I feel like you find your calling authentically when you realize it doesn't fit the grand heroic dreams you have for yourself, and I'm pretty sure that my calling is to be a clown.
Sarah's turn to do a tag line. OK, welcome to your wrong about where sometimes one woman gets out of the basement.
Oh, that's good. Is that too depressing?
That's good, because I'm thinking of Michelle remembers and how like a deep dive was this long book about this woman who in my opinion, kind of didn't get out of her basement. And my hope is that Jessica is going to get out of the basement, and I'm very excited for that. I'm Michael Hobbs. I'm a reporter for the Huffington Post. I'm Sarah Marshall.
I'm working on a book about the Satanic Panic, and we're on Patreon and People and lots of other ways for you to support us.
If you look in the description and things are even weirder now than they have been in quarantine.
And so, as always, don't feel obligated. And if you want to not support us and support something else, we get it.
Yeah, like maybe there are causes that seem more worthy than like to white people sitting in a closet talking about pop stars.
It's possible. It's possible. And today, yes, you're talking about the denominate word, which I'm pronouncing perfectly of the Jessica Simpson story.
I can't wait because times are so weird. I am like emotional powder keg right now. It's very comforting to be recording a podcast with you where we just talk about trashmen for like three hours.
But this is this is our happy place.
And it makes me feel really good to be spending a Sunday morning doing this with you. Me too. And listeners, maybe this is also your comfort zone that is unwelcome. And the closet I am sitting in is very small, but in a more emotional realm. You are all here with me and you all have large stuffed trout to be hugging as I am going right now.
So, Sarah, do you want to catch us up? Where did we leave Jessica? Where was Jessica last time we left her?
I feel like we like left her in Wal-Mart. And you're like, who had Jessica last?
OK, with the last time we saw Jessica, she had ended her marriage with Nick.
She is independent for the first time in her life. Got a place to live. She's moved out of the gigantic newlywed's house. And we've heard that she's dating a lot because she's never also, like, never been single before.
Yeah. And that's my image of where we have left her. Yes.
And because we are going to spend a lot of this episode talking about him, I thought we would start off with John Mayer. Are you aware of this person?
Oh, my God. OK, so let me tell you about John Mayer. Yeah. What's your relationship with Mr Mann?
My relationship with John Mayer is confined to the moment in 2001 when your body is a wonderland. Was on the radio every five minutes. Yes. Oh, my God. And I will say with a feeling of regret and acceptance of my thirteen year old self that I really liked that song. Yeah, I thought it was pretty good. I thought it was cool. I wanted someone to say positive things about my body.
And I feel like this is actually is getting us back to what John Mayer was in 2001, because I feel like he was like a sensitive boy.
Yeah. He was like playing an acoustic guitar in a way that wasn't synonymous with douchiness maybe. Yeah. To the degree that it would become because of him, it was a more innocent time.
Guess we're like men with guitars.
Are our friends in all in all circumstances anyway.
Yeah, I had a very positive response to him and so did America. Yeah.
And I, I think he was also kind of crashworthy for middle school girls because he had I mean he was very he was, he had like a smooth face, you know, he just looked it was hard to tell what age he was, but it's really old.
And yet he seemed like a grown up. He did look like a kid from like a baby food commercial.
Yeah. But also what was also interesting about him was that he he did have this kind of music you hear at Starbucks quality, but he also did it with this kind of in the street cred. He managed to maintain that idea of like I'm an authentic indie dude, even while selling, like, great records.
The early 2000s were like a time when, like, it just it's impossible to overstate how big of a deal Garden State was like that. They took over my sophomore year of high school that was new.
You know, the idea that that men could express emotions at all I think was very exciting. And then, you know, we realized maybe that we had hoisted up as sterling example, the kind of masculinity we wanted guys who like maybe had only figured out a couple of things.
Yeah, I mean, I said many dumb things in the early 2000s, but I still distinctly remember referring to the Garden State as generation defining it.
It's by. The dumbest thing I've ever said was like you were wrong, it's just that our generation had so little good stuff to define it. It's like, what did we have? We had Garden State in the Iraq war.
I think we should all watch Garden State, especially if we used to, like, love it and be deeply moved by it and just like offer love to the part of ourselves that that could not imagine a deeper film. I know.
But I mean, I think this is a good transition into what we're going to talk about, because we're going to first meet John Mayer in 2010.
And this is really the beginning of the end of like the indie boy darling, I think.
So what happens in 2010 is John Mayer gives two interviews back to back, one to Rolling Stone and one to Playboy, where he I mean, there had been rumors that he was kind of a dickhead for a long time, like paparazzi, tabloid type rumors, but they hadn't really gone mainstream.
And then this is a long quote, but I'm going to read you the whole thing.
