Jessica Simpson’s mother, Tina Simpson, appeared on the TODAY Show Wednesday (April 14) to open up about the hardest thing to witness her daughter go through under the spotlight.
“I have to be honest: To me, the hardest thing with Jessica has been the weight. Because the way people judge her, it’s unbelievable. Body shaming is a terrible thing, and no girl should have to go through that — or guy. Period,” she told TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones. “Because of that, it catapulted all kinds of different emotions and different things in her life, too, you know? And then it made her want to be a recluse, in a lot of ways, and to hide out and not want to get our of her house.”
Tina did also witness gratifying moments in both of her daughters Jessica and Ashlee Simpson’s careers, as they rose to fame through their singing. Both have amassed top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, while Ashlee has scored two Billboard 200 No. 1 albums, and Jessica has notched four top 10 albums on the chart.
“For Jessica, it was very young because she was, like, 3 years old, she’d be singing in the back of the car. It’s like when she’d put a mic in her hand, she came alive. And it was just her passion; I could just see it in her,” the singers’ mother said. “And it was the same with Ashlee. That kid came out of my womb dancing. So she would dance and perform, and that is her favorite thing to do — and entertain anyone that came over.”
The 40-year-old Dukes of Hazzard actress revisited the scrutiny she faced over her weight in a journal entry that’s included in the latest paperback edition of her 2020 memoir, Open Book. “There is a wonderful movement for body positivity now and the response to that portion of my story has been overwhelmingly supportive,” she told People. “I don’t think people always realized that there was a human being, a beating heart and working eyes with actual feelings behind those headlines, and that words can hurt and stay with you for a lifetime.”
In May 2020, Jessica clapped back at Sally Singer, Vogue’s former creative digital director, for recalling the actress-singer’s “breasts maybe [falling] out of her dress on the red carpet” and being “on a platter” at dinner at the 2007 Met Gala with then-boyfriend John Mayer for Vogue’s oral history of the event.
“I have persevered through shaming my own body and internalizing the world’s opinions about it for my entire adult life,” she wrote in an Instagram post that slyly referenced the famous 1957 photo of Sophia Loren serving side-eye to rival Jayne Mansfield. “To read this much anticipated article about the classiest fashion event there is and have to be shamed by another woman for having boobs in 2020 is nauseating.”
Watch Tina Simpson’s TODAY interview here.