Jessica Simpson was born in Abilene, Texas and raised in
Richardson, a suburb of Dallas, Texas. She is the daughter of
Joe Simpson (a former Baptist youth minister) and Tina Ann Drew
(a former Sunday School teacher). Her younger sister Ashlee
launched her own music career in mid-2004. Simpson started
singing at the age of 12 in her Baptist church choir. At the
same age, she made an unsuccessful application for The New
Mickey Mouse Club, which starred fellow pop singers
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, among other
Jessica Simpson attended J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas. She was discovered singing at a church camp by a head of a small contemporary Christian record label and recorded an album over the next three years; however, the label folded before the record could be released. She dropped out in her senior year in order to tour and promote her demo album, which was funded by her grandmother, Joyce (thus the reason for the name of her 2004 holiday album, Rejoyce: The Christmas Album); she later earned her GED. During this time, she toured with the Christian Youth Conference circuit performing with Kirk Franklin, God's Property and CeCe Winans. She and her father sold copies of the album after her performances.
Tommy Mottola of Columbia Records obtained a copy of the
album and, thinking she had potential as a pop singer, signed
her as such.
In late 1999, Simpson released her debut album Sweet Kisses, which reached a peak of number 25 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and also made the top 40 of the UK charts. The album proved to be a success, selling two and a half million copies in the U.S. Her first single, the platinum-selling "I Wanna Love You Forever," reached the top five of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and the top ten in Canada and the UK. Her second single, a duet with then-boyfriend Nick Lachey of boy band 98 Degrees, "Where You Are", was a modest radio hit. The last single from the album, "I Think I'm in Love with You" (sampling John Mellencamp's 1982 hit "Jack And Diane"), was a top forty hit in the U.S. and a top 20 hit in Canada and the UK. In 2000, Simpson won two Teen Choice Awards for Choice Breakout Artist and Love Song of the Year ("Where You Are"). In 2000, Simpson appeared on the 98 Degrees video My Everything.
Released during the summer of 2001, Simpson's sophomore effort Irresistible reached the top ten of the Billboard 200 and top 20 of the Canadian album chart. Despite this improvement over her debut, the album's sales were less than satisfactory; by late 2001 the album only managed to be certified gold in the U.S. for selling 500,000 copies. In total, to date, the "Irresistible" album has sold a little over 750,000 copies. The title track lead single, "Irresistible", reached the top 20 in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, as well as the top 40 in Australia. A follow-up single entitled "A Little Bit" was also released, but failed to achieve substantial success. The album's third single, "There You Were", a sentimental Adult Contemporary song featuring Marc Anthony failed to make the charts. In 2002, Columbia Records released a EP remix album titled This Is the Remix containing electro-dance remixes of Simpson's biggest hits.
On October 26, 2002, Simpson married Nick Lachey. She famously announced that she remained a virgin until her wedding night. During the summer of 2003, Simpson and Lachey's reality show Newlyweds began airing on MTV. Although Simpson was moderately famous before the series began, the show is considered the crowning glory of her career.
Throughout the run of four seasons she epitomized the stereotypical dumb blonde, notably when she asked Lachey whether the Chicken of the Sea tuna she was eating was chicken or fish. She also indicated that she believed that buffalo wings were made from actual buffalo. Her ignorance helped turn the show into a huge hit, making the average rating for each episode about 1.4 million viewers and reaching a series peak of 4 million viewers. (The gaffe was also a running joke in a Pizza Hut commercial, where she was shown to be annoyed at having her intelligence mocked again.) When introduced to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Simpson responded: "You've done a nice job decorating the White House". It has been suggested that her ignorance is simply an act she has parlayed into various commercial, television and film endorsements. On the show, Jessica worked alongside assistant Cacee Cobb.
Banking on the success of her new popularity, Jessica Simpson appeared on a variety show with Lachey on the ABC Nick and Jessica Variety Hour in 2004. During that summer, Simpson won three Teen Choice Awards for Female Fashion Icon, Hottie Female, and Female Reality/Variety TV Star for Newlyweds. In 2005, the series won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Reality Show and wrapped shortly after.
Jessica's third album, In This Skin, was released during the summer of 2003 to coincide with the premiere of Newlyweds. Though initially the album was not a huge success, debuting at #10 with sales of 64,000 in its first week, it rebounded on the charts when a special collectors' edition was released in April 2004. It subsequently reached a peak of number two on the Billboard 200 and the top 40 of the UK charts, due largely to the success of Newlyweds. The album eventually proved to be her most commercially successful, selling almost three million copies in the U.S.; it also yielded arguably her most successful single to-date, "With You".
Jessica Simpson released a holiday album in late 2004 entitled ReJoyce: The Christmas Album, which sold moderately. The album debuted and peaked at #14 on the billboard hot 100 in November of that year and was certified Gold sometime later. During the summer of 2005, Simpson made her first major film appearance as Daisy Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard. The film debuted at number one on the U.S. box-office chart, grossing more than thirty million USD. One of the songs from the film's soundtrack, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", was sung by Simpson. The track won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Song from a Movie in early 2006. The controversial video directed by Brett Ratner raised eyebrows in the summer of 2005 with scenes containing Simpson washing a car in a pink bikini causing a backlash from her Christian former fans. During the filming of Dukes, well publicized rumors abound concerning an alleged affair Simpson had with co-star Johnny Knoxville. Knoxville was even queried about the alleged affair during a 2005 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.
