Jessica Simpson on sobriety, why she confronted her sexual abuser: 'The beauty is in forgiveness and that’s how we let go'

"I didn't really understand what was going on but I was the victim," she said.

February 5, 2020, 3:15 PM

Actress, singer and fashion designer Jessica Simpson spoke openly on "The View" Wednesday about the sexual abuse she says she endured as a child and her struggle with sobriety, as well as how these experiences affected her life and approach toward her family.

Simpson, 39, also spoke to "The View" about how she overcame and grew stronger from these difficult moments, which she details in her new memoir, "Open Book."

In the book, Simpson writes about being sexually abused between the ages of 6 and 12 by a girl who was only a year old than her.

When she thinks about her 7-year-old daughter, Maxwell, Simpson said she looks back at herself at that age "wanting to really just say something" but not knowing how.

"I grew up in a southern Baptist home, you know, so it was a sin if I felt anything sexual or did anything sexual," Simpson said.

"I didn't really understand what was going on, but I was the victim and I allowed it to happen," Simpson said. "I knew that something was wrong and I needed it to stop because it was really holding me back as a child to feel like a child."

Simpson said that one reason she shared her sexual abuse story in her memoir was so that she could "accept it" and "say it out loud." But she also said she hopes "parents can be aware that it can happen to the closest of people in your lives."

"For anybody that's experienced sexual abuse, I think it's important to confront the abuser if you can because the beauty is in forgiveness and that's how we let go," Simpson said. "That's how we use that pain to be stronger.”

Simpson also wrote in her memoir that she went through a period of self-destruction and what she described as a downward spiral of substance abuse. She's now been sober for two-and-a-half years, she said.

She told "The View" about the moment on Oct. 31, 2017, when she realized she needed help. At the time, she was dressed up for Halloween as her "dear friend" country music singer Willie Nelson.

"I realized that I wasn't being the parent that my parents were to me, and in raising my children I was not present," Simpson said. "I couldn't even tell you who got them ready, and for me to miss out on those beautiful moments, it just wasn't worth it."

"I woke up and I surrendered and I gave it all away," Simpson said of seeking help in 2017.

She went on to say that on that day, she unloaded many of her life's traumas onto her therapist, who she said was pleased that she was able to identify those issues after years of therapy.

"It's just the pressures of the world," Simpson explained. "We don't have to allow those demons to hold us down from being who we are. We can let those demons go and walk in our own truth and own it.”

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