Jessica Simpson has spent half of her life being inordinately famous, for one thing or another.
Many a time, as it tends to work it, the headlines were for something that had nothing to do with what she was achieving on the creative side of life, and those achievements have been considerable.
Even when her name became synonymous with the best possible outcome when it comes to a celebrity brand, the fact that women of all ages have at least one pair of Jessica Simpson shoes in their closet tended to take a back seat to an ex spilling salacious details, or how much she weighed or why she seemed out of sorts in an interview.
But Simpson herself was never deterred by the noise, or at least not to a point where she strayed irreversibly off course.
Rather, the "I Wanna Love You Forever" singer and Daisy Dukes-rockin' Dukes of Hazzard star always ended up righting the ship—and, after years of letting people waste as much time as they wanted guessing what was going on behind the scenes, she took us on an unvarnished tour of her life in her New York Times No. 1 best seller Open Book (which came out in February, just weeks before the whole world was knocked off course).
While it was full of never-before-heard stories, including the truth about an alcohol and pill addiction that almost took her down, and the revelation that she was sexually abused as a child, the memoir (written in collaboration with Kevin Carr O'Leary) was also a reminder of all the times that Simpson has proved to be infinitely more than the skeptics who thought she was more comic relief than conscientious businesswoman could've imagined.
So in honor of the pop singer and reality-TV star turned billion-dollar business mogul and blissfully busy mother of three's 40th birthday, we're celebrating her triumphs:
Knowing now, thanks to her book, that Simpson was in danger of ending up a mere spectator to her own life, it's especially heartening to learn that she sought help—and that it did, indeed, help.
Because, what a life. It would have been a shame if she wasn't able to truly experience it.