Jessica Simpson is an American singer, actress and fashion designer. Simpson signed a recording contract with Columbia Records at age sixteen, and released her debut studio album Sweet Kisses in 1999. It sold over four million copies worldwide, and spawned the top three song “I Wanna Love You Forever.” Take a look below for 40 more fun and fascinating facts about Jessica Simpson.
1. Simpson was born in Abilene, Texas.
2. She is the first child of Tina Ann Simpson, a homemaker, and Joseph “Joe” Simpson, a psychologist and Baptist youth minister.
3. Simpson’s parents married in 1978; they divorced in 2013.
4. Simpson has stated that she grew up in Dallas and Waco, but her parents now live in McGregor, Texas.
5. Simpson is the first child of the couple; she has a younger sister, Ashlee Simpson.
6. In her preteens she briefly attended Amelia Middle School when living in the mid-west while her father did outreach in Cincinnati, Ohio.
7. After moving back to Texas 20 months later, she attended J. J. Pearce High School in her teenage years, though she had to drop out in 1997 as her career began to take off; a year later she later earned her GED via distance learning through Texas Tech High School.
8. Being a daughter of a minister, Simpson was raised with a strong Christian faith.
9. She was given a purity ring by her father when she was twelve years old.
10. Jessica and her family moved frequently due to her father’s job, though they remained in Texas for the most part, they did live in the mid-west for a few years.
11. Her father would often take in unwed mothers for periods of time to provide them shelter.
12. She began singing in the church choir as a child.
13. When she was eleven, she realized she hoped to achieve success as a singer while at a church retreat.
14. Simpson auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club at the age of twelve, auditioning with a performance of “Amazing Grace” and dancing to “Ice Ice Baby” (1990).
16. Simpson claimed that she became nervous about her final audition after seeing Aguilera perform, and she ultimately was not selected for the show.
17. Simpson resumed performing in her church choir, eventually being discovered by the head of a Christian music label.
18. He initially asked her for an audition, and immediately signed her after she performed “I Will Always Love You” (1973) by Dolly Parton.
19. She began working on her debut album with Proclaim Records, and began touring to promote the project.
20. Jessica’s father later claimed that she had to quit touring as the size of her breasts led to her being deemed too “sexual” for the genre.
21. Her debut album, Jessica, remained unreleased after Proclaim Records went bankrupt; despite this, her grandmother did personally fund a limited pressing of the album.
22. Shortly after this, Simpson landed several auditions as Jessica was sent to numerous labels and producers.
23. She ultimately caught the attention of Tommy Mottola, then-husband of Mariah Carey and the head of Columbia Records.
24. He went on to sign her to the label, claiming “She had a great little look and a great attitude, a fresh new face, and something a bit different than Britney and all of them; she could actually sing.”
25. Simpson began working on her debut album in Orlando, Florida.
26. Mottola hoped to market Simpson as a contrast to Spears and Aguilera, both of whom had launched successful careers focused on dancing and sexuality.
27. While working on her musical debut, Simpson enlisted her father Joe as her manager; her mother became her stylist.
28. While at a Christmas party in 1998, Simpson met 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey, and the two began a romantic relationship; Lachey claimed that he left the party and proclaimed to his mother that he would marry Simpson some day.
29. With the release of Sweet Kisses (1999), Simpson and her team marketed Simpson as “anti-sex appeal”, as a contrast to artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera who had recently achieved success with their respective debut albums.
30. The music found on her debut album mostly spoke on topics such as love, and Simpson announced that she would remain abstinent until marriage.
31. Though the album sold four million copies worldwide, it failed to meet the expectations of Columbia Records; as a result, the label hoped to see Jessica mature her image for the release of her second album.
32. Her image changed drastically for the record, with Simpson singing more promiscuous music and wearing provocative clothing. The change in her image garnered a negative reaction from critics, some of which felt that Simpson had “sold out” in an attempt to emulate the success of Spears.
33. Upon Simpson’s rise to stardom with the success of Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica in 2003, Simpson was seen as a “ditzy blonde” based on her antics and comments on the show.
34. The show also revealed that Simpson had, in fact, waited until marriage to have sex; she recorded the song “Sweetest Sin” (2003) about losing her virginity to Lachey.
35. While Simpson continued to achieve further success, she became known as a sex symbol by the media.
36. Simpson’s portrayal of Daisy Duke furthered her sex symbol image, most notably when she portrayed the character in her highly controversial “These Boots Are Made For Walkin” music video. Simpson appeared as the character in several television commercials for Pizza Hut airing during the Super Bowl in 2006 and 2007. She also portrayed the character in adverts for DirecTV.
37. Simpson is a registered Republican.
38. She endorsed George W. Bush during his presidential campaign in 2004, though cancelled an appearance at a 2006 Republican fundraiser as she felt it was not “appropriate”.
39. Though a Republican, Simpson has praised former First Lady Michelle Obama during her time in office, stating, “She’s such an incredible woman, and she’s with such a powerful man…Everything she does she exudes confidence.”
40. In April 2004, Simpson performed during the VH1’s benefit concert Divas Live 2004 alongside Ashanti, Cyndi Lauper, Gladys Knight, Joss Stone and Patti LaBelle, in support of the Save the Music Foundation.