Jessica Simpson is opening up about her relationship with her dad, Joe. In her new memoir, Open Book, the 39-year-old singer recalls the days leading up to her 2014 wedding to Eric Johnson, during which she received unexpected news from her father.
"My father called me three days before we left for the wedding to tell me he was bringing his friend Jonathan, a young model he often shot for his new photography business," she writes. "I reminded myself that I needed to accept my father for who he was as he worked it out in real-time… I wasn’t sure how to handle my father now, so I worked with the information he was ready to give me. Maybe I wasn’t ready to listen, I don’t know."
Back in 2014, Joe addressed rumors about his relationship with model Jonathan Keith after the two were photographed together. He denied they had a romantic relationship, explaining that they were working together.
"More mis-information in the news," he tweeted at the time. "The guy in the pics is my modeling Client. He was in Miami taking agency meetings. That's it!!"
More mis-information in the news. The guy in the pics is my modeling Client. He was in Miami taking agency meetings. That's it!!
"My father was a rain cloud all his own," Jessica writes. "At the rehearsal dinner the night before, my father acted as if the next day was his execution." That attitude lasted up until the moment she was supposed to walk down the aisle. "Are you sure you want to do this?" she recalls Joe asking her.
"I fixed a smile, knowing the doors would swing open at any second. 'Dad, I'm walking down this aisle and getting married,' I said through gritted teeth. 'You're giving me away. You have to. I'll always be your little girl, but you have to do this for me,'" she continues. "I took a step, dragging my father into movement. He briefly got it together but cried the whole way down the aisle. It was brutal."
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Years after Jessica's 2006 divorce from Nick, she was in the hospital awaiting the arrival of her first child, Maxwell. It was then that Joe announced his decision to leave her mother, Tina, by thanking Jessica for "showing him the way" through her separation and finding the life she was "meant to have" in her subsequent marriage to Eric.
"I was completely blindsided, as I knew my mother would be," Jessica writes. "For my survival, and my daughter's protection, I buried the news. I refused to deal with it and instead focused on welcoming Maxwell."
She adds, "My father's timing added a layer of terrible sadness to what had been a joyous time. For a long time, I harbored a lot of resentment about the way he told me the family I knew was over."
A few months later, Jessica writes that Tina found out that Joe "had betrayed their marriage." Although it's something he denied, Jessica often sided with her mother and stopped seeing Joe. Eventually, she fired him as her manager -- a role he'd held since the beginning of her career.
"He thought I was following my mother’s wishes, but he had made some bad deals for me," Jessica explains. "It took about five times to really fire him before the message stuck." She also writes that it left her with a lot of hurt feelings. "... I knew I had to make the move to go forward with ownership of my own career."
To this day, Joe remains removed from her career, though Jessica reveals in her memoir that he has been supportive of her new music, which includes the six songs that she released in conjunction with her audiobook. In her memoir, Jessica opens up about her decision to let him listen to her new music, much of which was about their relationship.
The singer describes one song, "Practice What You Preach," as "a direct hit" at her dad. "His choice to leave my mother was like a bomb going off in my life, and I still found myself clinging to whatever I could hold on to," she writes.
"He didn't mean to hurt all of us so badly, but I knew for a fact that he had realized his decision would have consequences. I know he knew that because that's what he had taught me. But I had kept that from him," she adds. "And now I needed him to hear that I was singing about him."
Another track, "Party of One," Jessica says is largely about her parents' decision "to go off and start their new lives" just as she about to become a first-time mother. After playing it for Joe, he "got up and put his arms around me until I shook with tears."
"'I'm so proud of you,' he said. For the first time in my entire life, he was responding to something I created not as a manager, but as a father," she writes. "He just said, 'I love you.'"
ET recently sat down with Jessica to discuss her memoir, which is out now. Watch the video below to see some of that interview.