Jessica Simpson says she protected her sister Ashlee Simpson from sexual abuse when they were growing up. In a new interview, the 39-year-old Open Book author said she literally put herself between the abuser and her kid sister and took on all the pain herself.
Jessica recently opened up about the sexual abuse she endured a young child in a heartbreaking passage in her memoir, Open Book. In an interview to promote the book on The Dr. Oz Show, the singer and fashion designer revealed the lengths she went to make sure Ashlee didn’t suffer the same abuse that she did from the daughter of her parents’ friends.
Jessica told Dr. Mehmet Oz that the abuse started when she was 6-years-old and lasted until she was 12. Ashlee is four years younger than Jessica.
The abuse occurred during sleepovers at the family friend’s home when their daughter, a year older than Jessica, began inappropriately touching her.
“My sister would be there and I always wanted to protect my sister,” Jessica told Dr. Oz. “So I would push her out of the way and get in the middle because I knew what was going to happen, I would rather the pain happen to me than to my sister. Even if I were to have another friend there, I would always make sure I would sleep next to the girl so she would never do it to anyone else.”
Jessica explained that the abuse would start with back tickling and then move to “extremely uncomfortable” things. She added that she “just wouldn’t move” as her abuser violated her. The future pop star revealed that she kept quiet about the abuse for six years because she didn’t want anyone to get hurt.
Jessica also noted that her abuser was also being abused at the time.
In Open Book, Jessica revealed that when she was 12-years-old she told her parents, Joe and Tina, about the abuse, according to Us Weekly. Jessica wrote that her mom slapped her dad’s arm and said, “I told you something was happening.”
Jessica said she never had to stay at the friend’s house again, and she later confronted her about the past abuse.
During an appearance on The View (via YouTube), Jessica said that while she was a victim in the abuse, she blamed herself for allowing it to happen. The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg corrected Jessica and reminded her that she didn’t “allow” it to happen, that it just “happened.”
Jessica said she wrote about the abuse in her memoir Open Book to remind parents to keep a close watch on their children, even when they are with the closest of friends.