Jessica Ann Simpson (born July 10, 1980) is an American singer, actress, and television personality who rose to fame in the late 1990s. She has achieved seven Billboard Top 40 hits, and has three gold and two multi-platinum RIAA-certified albums. 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.
Early life and career
Simpson was born in Abilene, Texas, the daughter of Tina and Joe Truett Simpson, who was a minister and psychologist. As a child, she began singing at her local Baptist church. At age twelve, Simpson 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, self-titled, "Jessica", but Proclaim went bankrupt and the album was never officially released except for a small pressing funded by her grandmother. This small funding however 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?2001: Sweet Kisses and Irresistible
Simpson released her first single, "I Wanna Love You Forever", which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2000. Soon afterward her major label debut album Sweet Kisses was released. To support the album, Simpson toured with Ricky Martin and with boy band 98 Degrees, and she and 98 Degrees group member Nick Lachey began dating shortly afterwards. After dating for two years, the couple cooled their relationship. After the September 11, 2001 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."
Simpson performing on tour in November 2001.
Meanwhile, Simpson's album Sweet Kisses had gone double platinum, helped by 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. Although her debut album sold 2 million copies and 4 million worldwide, sales fell far short of those achieved by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and unlike the two pop princesses, Simpson was not a worldwide household name. Columbia Records officials reportedly decided Simpson needed a change for her second album. The following year, Jessica came to record her second album, executives pressured to she give a much more sexy image.
In 2001, Simpson recorded a follow-up album with what Columbia considered more radio-friendly, up-tempo tracks. The result in that was Irresistible, released in mid-2001 on the heels of the title-track first single. "Irresistible" became one of the biggest hits of her career; it peaked at # 15 on the Hot 100 and stayed in the chart for 20 weeks. The single reached its peak at #2 in Belgium and the Top 20 in the UK, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Switzerland, Philippines and Australia, which by its single becomes more enjoying fame in the world.
Irresistible debuted at #6 in June 2001 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, and was certified Gold for selling 500,000 copies in its seventh week. Irresistible has sold 825,000 copies to date in U.S. and 3.5 million copies worldwide. "A Little Bit" was released as the second single from the album but did not enter the chart.
In support of the album, Simpson toured mid-August, which was called DreamChaser Tour, but due to the terrorist attack of September 11 could not complete the planned dates.
2002?2005: Breakthrough and In this Skin
Simpson and then-husband Nick Lachey at a publicity shoot for the MTV Video Music Awards in 2004.
In This Skin, debuted at #10 on The Billboard 200 album chart, with sales of 64,000 in its first week. It rebounded after a special collectors' edition was released in April 2004 and subsequently reached a peak at #2. It was eventually certified triple platinum. 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" (#14, 2004) and a cover of the Berlin song "Take My Breath Away" (#20, 2004), and a lesser hit, a cover of the Robbie Williams song "Angels", which charted just outside the Billboard Hot 100.
Simpson also released Rejoyce: The Christmas Album in late 2004, which peaked at #14 on the album chart and was later certified gold. Simpson appeared on The Dukes of Hazzard soundtrack, releasing "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", a cover of the 1966 Nancy Sinatra hit. The song peaked at #14 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, while wearing a skin-tight, revealing pink bikini. In some countries the video was banned for its overtly sexual content.
2006?2007: A Public Affair
Simpson in August 2006
In 2006, Simpson then returned to the recording studio, switching labels from Columbia to Epic Records. On 29 August 2006, she released her fourth album A Public Affair, the album debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, with 101,000 copies sold in it's first week, spending only 10 weeks on the Billboard.
The first single from the album, bearing the same name "A Public Affair", debuted at 39, her highest debut after "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", coming after the # 14 on the Hot 100, the single also hit number 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play. Internationally was received moderately reaching the Top 10 in Canada, Ireland and the Philippines. The video features appearances by Eva Longoria, Christina Applegate, Christina Milian, Maria Menounos, Andy Dick and Ryan Seacrest. It became her most successful video on TRL, peaking at 2 for 28 days. The second and final single from the album, was "I Belong To Me" which won by a poll on its website. It was released on September 26, is the fourth single in not entering the Billboard Hot 100, as it only peaked at #110 in U.S.The single's video appeared on TRL countdowns, but quickly fell off.
