Pop Stars Jessica and Ashlee Are Pop's Stars

ByABC News
October 28, 2004, 8:08 PM

Oct. 29, 2004 — -- Joe Simpson has made his daughters, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, two of today's hottest pop superstars. But to do that, he had to dress Jessica in skimpy clothes and turn her marriage into a reality television show. The irony to some people is that he is a Baptist minister. Did he betray the values that he preached? And are his daughters paying a price for living in the spotlight?

Ashlee Simpson found out how tough the music business can be last weekend when she was caught lip syncing on "Saturday Night Live."

It was horribly embarrassing -- but perhaps not surprising. Having her missteps exposed on a national stage is nothing new to Ashlee Simpson. Her dad has made that a central part of her marketing. In fact, by opening his daughters' private lives to public scrutiny, even the difficult or awkward moments most parents would zealously protect, the former Baptist minister has redefined how you sell records.

And in just a few years Simpson has transformed Jessica and Ashlee into two of the biggest stars in pop music.

"I don't speak for Ashlee on this, but other than my talent and my mom's encouragement, my dad is the rest. My dad is 90 percent of the success of my career," Jessica said.

Ashlee added, "I'm one of those people that like to take control of things. So I would say 60 percent, 50 percent."

And their success is staggering. With Simpson guiding his daughters' careers, Jessica and Ashlee each have a platinum-selling CD, a hit reality television show and parts in television dramas and sitcoms.

It's estimated that the sisters will earn more than $50 million.

On the set of their family Christmas television special, to air Dec. 1 on ABC, Simpson talked about the early struggles, including his attempt to get Jessica signed as a Christian contemporary artist. Simpson says that effort failed when parts of his daughter's anatomy proved too big a distraction for the men running the Christian labels.

He was referring to Jessica's chest. "Her chest is ahead of her by 2 or 3 feet so, you know, it gets there before she does," he said.