This is from the Rolling Stone interview where they're asking him about sort of what it's like being famous and what it's like dating as a famous person, because he's ended up in the tabloids quite a bit because he had been dating Jennifer Aniston.
Oh, wow. And he says, all I want to do now is fuck the girls I've already fucked because I can't fathom explaining myself to somebody who can't believe I'd be interested in them.
And they're going, but you're John Mayer. So I'm going backwards to move forwards. I'm too freaked out to meet anybody else. What do you think he says? Do you think it's going to take meeting somebody who I admire more than I admire myself?
But isn't it also about a beautiful vagina? Aren't we talking about a matrix of a couple of different things here?
You need to be able to go toe to toe with you intellectually, but don't they also have to have a vagina that you could pitch a tent on and just camp out for like a weekend? Doesn't that have to be there to the Joshua Tree of Vaginas?
That's a weird I mean, I appreciate his desire to apparently be shrunken down and tiny and, like, living on someone's bikini area.
But so, OK, my main takeaway from this is that he's doing the thing that it is always, like, fascinating when celebrities do where he is treating an interview like a free association therapy session.
This is where it gets so much worse. Just wait. This is from a Playboy interview where he uses the N-word.
So one of the things they ask him about, like sort of there's these rumors that you're kind of a douche bag, like, would you consider yourself a douche bag?
And so he says, I come on very strong. I'm very I'm just very V.R. y and if you can't handle very, then I'm a douchebag. But I think the world needs a little very that's why black people love me. The interviewer goes because you're very. And John Mayer says, someone asked me the other day, what does it feel like now to have a hood pass? And by the way, it's sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a N-word pass.
Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass?
So it's like he's using the N-word in a sentence about how he can't use the N-word. You're right.
It's like because if I really like it, black people. Really. Yeah, I could say it.
I am fascinated by also the fact that, like white people are obsessed with finding loopholes that let them use the N-word. Like I am actually convinced that this explains the bulk of Quentin Tarantino's career.
Like, no, but I'm I have to be special in some way, though, right. Like, I can find a way.
I also think this is like the apogee of late 2000s, edgy humor. Remember when it was like, I'm different and like all sort of say racist stuff, but like I'm satirizing racism.
I mean, this is when South Park was considered like the peak of social commentary. You know, it was a different time.
I've been an interviewer interviewing someone who's, like, pretty prominent and they say something outrageous and like the two things as a journalist that you want to do. And that situation is, first of all, don't let them know how bananas the thing they just said was because then you stop and secondly, get themselves to dig deeper. So, yes, the interviewer immediately, I guess, because it's Playboy immediately switches and says, do black women throw themselves at you?
Like, don't don't just get it back. What black people are going to talk about black women specifically.
If I were the interviewer, I go, go on. Yes, but then this is really bad.
So here's the quote. I don't think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. Oh, I've got a Benetton heart and a fucking David Duke cock.
Oh, my God.
I know. I know. OK, and also, like, for people who don't know and I might not actually be one hundred percent sure, but David Duke is like the leader of the Ku Klux Klan or something like that. Yes. Why would you ruin your penis forever.
Yeah, forever. One, right? I mean, it's it just doesn't seem like he's imagining repercussions for any of us. And I know I don't know how he got that idea, but then again, like, it's not like this tanked his career or anyone really remembers it that well. So maybe there weren't any.
I mean, what's interesting is I think the discourse around all of the things that he's talking about have changed so much since then.
Like even in 10 years, there's been a huge social change in the way that we talk about race publicly.
And so you could say, like, wow, things were so different back in 2010. People could just like, say the N-word. And it wasn't that big of a deal, but it was actually a big deal. Like he disappears from the face of the planet for like two years.
Yeah. What happened? Like, how did people like what are the reactions to the reactions were really negative.
Like this was a huge news story. Like it got written up a New York Times. It got written up everywhere. He apologized. He apologized on stage. He apologized in the press. And then he basically just like disappeared. He put out two albums in the following two years like he did no press for them. He's just like, here's an album.
But it did thank him, actually. Yes, apparently. OK, but so we are now going to rewind to where he becomes a fixture in Jessica's life.
OK, so as you mentioned, Jessica is newly single. She has a new house. Her career is actually going really well now that she got really good sales of her last album.
As a result of her being so famous for being newlyweds, she's gotten more power at the record company and she started writing her own songs. Nice.
She eventually puts out an album where she writes 11 of the 13 songs. She's also started her clothing line, which I feel like with celebrities.
Do you think like whatever she licensed her name to, like some sweatshirts, like not a big deal, but she's like running the company and she's day to day extremely involved.
So as she mentioned the first chapter, this eventually becomes a billion dollar clothing company.
I feel like having heard what she's gone through so far, I'm like, yeah, like Jessica Simpson, having control of clothes seems like a very meaningful thing.
