Jessica Ann Simpson was born in Abilene, Texas, on July 10, 1980, and raised in Richardson, a suburb of Dallas.
Her parents are Joe Truett Simpson and Tina Ann Drew, and she has a younger sister, Ashlee, who launched her own music career in 2004. Her father is a psychologist and Baptist minister, her mother is a former Sunday school teacher.
Jessica began singing at the age of 12 in her church choir. Also at the age of 12, she auditioned for the "Mickey Mouse Club" television show, which at the time starred a young Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera.
The head of a small Christian label discovered Simpson while she was in high school, singing on a church camp retreat. Jessica recorded an album over three years starting at the age of 14, but the company Proclaim Records dissipated and the album was never released. So the former cheerleader and homecoming queen at J.J. Pearce High School dropped out her senior year.
Simpson began touring with Christian music acts and the Christian Youth Conference, and she and her father would peddle her albums after concerts. She would eventually earn her GED, and her father became her career and Web site manager. Her mother also assists in managing her career and wardrobe.
Her parents later confessed in music documentaries that Jessica’s reception in the Christian music world was a tepid one because of her voluptuous figure, and that she was deemed too sexy for the genre, especially while still in high school.
It was Tommy Mottola who catapulted her to stardom upon obtaining a copy of her independent album.
Jessica’s first professional album, "Sweet Kisses," debuted in 1999 and sold two million copies in the U.S., and also reached the Top 40 in the UK.
Her first single off that album was “I Wanna Love You Forever,” which went platinum and peaked at No. 5 on the singles charts.
Jessica and boy-band singer Nick Lachey (formerly of 98 Degrees) met while recording a duet together, “Where You Are,” which became her second single. The two began dating in 1999 after touring together.
Her last single "I Think I’m In Love" from "Sweet Kisses" hit the top 40 in the U.S. and became popular in the UK and Canada.
In 2000 she won two Teen Choice Awards — Best Breakout Artist and Best Love Song. She also performed on the television special Christmas in Washington in 2000 and at Bush’s Inauguration ceremony in January 2001.
Her second album, "Irresistible," was released in the summer of 2001 but didn’t do nearly as well. The title track made the charts in the U.S., and again achieved popularity in the UK, Canada and even Australia. But the album peaked at gold, and the record company even remixed the album and released "This is the Remix" in 2002.
Jessica also made two appearances as Annette on "That '70s Show" in 2002 and 2003.
Nick and Jessica married on Oct. 26, 2002, in Austin, Texas. They had broken up for almost six months, but got back together after Sept. 11. Jessica told the media, "After 9/11, I knew that I never ever wanted to be away from Nick ever for the rest of my life."
Jessica had famously declared her virginity to the public, making their wedding story sought-after television for MTV during the reality show craze the network enjoyed with "The Osbournes."
Nick and Jessica’s entire wedding and the beginning of their marriage including setting up house was filmed, and "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica" began airing in 2003.
Nick and Jessica participated in the USO Tour, visiting soldiers in Iraq in 2003. Her third album, "In This Skin," was released with singles "Sweetest Sin" and "With You" the same year to coincide with the reality show debut.
Through unscripted moments on "Newlyweds," Jessica became known for saying shockingly unintelligent things, such as that she doesn’t eat buffalo and therefore avoids buffalo wings, which only made the show more popular.
Nick came to her defense, saying that she is actually smart but just gets confused. It has also been suggested that her "dumb blonde" routine is only an act.
To jolt album sales, "In This Skin" was re-released in 2004 as a collector’s edition, including remakes of the '80s hit "Take My Breath Away" and Robbie Williams’ "Angel," which won her even more buzz.
Ultimately, the album sold three million copies in the U.S. and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard charts, and her "Newlyweds" success even carried over to the UK.
The year 2004 proved to be a banner one for Simpson, who sang at the Super Bowl, hosted "Saturday Night Live," sang with Nick at "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" (she'd also performed there in 2001) and appeared in "Nick and Jessica’s Family Christmas."
She also launched a new line of beauty products and fragrances in 2004, called "Dessert," and a clothing line for juniors which expanded to shoes as well.
Nick and Jessica's reality show continued to follow the couple's love story and life as husband and wife amid their career struggles, and rumors of a pilot for ABC began to float.
Nick and Jessica even starred in their own variety show on ABC in 2004 called "The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour," but plans for a sitcom were scrapped. That summer, though, Jessica picked up three more Teen Choice Awards, and "Newlyweds" won a People’s Choice Award in 2005.
Jessica released a holiday album named after her grandmother, Joyce, called "ReJoyce: The Christmas Album," because her grandmother had funded her first demo.
Tension over the couple’s separation due to career obligations became palpable on the show, and the two confessed the show had taken its toll, so "Newlyweds" wrapped in 2005.
Also in 2005, Nick and Jessica separated, causing a media frenzy, and rumors flew about Nick’s alleged behavior in Las Vegas, the possibility of infidelity and the strong presence of her parents in their daily lives.
Simpson filed for divorce in November 2005, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple released the following statement: "After three years of marriage, and careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways," which was published on Teen People magazine's Web site.
In the summer of 2005, Jessica made her film debut as Daisy Duke in the "Dukes of Hazzard" movie, but her performance was panned and she was nominated for the Worst Actress Razzie. The movie, however, was a box-office hit.
She also had nominal success with a track from the soundtrack, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin,’” and the song was named People’s Choice for Best Song in a Film in 2006.
Simpson has since parted ways with Columbia Records in favor of Epic Records.
Jessica is the spokeswoman for Operation Smile, which funds surgeries for children with facial deformities. She took a publicity trip to Kenya in October 2005 for the organization and met with children.
On June 30, 2006, Jessica and Nick's divorce was finalized. Jessica's last name was restored to Simpson, from her married name of Simpson-Lachey.
In August 2006, Jessica's album, "A Public Affair," was released, and it hit No. 5 on the U.S. charts.
Jessica's most recent film, "Employee of the Month," also starring Dane Cook, was released in October 2006. During filming, rumors flew about a romantic relationship between the two stars, but there was never any official confirmation.
In August 2006, Simpson began dating singer/songwriter John Mayer. The two split and got back together several times during the relationship, but things officially fizzled in early June 2007. She is now dating Dallas Cowboy Tony Romo.
Released: Nov. 9, 1999
Released: May 29, 2001
"This Is the Remix"
Released: July 2, 2002
"In This Skin"
Released: Aug. 19, 2003
"Rejoyce: The Christmas Album"
Released: Nov. 23, 2004
"A Public Affair"
Released: August 29, 2006
2008 "Major Movie Star" — Megan
2008 "Blonde Ambition" — Katie
2006 "Employee of the Month" — Amy Renfro
2005 "The Dukes of Hazzard" — Daisy Duke
2006 "Employee of the Month" — Amy
2002, 2003 "That '70s Show" — Annette
2003-2005 "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica"
2003 "The Twilight Zone: The Collection" (episode) — Miranda Evans
2004 "Nick and Jessica's Family Christmas"
2004 "The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour"