Jessica Simpson Recalls Dad Bringing a Male Model She Didn't Know to Her and Eric Johnson's Wedding


Jessica Simpson is opening up about her relationship with her dad, Joe.

In her new memoir, Open Book, the 39-year-old singer recalls the days leading up to her 2014 wedding to Eric Johnson, in which she received a phone call from her father. 

"My father called me three days before we left for the wedding to tell me he was bringing his friend Jonathan, a young model he often shot for his new photography business," she writes. "… I reminded myself that I needed to accept my father for who he was as he worked it out in real-time… I wasn’t sure how to handle my father now, so I worked with the information he was ready to give me. Maybe I wasn’t ready to listen, I don’t know."

Jessica's mother, Tina, also brought a date to the nuptials, a man who "was kind and treated her well."

"People move on, even if I couldn't," she writes in reference to her parents' 2012 divorce.

That wasn't the first time Joe interrupted an important life moment for Jessica. In fact, amid her 2002 engagement and wedding to Nick Lachey, Jessica writes that he "was awful."

"My father was a rain cloud all his own," she writes. "At the rehearsal dinner the night before, my father acted as if the next day was his execution."

That attitude lasted all the way until the walk down the aisle, when he asked her, "Are you sure you want to do this?"

"I fixed a smile, knowing the doors would swing open at any second. 'Dad, I'm walking down this aisle and getting married,' I said through gritted teeth. 'You're giving me away. You have to. I'll always be your little girl, but you have to do this for me,'" she recalls. "... I took a step, dragging my father into movement. He briefly got it together but cried the whole way down the aisle. It was brutal."

Years after Jessica's 2006 divorce from Nick, she was in the hospital awaiting the arrival of her first child, Maxwell. It was then that Joe announced his decision to leave Tina by thanking Jessica her for "showing him the way" through her divorce from Nick and "finding the [life]" she was "meant to have" in her subsequent marriage to Eric.

"I was completely blindsided, as I knew my mother would be," she writes. "... For my survival, and my daughter's protection, I buried the news. I refused to deal with it and instead focused on welcoming Maxwell."

"... My father's timing added a layer of terrible sadness to what had been a joyous time," she adds. "For a long time, I harbored a lot of resentment about the way he told me the family I knew was over."

A few months later, Jessica writes that Tina found out that Joe "had betrayed their marriage," something he denied. Following that experience, Jessica often sided with her mother and "stopped seeing him." Eventually, she fired him as her manager, a role he'd held since the beginning of her career.

"He thought I was following my mother’s wishes, but he had made some bad deals for me," she writes. "… It took about five times to really fire him before the message stuck."

"... It left a lot of hurt feelings I didn’t know existed and I knew I had to make the move to go forward with ownership of my own career," she adds.

To this day, he remains removed from her career, though he is supportive of her work, namely her six new songs, which were released on Tuesday. In the memoir, Jessica details deciding to let him listen to her new music, much of which was about their relationship.

She describes one song, "Practice What You Preach," as "a direct hit" at her dad, writing, "his choice to leave my mother was like a bomb going off in my life, and I still found myself clinging to whatever I could hold on to."

"He didn't mean to hurt all of us so badly, but I knew for a fact that he had realized his decision would have consequences. I know he knew that because that's what he had taught me. But I had kept that from him," she adds. "And now I needed him to hear that I was singing about him."

After playing him another track, "Party of One" -- which largely focused on her parents' decision to choose "the very moment I needed them most, becoming a mother, to go off and start their new lives" -- Jessica says Joe "got up and put his arms around me until I shook with tears."

"'I'm so proud of you,' he said. For the first time in my entire life, he was responding to something I created not as a manager, but as a father," she writes. "... He just said, 'I love you.'"

ET recently sat down with Jessica to discuss her memoir, which is out now. Watch the video below to see some of that interview.


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