Yeah, the clothes used to be in charge of her and now. Yes, tables turned.
Oh, that's a nice way to put it. Thank you.
And so this is when she meets John Mayer in 2006. She had actually met him at various party L.A. things, but she was still married to Nick. And I guess Nick just like clocked John Mayer immediately and was like, fuck that dude. Like with no information game recognizes game.
He's like one of those people that, like, dogs bark at for no reason.
But then once Nick is out of the picture, John apparently starts emailing her and then they get into this longer and more intense correspondence and apparently gets like quite intimate, quite fast. She says he asked why I would want to be famous as a wife. He said I was so much more than what the world perceived me to be.
So he sort of lifting her up and like, you know, you're seen as a simplistic person. But I know you're more complicated.
I know you're smarter. I know you're more interesting than this.
She says in the summer of 2006, this is when she met him. I was still dating and using those relationships to figure out who I was. There were a few guys with big hearts and strong personalities, and I found myself changing to suit them. John wasn't having it. He told me he wanted to have all of me or nothing. He assured me he didn't want to make me into anybody else.
So what we're seeing here is like he's kind of nagging her, right, because he's saying, like, you're so much more than this. But implicit in that is kind of like, well, the music that I've heard from you isn't really you. And like the public facing self, you're better than that. Right. So he's already setting the standard for her that she hasn't reached.
And I know what the real issue is. Yes, inexplicably. So she kind of falls for this and they start dating each other totally in secret, like no paparazzi. There's like they'll sneaking into hotel rooms and like he'll like wear a hoodie and come in the back door of a hotel. They do this whole subterfuge thing for months.
It'll be very fun if you're used to your marriage being a TV show. Totally. This is also the period. Remember friend Casey, who like is her moral center last episode. Yes, she quits. She stops working for Jessica because she thinks that John Mayer is bad news.
She's like, I don't like this guy. He doesn't seem like he actually like likes you that much.
And then what becomes very clear, the pattern in her relationship with John is he's like weirdly obsessed with her.
You know, Jessica used to do those proactive commercials, like on late night TV.
Oh, my God, yes. I loved those Proactiv commercials.
Yes, I remember this very well because she was like, here I am on tour and I'm like stressed and not eating fast food. And that was bad for my breakouts. And proactive has been so helpful. Yeah. And that was maybe like my first moment of feeling, like she was a real girl. You were. And I really like that she like allowed there to be pictures of her with acne on her face. Yeah. And was like it's stressful to be a pop star.
Yeah. Yes. I love those Proactiv commercials. And so did John Mayer. That's sort of how he had discovered her and had gotten like weirdly obsessed with her.
OK, so John Mayer and I were like both working on this project of ours and our individual bedrooms that was kind of buried. Yeah. And so he starts, like, advising her on which clothes to wear. He'll take her shopping and be like, you should have this out. Like this is more you than this other outfit.
I don't think that someone you're having sex with should be in charge of your outfits like that. Seems like crossing the streams.
This is what she says. The connection was so strong that he made me feel seductive and he spoke about sex and my body in a way that made me feel powerful, at least physically. His focus on me was the opposite of my marriage.
I think this is like extremely typical that after a long relationship, you end up dating somebody who is the exact opposite of it.
And like that's what's appealing and that's how you kind of triangulate what you actually want. Yeah. And so she says, I would get up to go to the bathroom and John would ask, where are you going? Well, I was married. My ex-husband couldn't be bothered to figure out what city I was in. It felt safe to be so desired.
I like that she put this in here because it shows how much self-deception she was going through at the time because he's so obsessed with her.
She says, I knew John would never cheat on me and that confidence was a new feeling for me.
Well, it's very typical, this idea that, like, this guy's really into me after like a really short period of time. So, like, he must not be capable of ever hurting me.
But there isn't, like, the next leap of like if he's this obsessed with me after two weeks, who else has he been obsessed with after two weeks or like what will happen when I'm not the shiny new contest, you know, and after he's like taken down his tent and the campsite and she mentions she's later telling a therapist about this.
She's like, this is the form that our love took, blah, blah, blah. And then the therapist is like, you realize that's not love, right? That's obsession. Like, loving somebody is mutual. It's not just like putting them on a pedestal and not dealing with the person that they actually are and getting stressed when they go to the bathroom.
And so she talks about how almost immediately she's just constantly falling short that like he's he's building up this perfect version of Jessica Simpson, basically the one that he's seen on TV, right where she's wearing makeup. The lighting is perfect. She's this, like, perfect sexual fantasy for every American male.
She's irresistible, you might say.
Yes. And he's comparing that to the reality of her. This is what she says. Where I felt insecure in the beginning was that I always felt I was falling short of the potential he saw in me. I constantly worry that I wasn't smart enough for him. He was so clever and treated conversation like a friendly competition that he had to win.
