How Jessica Simpson Talks to Daughter Maxwell About Her Sexual Abuse Experience

In the middle of Times Square, Jessica Simpson paused to talk about her childhood sexual abuse in an honest conversation with her daughter Maxwell. Here's why she calls it a "perfect moment."

By Elyse Dupre Mar 23, 2021 4:01 PMTags
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Like in her memoir title, Jessica Simpson is an open book—including when it comes to talking to her kids about her past relationships, sobriety and being sexually abused as a child.

During an interview on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts asked the singer when she planned on letting Maxwell Drew Johnson, 8, Ace Knute Johnson, 7, and Birdie Mae Johnson, 2, read her book.

"They have it by their bedside," Simpson replied. "And they're starting to be very good readers, and they have read some of it. There's nothing that's off limits. We're very open as a family. For me, when I talk about sexual abuse and stuff, that stuff happened to me when I was younger than they are and at the age that they are. So, it is something that we are very open about."

The Dukes of Hazzard actress recalled a particular conversation she had with Maxwell while she was doing a book signing in New York last year. "A woman came up to me and was crying and had her daughter with her and she was saying that 'What you went through as a child, you know, it really encouraged me to talk to my therapist and be open with my family about it,'" Simpson remembered. "And Maxwell was like, 'Mom, what is she talking about?'"


Jessica Simpson's Family Album

So, Simpson paused the signing and had a discussion with her daughter. "I, like, held the line of autographs. I was like, 'I guess this is the time I'm going to talk to my daughter about it here in Times Square,'" she said. "But it was a perfect moment because she saw how being open and being honest with your feelings and how you can inspire people that way…I don't know, just how honesty really is moving and how it can make a change in people's lives and she saw that mommy was doing that."

The fashion designer said Maxwell later went back to their hotel room and began journaling. "She's been writing in her journal ever since," she added. "So, it's really cute."

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While Simpson's kids haven't read the entire book, she admitted "there's nothing that's really off limits."

"Except, you know, they don't date yet," Simpson, wed to Eric Johnson, said. "But when that happens, I might have my opinions. But they know that we're protecting them. I just think as a parent it's so important to really have everything out there in the open. There's nothing that's embarrassing to talk about at all and there's nothing to be ashamed of. And nobody's going to judge you. And if they do, they'll come around and they'll be there for you. And if they're not, somebody else will. But our family is very close."

And, always so supportive, especially Johnson. "After every therapy session I would have and the journal entries I would go through, I would share with him and it just ended up becoming a memoir," she said, later adding, "He cried with me. He laughed when I didn't. He also, like, is watching this and getting choked up in the other room. He's very supportive and he's very proud."