Jessica Simpson is baring her soul. In an excerpt from her upcoming memoir Open Book, out Feb. 4, the 39-year-old singer and fashion designer recalls her struggles with addiction.
Excerpted in this week’s issue of People, Simpson shares how began self-medicating with alcohol and pills to cope with the pain of being sexually abused as a young girl. She buried her trauma and numbed her pain, which eventually led to her hitting “rock bottom” in 2017 while privately battling addiction.
“I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills,” she writes in the excerpt.
The mom-of-three recalls a particularly unsettling experience when she and her husband, Eric Johnson, were taking their daughter Maxwell to her school. “It was 7:30 in the morning and I’d already had a drink,” she reveals.
Compounded by anxiety and career stress, her struggles intensified. At the couple’s annual Halloween party that year, she “zoned out” and became too intoxicated to care for her children. This, she says, was her wake up call.
“I was terrified of letting them see me in that shape,” Simpson writes about her kids. “I am ashamed to say that I don’t know who got them into their costumes that night.”
During a conversation with her closest friends, following the party, she told them, “I need to stop. Something’s got to stop. And if it’s the alcohol that’s doing this, and making things worse, then I quit.”
And so she did. “Giving up the alcohol was easy,” she says. “I was mad at that bottle. At how it allowed me to stay complacent and numb.”
The excerpt details how her family and friends supported her decision and helped her set up a treatment plan with a team of doctors, along with therapy sessions to face her childhood trauma.
“When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life,” she writes. “I found direction and that was to walk straight ahead with no fear. Honesty is hard but it’s the most rewarding thing we have. And getting to the other side of fear is beautiful.”
Simpson hopes that sharing her story of addiction will help others who are struggling. “It’s been a long hard deep emotional journey, one that I’ve come through the other side with pure happiness and fulfillment and acceptance of myself. I’ve used my pain and turned it into something that can be beautiful and hopefully inspiring to people.”
Alongside a photo shared to Instagram of her People cover, Simpson wrote: “I hope my truth can help. I can’t wait to share #OpenBook with you.” And her honestly was immediately met with both support and gratitude. “Incredibly brave of you to release the truth, there is no time frame for trauma and I hope this will release many women and men from theirs,” one fan commented.
To read more about her battle with addiction, you can preorder Open Book by Jessica Simpson here.