OK, has Sean been reading the pick up artist at all? I know, I know. Like this.
He was like an ostentatious hat at times and she talked about how his mouth goes as fast as his brain.
He's very smart, he's very insightful, he's very funny. And she says, when I tried to leap in and say something to add to the dialogue he was having with himself, he would challenge what I said because that's how he saw you take a conversation.
Sometimes he wouldn't let go of questioning why I thought a certain way until it had me second guessing myself. I'd get quiet, take another sip of alcohol and another, and wonder why I couldn't just sit on the couch with him without getting so anxious.
So this is also this thing of like conversation as like sparring. Yeah. And that when somebody says something, you're supposed to sort of dissect it. Like at one point she brings up Jesus and her faith and he's like, well, why do you believe in the Bible?
Who wrote the book? Oh my God. Is it from.
And it's like all those arguments have been done. If we all know the arguments for and against, like, literal religious faith. Yes.
Well, it feels like this worldview where and this reminds me of like people who love to debate. And I feel this is a very, like adolescent male kind of a thing and kind of like Ben Shapiro, like we're like, I'm going to debate you and I'm going to grind down your arguments and I'm going to say as many things as possible. Yeah. And overwhelm you and win. And it's like, OK, you can do that. That's it's your life.
But like, could conversation be more constructive if we didn't view it as a zero sum game? Right. And also, it's stressful to be in a relationship with someone who's acting like you're deciding who should be vice president.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And it's also it's placing the moral value of truth above the moral value of kindness and grace.
Yeah. That's you're you're so smart. I like you.
I mean, I feel strongly about this because I was one of these people for much of my life. So, like, this shit rubs me the wrong way because I see myself in it.
Were you Jessica or were you John Mayer? I was John. I also was definitely once John Mayer. Yes. That was not a cool time.
I actually remember I was riding a train in Spain and I heard people speak English in the sort of seat next to me. They were American. I was American. So we ended up chatting. This is like a weirdly indelible memory for me. After like an hour, one of the people was talking about, like, I don't eat octopus. It's a smart animal and they're cute and so I don't eat octopus. And then I did my, like, reply guy thing of like.
Well, by that logic, there's other animals, like pigs are also intelligent and like other animals have those features. And there was like this long pause and he goes, everybody gets to have one dumb thing.
It should not. But it was like this huge revelation to me that you can just, like, let people have their things and not try to take it away from people. Like, who fucking cares if this guy doesn't eat octopus, right?
Like, why is life going to be better if they eat octopus? Exactly. Yeah. And also, like, I think it reflects our own insecurity, because if I'm going through life, being like all of my opinions and beliefs are logical and they're based on a reasonable assessment of facts, it's like, OK, that's not true because I'm a human. And not a computer that plays Jeopardy, but if I want deeply to believe that about myself, then I can also try and impose that on others.
Yeah, yeah. And I also think it's really important that Jessica says he's making her anxious, which implies that it's not like I mean, healthy debate is part of any relationship, but the fact that it's sounding to her like this is everything she says.
And if you're stressed to hazard an opinion because you're going to get grilled about it. And so you're like, I just won't talk about it because I don't have the energy for that. Right, exactly.
And as if every statement you make has to be like a fucking good defense. Well, what evidence of you marshaled in support of that?
Like, sometimes you just want to say stuff when you're at home. Yes. So, yeah, this is their first of many breakups where after a couple of months, someone on her team leaks the relationship to the tabloids.
John Mayer, like however famous he was, he wasn't as much of a paparazzi darling. And then all of a sudden overnight, he's he's in the orbit of Jessica Simpson, who has these paparazzi everywhere. And it's like, oh, I guess John Mayer's on our radar. So they start following him to his house.
He's become part of the Jessica Simpson cinematic universe. So he has to be tracked now.
And so it becomes this huge inconvenience for him. What's also really interesting is that him being linked to Jessica Simpson publicly remember, this is still 2006, back when there's like a big divide between pop music and, like, indie credibility.
Oh, I remember this. This was kind of like when John Cusack and Meg Ryan were dating. It was like what you people from like adjoining Hollywood principalities that we think of as touching but not intersecting and so interesting.
I think a lot of his anger is partly because, like, he's now associated with this pop star who's like, very uncool, like Jessica Simpson was on a reality show. Right. She's mostly known for this Chicken of the Sea thing. Yeah. And so partly because he's irritated by the paparazzi thing, partly because he's losing his street cred. He breaks up with her in an email.
Oh, sure, John. Come on. If you're going to be all obsessed with someone, at least break up to her face.
But then what begins now is a pattern of him breaking up with her by email and then seeing her in the press. Oh, my God.
And it's like it boosts her credibility or it reminds him how attractive he is to her. And then he'll reach out and be like, oh, are you on the Today Show yesterday?