Finally, the album sold 300,000 copies in the U.S. and 800,000 worldwide, a low figure compared with his previous albums. The failure of the album was due mainly to lack of promotion that had, since the album was handled by his father Joe Simpson and executives at Epic Records.
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.
2008?2009: Move to country and Do You Know
Jessica Simpson Pre-race show at Lowe's Motor Speedway 2008.
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 , 2008, debuting at number 41 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 42 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 #18 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, The album fully leaked onto the internet on August 28, 2008. The album debuted #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart in both the US and Canada. Giving Simpson her first #1 album of her career. She opened for Rascal Flatts on their "Bob That Head Tour" from January 17 through March 14, 2009. The album's second single "Remember That" was released to country radio on September 29, 2008. The single peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and dropped off the chart by the end of December 2008. The album's third single was "Pray Out Loud", which failed to chart in its first three weeks. On April 7, 2009 Simpson's rep confirmed with Us Weekly that she and label Sony Nashville were parting ways.
Film and television
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.
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 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 #1 at the box office its opening weekend, although it had little or no competition (the only other new film opening that weekend was a low-budget independent film), and grossed $30.7 million on 3,785 screens. It also had an adjusted-dollar rank of #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.
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 #4 just behind Open Season.
In December 2007, Luke Wilson co-starred with Simpson in her third film, Blonde Ambition. The film opened in eight Texas (the home state of both Simpson and Wilson) theaters 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. Simpson's next movie, Major Movie Star (later renamed Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous) was released straight to DVD on February 3, 2009.
2009?present: Return to reality television
Us Weekly reports that Simpson recently visited some TV networks to pitch a reality series about society's scrutiny of women's bodies. The premise of the program, titled The Price of Beauty: "She and a friend set off on a road trip around the world in search of what people find beautiful and why". Simpson will be hands-on with the show?and will even try some of the "shocking things that women do to make themselves beautiful".. Simpson and her father Joe Simpson will serve as executive producers. The show will air sometime in 2010 on VH1.
Following in the footsteps of other female musicians, such as Cher and Patti LaBelle, Simpson and stylist Ken Pav?s launched a line of hair and beauty products on the Home Shopping Network. Simpson also designs and markets a line of handbags and (primarily high-heeled) shoes and boots. She also plans to design lingerie including bras, panties, sleepwear and daywear. Jessica Simpson's Intimates is set to be available in major department stores and online shopping sites for spring 2009.
Simpson has had many commercials, mainly with Pizza Hut and Proactiv Solution. She also has a commercial with Ice Breakers, along with her sister Ashlee. She has had up to three Pizza Hut commercials, the first in 2004, advertising the new Buffalo Wing Pizza (costarring The Muppets). 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 has launched a fragrance line. Her fragrance was made by Parlux Fragrances. Her debut perfume, Fancy, was launched in 2008.
Jessica Simpson with her father and manager, Joe Simpson
Jessica is managed by her father, Joe Truett Simpson, whose fee is reported to be between 10 percent and 20 percent of her income. He has distanced himself from his daughters' finances, however, and has no access to their bank accounts, which are under the supervision of their shared and longtime business manager, David Levin. Mr. Simpson said he wanted his children to see that "Daddy never touched their stuff. I wanted them to always look at me with respect."
Criticism and controversy
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."
Simpson, who endorsed George W. Bush for president in 2004, 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. Simpson received heated criticism from PETA. PETA issued a statement regarding the incident stating that, "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."
PETA spokeswoman Pamela Anderson also commented by making a comment regarding Simpson.
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
On October 26, 2002, at age 22, 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. 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. 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."
Following her divorce, Simpson 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 New Year's 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 Cowboy's fans gave her the nickname Yoko Romo in comparison to Yoko Ono who many Beatles fans blame for "ruining" John Lennon. This was further fueled when the Cowboys lost to the Giants in the divisional playoffs, when Romo and Simpson went on a trip during the Cowboy's bye week. FOX broadcaster Terry Bradshaw called into question Simpson and Romo vacationing in Mexico.
"If only Tony had called me and said, 'Terry, Jessica 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. A source close to the pop star told the magazine that Romo broke up with Simpson on July 9 ? the night before her 29th birthday. "She is heartbroken," said the source. "She loves Tony. But it's been difficult lately. He's busy with his career, and she's getting ready to shoot her show (The Price of Beauty). They decided to part ways."
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.