Jessica Simpson made sure she was always the one having to lay beside her sexual abuser during childhood sleepovers to protect her little sister Ashlee.
The pop star shares all about her secret past as a molestation victim in her new memoir, Open Book, revealing she was targetted by the daughter of a family friend during sleepovers from the age of six to 12.
Jessica has since opened up further about the troubling period in her life in a candid interview on America's The Dr. Oz Show, admitting her desire to shield Ashlee and their other pals from the inappropriate behaviour was so strong, she would bump them out of the way when they had to share a bed with the abuser.
"My sister would be there and I always wanted to protect my sister," Jessica told host Dr. Mehmet Oz. "So I would push her out of the way and get in the middle because I knew what was going to happen. I would rather the pain happen to me than to my sister.
"Even if I were to have another friend there, I would always make sure I would sleep next to the girl so she would never do it to anyone else."
The singer continued to suffer in silence because she didn't know how else to deal with the trauma: "I just wouldn't move (during the abuse). I was stuck...," Jessica recalled in the episode, set to air on Thursday (06Feb20). "I just would lay there and allow these things to happen and I didn't want to hurt people by telling them."
It was only when Jessica was 12 that she eventually told her parents, Joe and Tina, about the incidents, and although they didn't discuss the issue at length as a family, they made sure their daughters never had to attend sleepovers at the person's house ever again.
However, Jessica struggled to come to terms with the abuse internally, and the hidden pain contributed to her alcohol addiction later in life.
She is now more than two years sober, and when she finally agreed to tackle her troubles head on with the help of therapy after a disastrous Halloween (31Oct) in 2017, she didn't hold back.
"I woke up and I surrendered and I gave it all away," she shared on U.S. daytime show The View. "In that day, they (her family) had therapists come over and I said everything, 'I've been abused, I've been this, this, this, this, this.' And the therapist was like, 'A lot of people don't even say that through a year of therapy (sic)...!'"
Jessica, now a mother-of-three and happily married to former American footballer Eric Johnson, admits reliving the abuse and other low points in her life for the autobiography was tough but necessary, and fans who purchase the audiobook version will get to hear her raw emotions as she tells her story.
"When I recorded the audiobook, I was like, weeping, so in the audiobook, you will hear me cry," she said. "I wanna put a disclaimer on it and say, 'Pull over! This chapter is a tearjerker!'"
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