I just want to say I've been thinking about you and like, here's a song kind of reminds me of you.
Oh, Jessica, Jessica, I hate this.
It's intense there on and it's intense when they're off. So when they're dating, she says he, like, takes photographs of her constantly.
He's like always like kind of looking at and touching her body and being like, I love your your pelvis and I love your elbows and I love your wrist and like, just rhapsodic.
I don't like this. And then when they're not together, he's like grilling her of like, well, were there men at that party that you were at and like, wasn't this a guy that you dated before?
And do you know him? How do you know him? She says when he tapped me dry, he looked at me like I was withholding something. He would tell me that my true self was so much greater than the person I was settling on being like there was some great woman inside of me waiting to come out and I had to hurry up and find her because he wanted to love that woman, not me.
You know, that really sucks because it's like it can feel like something positive. It can feel like someone's like, I just want you to be your best self and to grow and to not be this, like, phony thing that you're pretending to be. And you're like, I might be the phony thing. Like, I know you really shouldn't date people if you're going in and you're like, this person has good bones, but they're a fixer upper body.
So, you know, I got this load bearing wall, but it's going to be good.
And so she says because, you know, this is only her, what, second, third serious relationship and the only one that she hasn't started as a literal teenager.
And so she's not really seeing the just like wall of red flags like the red sky above this relationship.
I don't really I have never loved or identified with Jessica Simpson more than I do at this moment. I'm just like, I'm there. I got it.
I see it. I get it so hard.
Sometimes you see all the red flags and you're like, oh, this is fun. It's like a theme.
And so in one of her emails to him, she says, I promise to be myself as I search to become the woman you already see.
No. Oh, I don't like that. This is like if you're dating a cult leader, it's bad.
So they're breaking up and getting back together. A lot of their relationship takes place, it seems like over like long text message fights and like long email fights.
That's really bad.
One of the things, the patterns that emerges and this is also it's so petty, but it's so. Is it Hill like, I guess, correct her emails or tell her that she's like a bad writer or not expressing yourself?
Well, so she starts sending them to friends and family to have them fucking proofread her e-mail before she sends them to him because he's going to, like, give her shit because of like having the comma inside the quote or whatever.
That sucks. I think this is also very typical and very sad that because she's in this relationship, that is just a constant tsunami of stress and anxiety, like just being around this person. She's getting like a fight or flight response. She starts using alcohol to mask her anxiety because she's so nervous about being around him that, like, drinking more is the way to deal with it. And so eventually he starts giving her Xanax because he notices how much she's drinking and he's like, oh, don't worry about it.
Xanax does the same thing, but like, it's easier to manage and people can smell it on your breath.
It's really good.
We're going to take a slight detour now. Are you aware of Taylor Swift, a young woman named Taylor Swift?
I am aware. I am aware of Miss Taylor Swift, yes. Are you aware that she also dated John Mayer?
Yes, I am aware that she dated John Mayer. And I am aware that these stone cold BOQ we are never, ever getting back together is specifically about.
Oh, see, I only thought she wrote one song about him, Dear John, which I am now going to read to you.
OK, yeah. So here's the lyrics. Long were the nights when my days once revolved around you, counting my footsteps, praying the floor won't fall through again. My mother accused me of losing my mind, but I swore I was fine. You paint me a blue sky and go back and turn it to rain. And I lived in your chess game, but you changed the rules every day. That's great.
So John Mayer, of course, is asked about Dear John, and so he says that it humiliated him and that he's really mad about it. And so this is what he says. I will say as a songwriter that I think it's kind of chief songwriting.
Oh, my gosh. John Mayer time say your feelings are hurt and for words. And I know she's the biggest thing in the world and I'm not trying to sink anybody's ship, but I think it's abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go wait till he gets a load of this, huh?
I don't think she was doing that.
Also, as someone who's, like all of his songs are like working through his own issues with relationships to be like, you know, it's pretty rude to write songs about real people.
It's like, how many of your songs about Jennifer Aniston like, should we go through the catalog? Some.
I think we have this thing of wanting to rob women of their creativity by being like, well, she's just trying to get back at her ex, right? It's like, so does it matter if, like, you know, if that is some of the motivation potentially, like if it results in, like, a beautiful pop song that like millions of people can enjoy, like, is it just that art is intense like John Mayer do?
So back to Jessica and John. This relationship has many rock bottoms, but the bottom is probably what is about to happen next.
So there is some sort of tribute to Dolly Parton at the Kennedy Center.
You know, they do these things like Kennedy Center Honors. Yes.
Or they get like a bunch of artists and they all sing like a different Dolly Parton song.
And Dolly Parton is there and she's clapping.
And it's this thing like Dolly Parton is dope. Here's like a celebration of her doneness, right? Yeah.
