How Ashlee Simpson Really Feels About SNL Controversy 20 Years Later

Ashlee Simpson reflected on her infamous 2004 Saturday Night Live lip-synching scandal and how she would’ve handled it differently today.

By Olivia Evans Feb 20, 2024 6:26 PMTags
Watch: Ashlee Simpson Talks "Humbling" 2004 SNL Controversy

On a Tuesday, memory of Ashlee Simpson's Saturday Night Live controversy is fading…but she'd still like to set the record straight. 

In fact, 20 years after the scandal, the "Boyfriend" singer reflected on the 2004 SNL lip-synching performance that effectively halted her career. 

"It was a humbling moment for me," Ashlee told Rachel Bilson and Olivia Allen on the Feb. 19 episode of their Broad Ideas podcast. "I think I had the No. 1 song, and everything was about to go somewhere, and then it was just like, ‘Whoa.' The humility of not even understanding what grown-ass people would say about you—like grown men—awful, awful things." 

The controversy ensued during her debut appearance on SNL in October 2004 when it was revealed she was lip-syncing. At the time, Ashlee was supposed to be performing "Autobiography" when a vocal track of her hit "Pieces of Me," began playing instead.

And in the years following the debacle, Ashlee—who shares daughter Jagger Snow, 8, and son Ziggy, 2, with husband Evan Ross, as well as son Bronx, 15, with ex Pete Wentz—has felt unable to escape it.

14 Stars Who Got Their Start on Saturday Night Live

"I went back to SNL with my second album, and I can't find it anywhere—probably because that was their moment with me," the 39-year-old continued. "I wrote all these songs and I did all this and—to have your credit completely taken from you."

The "LaLa" singer—who was just 20 years old when the infamous performance took place—also expressed that she felt pressured into doing it despite voicing concerns. 

"That label exec making you go do something—and I was like, ‘My band has never practiced this, this is not gonna go well, I can't do this,'" she added. "The power of me saying, ‘Absolutely not,' That's what I'd go back and say."

Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank

Still, she did find a silver lining from it all. 

"I feel like having the show at that time was nice because all the people that were my fans stuck with me," Ashlee added. "I went back on stage and I went back to it all." 

In fact, Ashlee went on to release two more albums—I Am Me and Bittersweet World—and even began collaborating with her husband under the band name Ashlee + Evan in 2018. 

And of course, the duo have also created an adorable life with each other and their children outside of the music industry. Read on for all their sweet pics.

Jagger's 8th Birthday

"Thank you to everyone for helping make JAGGERS BARBIE DREAMS COME TRUE," Ashlee wrote Aug. 2, 2023. "THANK YOU to the amazing TEAM."

Barbie Girls

The duo posed in a Barbie box photo backdrop at Jagger's birthday party.

Silly Faces

"Happiest Mother's Day to you my beautiful," Evan wrote alongside this family photo. "You are pure love. I'm the luckiest man. You have made this life more beautiful then [sic] I could have ever imagined! .... & now we have another on the way"

Brush! Brush! Brush!

"CLEAN," Evan declared.

Model in the Making

"Styled by Jagger!" Ashlee wrote on Instagram.

Dress Up Time!

"DADDY & MAMA's hats," Ashlee gushed next to this pic of Jagger.

Snowy Smiles

Bronx and Jagger struck very different poses for this holiday family photo!

Style Icon

Ashlee and Evan's little one is a natural in front of the camera!

Disney Darling

"Happy Birthday my baby girl!" Ashlee noted next to this photo of Jagger in a Snow White costume.

Dad of the Year

"Thank you for being the most loving dad, always taking our family on amazing adventures, making us laugh, and keeping everyday fun. We love you so much. Happy Fathers Day to the love of my life @realevanross," the "Pieces of Me" singer expressed online.


Ashlee and Jagger matched perfectly in this mother-daughter photo.

Brother and Sister Goals

These kids are just two peas in a pod! Doesn't get more adorable than that. 

Daddy's Little Girl

Nothing like snuggles with daddy to make everything better. 

Messy Hair, Don't Care

Sometimes you just gotta let your hair down! 

Piggyback Rides and Pigtails

Just a little father-daughter quality time for the books. 

Sassy Sunglasses

Just goes to show that her future is so bright! 

Quality Time with Pops

Hanging with your old man can be pretty cool! 

Like Father Like Daughter

Little quality time goes a long way. 

Simply the Cutest

Flying high in the sky like the angel she is! 

Disney Days

Nothing better than a family trip to Disneyland. 

Holiday Family Festivities

The Christmas spirit was alive and well in this Christmas photo.

Family Boat Trips

Boat ride with the parents? Don't mind if I do! 

Kissy Face with Mama

Pucker up for the cameras, ladies! 

Costume Goals

The cutest little mini-me there ever was! 

Smile for the Camera

Going old school for the gram!

He's Here!

Ashlee and Evan welcomed baby Ziggy Blu Ross in October 2020.

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