in love with my husband, and having success and that type of thing. It was really that I wasn't comfortable with myself and comfortable with the darkness of the night.

I mean, insomnia is still something that I struggle with. ... I was abused for many years. And that fear of falling asleep ... it's not like really staying asleep for me is the actual, like, falling asleep, being afraid of something that might happen. But I do know now that I am safe and I'm the only one that can give that peaceful feeling to myself. And my faith is what I really — I just always am in a constant conversation with God, trying to understand, you know, why I can't settle. But growing up being abused, I mean, that could be something that triggers the insomnia for sure. Just childhood trauma in so many ways.

On being one of the first celebrity brands

I mean, it just was kind of like a natural thing that that came about. I mean, we started with accessories, we started with shoes and jewelry and handbags. But then it just started growing. You know, the more I grew up, the more the brand grew with me, because anything that I would experience in my life, I would brand it, basically. If I was pregnant, I was going to do a maternity line... And then after having my first baby, I knew where to put the snaps on the onesies that were confusing. And I just made it make sense for my life and for other moms out there and for other people that love fashion ...I wanted to make things affordable and accessible. And for me, like, you know, I have had weight that has fluctuated up, down, up, down. I've been every size. I still wanted to feel great and I deserve to feel great. And I understand women in a very real way. And there's still so many things that that we're getting into. That's always exciting. So that part of my career will always be growing.

On not making music for many years

I wrote [Heartbeat] actually three months after my last drink and I walked into the studio and I could just feel my heart beat again, like I could feel it going at the pace that it was supposed to be going. And I could feel my passion and love for music as if I fell in love with my calling all over again. I really understood myself and I was thankful for the pain. I was thankful for the moments that I went through that were hard and I was proud of myself. I was so proud of myself.

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Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.