Jessica Simpson’s name dominated headlines for months in 2009 as critics picked apart everything from her weight to her romantic relationships.
The onslaught of attention was so extreme, Simpson said on Wednesday’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she couldn’t escape it.
“The judgment of people. … Those voices are sometimes in my head when I fall asleep,” the singer said. Even when she’s walking through an airport, she isn’t free from people’s opinions, she said.
“I was going through security getting a pat down, and the woman goes, ‘Oh, you’re really not that big,’ ” Simpson recalled. “I walk away from a moment like that thinking that people really think that I’m 245 pounds.”
But the numbers on her scale haven’t been her only public embarrassment. Simpson’s romantic life also became fodder for the media after former boyfriend John Mayer told Playboy magazine that having sex with her was like being exposed to “sexual napalm.”
“I couldn’t read the John Mayer article,” Simpson said. “I heard about it and I saw some of the clips. I tried to read it, and I was so disappointed in him … it made me so sad. It was so discouraging, because that’s not the John I knew.”
While Simpson doesn’t want people to know the intimate details of her personal life, she admits it could’ve been a lot worse. “My phone is ringing off the hook, I must say,” she laughed.
All jokes aside, Simpson said she did feel betrayed by her ex-boyfriend, whom she dated on and off for two years, and has yet to accept his apology.
“I don’t resent him,” she said, “but I’m just going to let that part of my life go.”
Yet of all the events in the past few years that have affected Simpson, the now infamous pair of “mom jeans” she wore while performing at a chili cook-off in January 2009 have taken the greatest toll.
“The sad part about it is that when everything came out, I didn’t want to sit down and talk to anyone about it because I felt guilty,” she said. “I felt like if people look at me and they’re a size bigger, they think they’re fat because of what the media was saying. I didn’t want to feed into it.”
Now, Simpson said she’s found self-acceptance. “I’m comfortable with me. I love my curves. I’m not ever going to be a size 0 and weigh 90 pounds,” she said. Simpson dropped weight for her 2005 film, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” but insisted it was just for a role.
The constant chatter about her dress size was part of the inspiration for Simpson’s VH1 show, “The Price of Beauty,” in which she visits seven countries to learn the lengths that women go to for beauty.
Cameras follow Simpson — accompanied by friends Ken Paves, a celebrity hairstylist, and CaCee Cobb — as she tries a flesh-eating fish pedicure in Japan and a detoxifying drink made from cow urine in India.
Simpson says filming the show has given her a new outlook on what it means to feel beautiful.
“No one else can define beauty but me,” she said. “Nobody’s words, nobody’s compliments, nobody’s love — it’s all what I have within myself. I finally relaxed, and I don’t care what people have to say about my weight. I think I look great.”