Jessica Simpson admits she was drunk during infamous 'Ellen DeGeneres Show' interview: 'I can't even watch'

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·6 min read

Jessica Simpson admits she was drunk during her infamous 2017 interview on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

While promoting her new memoir, Open Book, on the Today show Wednesday, she spoke more about her alcohol addiction, which spiraled out of control in 2017. For the first time, she admitted that she was in fact drunk during an interview that year on the Ellen DeGeneres Show— as many on social media speculated at the time.

“I can’t even watch the interview,” she said. “I can’t watch it. It was a weak moment for me and I wasn’t in the right place. I had started a spiral and I couldn’t catch up with myself. And that was with alcohol.”

During the interview — in which Simpson infamously announced she had gotten an IUD after her back-to-back pregnancies and “nothing is gonna get in that uterus” — the star was dazed and confused. She slurred her speech and had trouble finishing her thoughts. Very simple math had her confused. More than once, DeGeneres just stared into the camera with her eyes wide.

The 2017 interview:

Immediately, social media was filled with people straight up asking, “Is Jessica Simpson drunk?” There was no official denial — she has said her inner circle was aware she was struggling and drinking from her ever-present glitter cup — but it wasn’t the first time either. Two years before, there was speculation she was drunk when she appeared on HSN. At the time, Simpson insiders explained it off to TMZ by saying “her giggling and slurring is just part of her personality that surfaces from time to time.” Now we know she was really struggling.

Simpson spoke a little more about hitting rock bottom on Halloween in 2017. At the time she was drinking “constantly” and started that day at 7 a.m. By evening, she was unable to dress her kids, with husband Eric Johnson, in their costumes or trick or treat with them. However, what the public saw was the adorable family photo she shared in which was dress as Willie Nelson.

“Well, yeah, that’s what those photos were for,” she said of making her life seem Instagram perfect.

In truth, “I honestly couldn’t even tell you who got them ready,” she admitted. “I was just dazed and confused and I just wanted to go to sleep. I didn’t take them trick-or-treating. I didn’t show up for my family.”

She added, “I took the picture and made the world think I showed up.”

Simpson, who got sober the day after Halloween that year, also talked more about her first marriage to Nick Lachey, whom she met when she was 19 and a rising star.

“I said, Mom, that’s the man I’m going to marry,” she recalled after she met him. “I knew. I was 19 years old but I knew.” She said, “I loved everything about Nick” in their early days. “I just wanted to be in his presence.”

Three years later, they married when she was 22 and Lachey was 29, and Simpson said her father, minister turned music manager Joe Simpson “thought I was too young. He knew that life had a lot for me. He didn’t want anything to hold me back.”

She recalled how, as she was about to walk down the aisle at their 2002 wedding, Joe turned to her and said “‘We don’t have to do this.’ I was like, ‘Dad, what are you talking about? Like — we gotta walk. Like — right now. My future husband is 12 feet away. We gotta go. He knew I wasn't ready for what marriage actually was.”

Simpson spoke about their reality stardom on Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica but said it wasn’t necessarily that scrutiny and having cameras in their home that split them apart. She said when she watched back old episodes of the show she “saw a lot of eye-rolling,” from Lachey, and that “wasn’t just editing. That happened on and off camera.”

She went on to say that as her star rose, Lachey felt bumped out — and, at times, he was.

“I think that our success together was beautiful, but our success separately was not as accepted,” she said of her soaring fame.

Simpson went on to talk about how when she appeared in a sexy pose and was declared “Housewife of the Year” on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2003, that wasn’t supposed to be a solo cover.

This cover was the beginning of the end for Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. (Photo: Rolling Stone)
This cover was the beginning of the end for Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. (Photo: Rolling Stone)

“He was supposed to be on the cover with me,” she said of the 98 Degrees singer, who went on to marry MTV’s Vanessa Minnillo. “Then they,” presumably referring to the magazine, “were like no.”

As a result of the cover drama, “I felt a lot of resentment,” she admitted. “I felt that the love wasn’t enough.”

She added, “I’m not a liar. I cannot stay in something and play a role. I’ve tried it many times and I just can’t do it.” They split in 2005 and divorced in 2006.

The interview also touched on what she revealed before — her addiction stemmed from childhood sexual abuse. She was 6 and was abused during sleepovers with family friends by a girl who was slightly older than she was.

“This was a very close person,” she said of her abuser, adding that the abuser “was being abused [as well].” Simpson’s own abuse “happened throughout a long time in my life." After finally getting the courage to tell her her parents about it when she was 12, she “never had to do the sleepovers again. I never had to go back."

Open Book comes out Feb. 4 and Simpson recorded the audiobook.

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