What could go wrong in this festival of positivity?
So Jessica is invited. She's supposed to sing nine to five. Oh, that's so great. I know. Like the best karaoke song.
Yes. So the day of this thing, she's there. It's like 11:00 a.m. There's like gown fittings and rehearsals and lighting and all this kind of stuff. She has to be there early. And so he breaks up with her by email at 11:00 a.m. that morning, like when she has to. Oh, my God, perform that night.
Just wait until the day after the thing. John Mayer.
And then he does the thing where he then sends her a song. So he breaks up with her and then like an hour later he's like, I just want you to hear this. And it's a fucking Aerosmith song.
Oh, it just begins the cycle where she's like, obsessed, like, what did I do wrong? What is the encoded message in this song? Like, this is not healthy.
Yeah, but it's like she's on her own personal de Vinci Code. And yes, this is the clue that has been given to her.
And so she's basically a mess. She shows up at the Kennedy Center. One of the first things she sees is Shania Twain, who's like doing vocal warm ups and stuff. And she notices that Shania Twain seems nervous, like she's got stage fright because like Dolly Parton is going to be there. You're singing a Dolly Parton song in front of Dolly Parton. Yeah.
And so, Jessica, he's like, if Shania Twain is nervous, how big of a deal is this? And so this kind of gets into her head.
And at one point, her mom says you need not to be drinking right now because she's never gone on. Age drunk before, and one of the ways that she copes with all of this anxiety and emotional turmoil and professional turmoil is to drink to steady her nerves.
And so she notices that, like by the time it comes to the show, she's like, oh, fuck, I'm kind of drunk. And so she tells herself, like, whatever I've gone on stage with, you know, with a cold or whatever.
And then the adrenaline kicks in and it's fine. So this will probably be fine.
And then right before she goes on stage, John calls her and he's like, Did you get my email? I just like I just want to talk to God.
Like you broke up with her. Just like break up with someone. Yes. And then move on or don't break up with them. Yes. And then keep bothering them. If you're still having a relationship like those are your choices, like you inspired a mini wave of great pop songs about breaking up with you for a reason.
I mean, this is basically what she tells him.
She's like, if you're going to break up with me, break up with me, but don't, like, break up with me and then send a fucking song to decipher and then call me to, like, talk about it.
You were negatively affecting Dolly Parton right now, like, do you want that?
And so in the midst of this, she goes on stage, she gets through kind of gets through the first verse, and then she just starts like stumbling over it. And in the middle of nine to five, she just stops. Oh, man.
There's thousands of people there. The fucking president is there.
The cameras are there. And she just stops and there's a song and she says, I'm sorry, it's an honor to be here, but this song is too good for me. I'm too nervous.
And she just walks off the stage that it's like the most Shizuko way to break off a performance.
It's like the opposite of a neg. She's like totally complimenting Dolly Parton as she's like running away, like, too good. Yeah. Wow.
So she goes backstage, the producer says this isn't live, so afterwards you can rerecord it, we'll fake it and put in inserts of the audience and like audience sounds and like no one has to know.
So, like, this is still fixable. So as she's backstage, Dolly Parton comes down and Jessica is like, mortified. Like I fucked up your song in front of you. You're like taking time away from this performance to come down and see me.
And so the first thing Dolly Parton says is, so I hear you're going to sing that song again. Before you do, I just want you to know that I wrote that damn song and even I don't remember the words.
Oh, so she's like, it happens. You're having a bad day.
I love this trend of like Jessica ending up and these horrible relationships and then, like, receiving these momentary, like, shining words of wisdom from like country legends. I know.
And then she gets back on the stage. The band is there, the audience is gone. It's just her. And she still can't do it. She's too drunk. She's too emotional. She's too mixed up.
She's been broken up with John Mayer too many times.
And so this performance airs and they just like she's just not on it. So, like, nobody really knows about this, although it does leak to the tabloids.
The footage of this incident is online because I think it like aired on Canadian TV or like it aired live on some backstage feed, something something I could not watch it.
I got thirty seconds into it. It's really painful to watch. She stumbles. She's got her hand over her stomach and sort of you can see her hand shaking and she's holding the mic and it just sucks. It just sucks to watch and couldn't watch it.
And then she cuts to like a couple months later and she's just back with John again.
I feel like the whole like the myth of the rock bottom depends on this idea that, like, things get so bad. And then, like, I had this epiphany and I was done. But it's like she has the epiphany.
But then she falls back into her old patterns, which is a very typical thing that people do.
And then this is this is just a rich text. We went to Sonis Grammy after party together, and I was so happy he posed for pictures with me because Grammy night is like the prom in our industry. He was nominated for five awards and one two. He broke up with me that night at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.
I can't even recall why.
