Birth Name: Jessica Ann Simpson
Birthdate: July 10, 1980
Birthplace: Abilene, Texas
Jessica is the oldest of two girls born to Tina and Joe Simpson. She was raised in the Dallas area with her sister Ashlee Simpson. Jessica was brought up in the Baptist faith and sang in her church as a child. During this time she also tried out for the Mickey Mouse Club, but was not chosen due to a poor audition. The show went on to cast Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake.
Jessica attended Richardson North Junior High and then J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas. She was a cheerleader and very involved in the school’s drama program.
While singing in a church summer camp, she was discovered by a Christian music label. She was signed to a record deal. For young Jessica, this was a dream come true. She worked for three years on her debut Christian album, however, the label folded and her album was never released. Her grandmother then put forth the funding in order for Jessica to have a demo album. Jessica dropped out of high school her senior year in order to pursue her music career. (She would later get her GED.) She toured with the Christian Youth Conference and shared the stage with Christian music greats God’s Property, CeCe Winans, and Kirk Franklin. Jessica’s father, Joe Simpson, would help her sell her demo albums after the shows.
Jessica caught the attention of Tommy Mottola from Columbia Records, who signed her to a record deal. He had heard Jessica’s demo album and thought that she could make it big in the pop world. Her first album, Sweet Kisses, was released in 1999. This album was certified double platinum. Her single, “I Wanna Love You Forever” reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs. This was Jessica’s first Top 10 hit. The single also was a success internationally, garnering Top 10 status in several European countries. In 2000, she was offered a role in the film “Coyote Ugly” but she turned it down.
Jessica stayed close to her Christian roots during the initial releases of her album. She dressed much more conservatively than her pop star counterparts. However, with the release of her second album, “Irresistible,” Jessica began to show more of a sexier image. The title single, “Irresistible,” contained somewhat suggestive language and even showed Jessica questioning her famous decision to remain a virgin into marriage. This change in image was largely due to the influence of Tommy Mottola. Although Jessica had been successful with her first album, he had been disappointed with the results. He felt that Jessica had the ability to be competitive with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, but the image was holding her back. He decided that Jessica needed to lose a little weight and dress sexier, both in her videos and while out in public. The “Irresistible” video is the first one to show this side of Jessica, and she is rumored not to be too fond of it. While she gained some new fans, she alienated some of her early fans who looked up to her as a Christian role model.
The next year Jessica married her long time boyfriend, Nick Lachey. The two met in 1998 when they both performed at a charity event. Nick was there to perform with his group, 98 Degrees. For her wedding, Jessica wore a beautiful strapless beaded Vera Wang gown. She carried a stephanotis bouquet that was made up of 500 stems and took the florists over twelve hours to make. After the wedding, Jessica wrote a book called, “I Do: Achieving Your Dream Wedding.” The book included details regarding her own wedding to Nick as well as tips on how readers could plan their own wedding. Jessica and Nick also agreed to star in a MTV reality show, entitled “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.”
It was this reality show that shot Jessica into superstardom. Although it had a somewhat slow start, the show soon became a smash hit, and Jessica and Nick became household names. She was often portrayed in the show to be a dumb blonde, but Jessica’s mother told Vanity Fair magazine that Jessica’s IQ is 160, which would put her in the genius category. The show was a ratings winner for MTV. It averaged 1.4 million viewers per episode. Along with the reality show, she also released her third album, “In This Skin.” The album debuted at #10 on the charts and wasn’t selling well. However, after “Newlyweds” became successful, radio stations began to play her second single, “With You” frequently. Jessica capitalized on that success by releasing a music video that parodied some of her “blonde moments” on “Newlyweds.” A second version of the album was released, with several new tracks. It shot to #2 on the charts and sold 150,000 copies in one week. The album ended up selling over 3 million copies in the United States alone. Jessica also appeared on “That 70’s Show” three times between 2002 and 2003. In addition, Jessica won three 2003 Teen Choice Awards.
In 2004, Jessica released ReJoyce: The Christmas Album, named for her grandmother who had funded her demo album. It was certified gold. Also that year, Jessica and Nick had a television special, “The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour.” Jessica released a line of beauty products called “Dessert” which featured lotions and body sprays in flavors such as “cupcake” and “candy.” She earned the distinction of being chose as #1 on Maxim magazines “Top 100 Hot List.” She also went on her “Reality Tour Live” which was a series of concert dates which featured footage from “Newlyweds.” The show was opened by Ryan Cabrera, who was romantically linked to her sister, Ashlee. The tour was also released on DVD.
Filming on “Newlyweds” wrapped in 2005. Later that year it won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Reality Show. Jessica also appeared as Daisy Duke in the motion picture “The Dukes Of Hazzard.” It debuted at #1 in the United States. Her cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” appeared on the soundtrack. It hit #14 on the Billboard charts and won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Song from a Movie. Jessica appeared in multiple television commercials related to her work on this film. She was named one of People’s 50 Most Beautiful People of 2005.
Although Jessica was enjoying public success, her personal life was in trouble. In November of 2005, Nick and Jessica separated. The next month she filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Jessica purchased her own home in Beverly Hills for $3 million dollars. The divorce was finalized in June of 2006. The couple sold the house made famous in the “Newlyweds” series to “Malcolm in the Middle” star, Justin Berfield. Jessica did not let her divorce slow her down, however.
Her fourth album, “A Public Affair,” was released in August of 2006 on Epic Records. Jessica was credited with writing 10 of the 13 songs on the album. The video for “A Public Affair” was full of celebrities including Ryan Seacrest, Andy Dick, Christina Applegate and Eva Longoria. Jessica released a second single “I Belong to Me” on her website and later added to her CD. Jessica did a poll on her website to determine what her second single should be. “I Belong To Me” received over 14,000 votes, beating out the other five possibilities. In October, Jessica’s second movie project, “Employee of the Month” was released. The film stars Dane Cook and Dax Shepard. Jessica started filming her third film “Blonde Ambition” with Luke Wilson in November of 2006. The film is expected to come out in theatres in 2007.
During filming of Employee of the Month, Jessica was rumored to have dated Dane Cook and Luke Wilson during early filming of Blonde Ambition. Her current boyfriend is singer John Mayer. The couple appear to be very happy together. Jessica’s one true love is her dog Daisy, who she is often seen carrying with her while out and about. Daisy is a Maltipoo, which is a mix between a Maltese and a Poodle. Jessica also loves the movie “Pretty Woman” starring Julia Roberts, hot pink roses, and Mexican food. She’s a big fan of sour skittles, vanilla ice cream and chicken-fried steak. She drives a 2005 Mercedes Benz SL500.
Jessica is very involved in charity work. She serves as Operation Smile’s International Youth Ambassador. Operation Smile works to help children with facial deformities receive surgery. Jessica also has been involved with the USO, which provides entertainment to American troops stationed throughout the world. She’s traveled to visit the troops in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Oman, Germany and Iraq, as well as visiting several ships which were stationed in Southwest Asia. She also toured military bases and provided screenings of “The Dukes of Hazzard” to military members in the United States.
There have been some rumors that Jessica might be recording an album with friend Liv Tyler. Jessica is planning to start work on another film soon, which will be in theatres sometime in 2008. Filming for that movie will begin in June and is titled “Major Movie Star.” Jessica was scheduled to begin filming “The Witness” in June but filming has been pushed back. As for her plans for the future, Jessica had indicated a desire to adopt a child.
Jessica’s hard work and perseverance have paid off and now she is considered one of the top female pop singers in the United States.