In November 2005, after months of speculation, Simpson and her husband Nick Lachey officially announced that they had split. Simpson filed for divorce on December 16, 2005, citing "irreconcilable differences". She has asked the courts not to grant Lachey spousal support. The couple's divorce has been highly publicized worldwide. A spokesperson for Simpson told the press on July 1, 2006, that the divorce had been finalized on June 30, 2006. However, the two sides have not come up with a financial agreement thusfar.
The couple sold their Calabasas mansion to Malcolm in the Middle star Justin Berfield for a little over $3.75 million.
On Friday, June 30, 2006, Jessica Simpson and Nick's divorce was finalized. Jessica's name was legally restored to "Jessica Simpson" from her marital name of "Jessica Simpson-Lachey. Just shy of two months later, Simpson confirmed her relationship with singer-songwriter John Mayer to American magazine Us Weekly.
Jessica Simpson's next album, A Public Affair, was released on August 29, 2006 with Epic Records, ending her ties with Columbia Records(both Epic and Columbia are owned by SonyBMG Music). She has also finished filming her second movie Employee of the Month, with Dane Cook, in New Mexico She launched a shoe collection that was set to be released in department stores across the U.S. from February 2006.
Her latest single "A Public Affair" hit radio on June 23, with rave reviews. Chuck Taylor of Billboard magazine called the song's production "wildly adventurous" and "maddeningly catchy." He even called the song "A perfect record." Teen People called the song a fun, frothy dance track reminiscent of early Madonna; some in the media have criticized the unoriginality of the song due to its strong similarity to Madonna's "Holiday ." The music video premiered on July 19 on TRL. The music video for the song featured the following celebrities: Eva Longoria, Christina Applegate, Christina Milian, Maria Menounos, Andy Dick and Ryan Seacrest. The song (single and video version) ends by copying the "ahhh, ahh, ahh!" repetitious hook from Diana Ross' hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" from 1970.
The entire album leaked online August 25th, 2006, just a few days before it's official release.
A pilot for a sitcom on ABC was also filmed, but The Jessica Simpson Show pilot was rejected by network executives in May 2004. In June 2006, The Jessica Simpson Show pilot was leaked onto Jessica fansite Sweet Kisses.net. The sitcom was about a high-flying and uberly ditzy blonde popstar named Jessica Sampson who became news correspondent of a local TV station. In July 2006 the pilot was again looked at for The CW,CBS and also again for ABC. It is being considered to be picked up. The CW and ABC however have expressed the most interest. The show has also been considered under the new name Jessica.
At the beginning of her career, Jessica gained public attention when she claimed to be saving herself until marriage, something that has still gone with much speculation. Since that time her image has become increasingly s--ual.
In January 2002, Jessica Simpson posed in lingerie for Maxim magazine. The publication also named her #18 in its May 2006 Hot 100 issue. She appeared on Maxim's cover again in July 2006.
Jessica Simpson currently is the official celebrity spokesperson for Operation Smile, a charity group that provides free reconstructive surgery for children with facial and oral deformities. She recently sat in on an operation in Kenya to show her support, as well as supporting Operation Smile on Capitol Hill. She has also appeared as a spokesperson for the acne treatment Proactive Solution. However, she has said that in fact she treated her acne with accutane.
Jessica Simpson's public image has become fodder for ridicule and satire. In his review of The Dukes of Hazzard, film critic Roger Ebert accused Simpson of being "from Mars," and cited a TV interview in which he said she seemed "so remarkably uninformed that she should sue the public schools of Abilene, Texas, or maybe they should sue her." In 2006 singer P!nk released a song called "Stupid Girls" which directly mocked Simpson (as well as many other "stereotyped-dumb" celebrities); in particular a line, "Maybe if I act like that/flippin' my blonde hair back/push out my bra like that" is delivered spoken-word in a fashion that emulates a spoken word section of Simpsons "These Boots" cover. In the music video P!nk also mocks the music video for "These Boots". However, her mother claimed in an edition of Vanity Fair magazine that she has a 160 IQ. The satirical newspaper the Onion published an article ridiculing Simpson with the headline "Celebrity Launches Own-Breasts Awareness Campaign."
Simpson and husband broke up in 2005 after a little over 3 years of marriage.
Jessica Simpson also brought attention to herself on March 16, 2006, when she declined an invitation by President George W. Bush to appear at a Republican fundraiser to represent Operation Smile, because that group is non-partisan, and because Simpson preferred to keep her political views private. The decision was seen as a "snub" by some, such as GOP leader John Boehner but this was not an indication toward any dislike toward the Republican party in general since Simpson met with the President on other occasions. She just wanted to seperate her fundraising activities from her political ones.
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