I just remember knocking on his hotel room door and begging until he finally took me back in the middle of the night. Oh, my God.
Yeah. I mean, I feel like there's there's something that to me seems very understandable about being drawn to a relationship with someone who, like, intermittently accepts or rejects, you know, because like that can be a way of proving to yourself that, like, you don't deserve to be fully accepted. You aren't worthy. You are good enough to sing Dolly Parton songs. The siren song of bad relationships is really hard to not hear.
Yeah, there is. I mean, there is this really addictive quality to relationships like this in ways that like I don't I don't understand even as I've been in those relationships, like.
I have been Jessica before, but I have no additional insight into the pattern that is going on.
I feel like the natural conclusion to the story is because to all of us standing up and like a Spartacus radio rebel moment and being like, I'm Jessica Simpson, you know, like I mean, she is offering herself as like, yes, I'm a pop star.
But in my heart of hearts, I am someone who's historically drawn to bad relationships. And what could make her more human, I really don't know.
And so they finally it's actually interesting. They've never done any music together. She has seen it as it's something that her and Nick did together. It was a part of their relationship. It's something that she has very complicated feelings about.
And she just hasn't really suggested it because, like, that's just not a part of herself that she wants to share with John.
And maybe it's the only part of herself that remains sovereign rights relationship.
But then he starts to get jealous of that. And it's like, well, why did you do it with Nick and not with me? And so he suggests that they make a sort of remix like she's written this song that's on one of her albums.
But he wants to like, well, let's do it again and all produce it and I'll sing on it.
I don't feel good about this. My oh, I he's got a bad feeling about this. And so they get into the studio and she's too nervous to sing in front of him.
And then he of course starts kind of like yelling at her like, well why can't you do this? Like we've been planning this.
And so eventually she just like runs out and goes back to the hotel room and he comes back to their hotel room like hours later and they just never talk about it.
Wow. And do they ever try and do it again or not? Like, move on? They just move on.
I'm excited for Jessica to try dating a non musician, I got to say.
Oh, well, here we go. This you're going to like this. So after this event, John breaks up with her again.
He doesn't say it's because of the studio thing, but it's like I mean, who knows? Who cares? Like, he breaks up again by email. So she starts dating a guy named Tony Romo, who was a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
And so apparently he, like, run into her dad at some event or something and had said like, hey, you know, like I've always been really interested in your daughter. Like, let me know if you could ever introduce us. And her dad had brought it up to her. And she says she doesn't want to date people that are outside the music industry. She says, I believed I could only date people who could relate to me because they were in the business, which I guess was my code for.
I like emotional torture and fixing dark people like Jessica.
She's been to therapy at this point and like she's very insecure about these patterns. Yeah. And so this is actually quite cute.
She's at home. She's at her dad's place. They're watching football. It's Sunday and I guess it's the Cowboys playing. And after the game, you know, they're like, how'd you do in the game? Like, he's sort of after game sweaty interviews that they do with sports people. And so Tony Romo is being interviewed after this game. And so the interviewer asked him, who's your dream girl? And apparently he just like looks at the camera and he's just like Jessica Simpson.
And Jessica is like, holy shit. And the bat signal lights up the crowd.
And so, you know, they go out to dinner or whatever, they start dating. He is a Christian guy. He says the Lord's Prayer before he goes to bed every night, which is like good.
She's has, like, similar values to her. It doesn't really talk her out of her religion. Yes.
This is also this is we've had many surreal moments in the series, but this is by far one of the weirdest.
Shortly after they announced that they're dating, she goes to one of his games. So she shows up and like his jersey, but it's pink and she's like in the luxury box or whatever. And apparently he plays the worst game of his life. And then the Jumbotron cuts to her toward the end of the game and everybody starts chanting, send Jessica home, send Jessica home, because they think she's a bad omen.
They think she's the reason he's having such a bad game.
I mean, sports, dude, I feel like that's like the superstition that, like, women are bad luck on boats, I guess.
Yeah. Apparently there's like a week's long debate, unlike radio and stuff about should Jessica be coming to the games and how much should we blame Jessica for, like ruining her boyfriend's football performance?
Couldn't he just, like, play a bad game once in his life? No. And so she basically stops going to his games because it's so controversial.
There's also something really fucking funny that John Mayer, like, writes a blog post defending her.
Of course, he wrote a blog post. Yeah.
He's like she loves Texas. She loves football. She's not the problem. And it's like, just shut the fuck up. Just under this watch.
Wow. He's like, I think Jessica Simpson, expert, I have to weigh in on this national conversation.
And so other than not going to his games, it's actually like a relatively good relationship at this point. And one of the cutest details is that he is so into her music that. Like when she has friends over, he'll do the thing where he'll play her songs in the background and he'll be like, Everybody, shut up, shut up.
This is the good part. Makes everybody listen to them just like, nice.
Yes. It just makes me happy. Jessica deserves a guy who's who's, you know, enthusiastically supportive of her. That's a good thing.
So this is also the time when she actually starts working with Dolly Parton and she puts out a country western album.
Oh, I didn't even know that. Me neither. It was apparently no one on the country charts.
Well, which makes sense because for what they discussed, like, that's what she's kind of wanted to do this entire time.
I mean, this is part of the transformation of her making music that she wants to make, like her clothing company is doing well at this point. Her last album has done well. She has enough clout that she can just be like, I want to make a country album, so I'm going to make one. And so she becomes like a modest star on the country circuit. She starts opening for Rascal Flatts on his tour and she's like a working musician again and she loves it.
That's so great.
And this is by far the most outrageous detail. So at this time, she starts to get hints you're not going to believe this, that John Mayer is hanging out with her parents.
How do your parents feel about him? Because they don't like him when they were dating. Right.
So they actually really like him. They say he starts coming over because Ashlee Simpson is dating Pete Wentz, who's in fall out boy. And he's friends with John. Right. But then he just apparently just like starts showing up.
And so she talks to her parents. She's like, it's kind of weird that you're hanging out with my ex while I'm dating someone else. And they're like he comes over and like he sits by the sort of fire pit at night and he plays songs for us. And we all sing what it's kind of nice. And he comes over and we get like a live John Mayer performance like two nights a week.
That's so weird. So weird.
I mean, to be fair to John Mayer, that is innovative, I guess, because I have never heard of someone trying to get back into their exes good graces by, like, playing acoustic guitar for their parents every night.
It's such a weird move, dude. But she also she has a rule about this that she's completely transparent about this with Tony because she doesn't want to lie to Tony. And so he will still email her sometimes. And she's like, hey, Tony, look at this weird email I just got from my ex. Like, she doesn't want to create the situation where it feels to Tony like she's lying to him. Yeah, good.
But to one of the really interesting things, is she still sort of touring, but she's touring on like the country circuit. So she's a public figure at this time for, like, country music people. But she's you know, she's on a reality show. She's not putting up pop albums. So for most of the country, she's kind of disappeared. It's like whatever happened to Jessica Simpson.
And it's been a while since, like, she's done things that like the general population is really paying attention to. So she talks about she's like touring things.
And one of their shows is that a chili cook off like a state fair in Pembroke Pines, Florida. And so she goes to this event, she goes on stage. She has this, like, great performance.
The audience is loving it and she's feeling like a bit of a comeback. Like I'm singing to crowd that really like me. I finally found a form of music and a style that suits me and where I'm really appreciated. And after this performance, let me just send you these are the headlines that show up in the press. I I know Jessica Simpson, balloons and weight, that is the headline I am seeing, it's bad.
Can you read the first paragraph?
Oh, God. OK. Jessica Simpson is one star not afraid to supersize her meals.
Jessica Simpson is one star not afraid to supersize her meals after showing she's a woman at a country music gig in Florida.
The one time Britney Spears look alike stunned her male admirers as she stepped out on stage to show she's ditched her one time. Thirty six, twenty four, thirty six figure for a new set of curves. It's so weird. It makes it sound like she threw her body dude in like a fit of condo cleaning and then bought a new one.
This is also I hate this framing because what you're doing is you're you're making fun of somebody's appearance. Right? This is eighth grade shit, but you're making it seem like you're giving her all the agency like she has decided to be a larger person now by, like, eating super sized McDonald's meals, obviously. So it's like you're trying to absolve yourself of moral responsibility.
Also, I guess, like all of the language is weird in so many ways. It's like she's all woman now and it's like what we should be before.
Also fuck this photo caption. Yeah.
So the caption is they have two pictures of her side by side and there's one of her performing in Florida looking amazing, like wearing great high waisted jeans and a big leopard print belt and a tank top and then next to it as her and a tiny pair of shorts, you know, just like the the like railfan Jessica that we recognize from Newlywed's. And the caption is proud. Jessica shows off her curves left in her slim heyday, her slim heyday.
Oh, my God. It's like, yeah, métro that code EUC.
You know what her heyday was? I cannot fathom.
Like like if you have kind of pulled yourself out. Yeah. Of, you know, this terrible, dangerous relationship with your body. And imagine if you're able to cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself and then the media weighs in.
And this is I mean, we're not like that much better now, but we were really bad then. So The New York Post gives her the nickname Jumbo Jessica.
And apparently fashion magazines are running spreads about how not to look like her, to not have a black tie, to not have, quote unquote, mommy wars. She becomes like a fashion.
Don't. Oh, my God. And so she decides not to sort of do the apology to her about her weight or like address it.
This is what she says. I decided I wouldn't tell anyone that the jeans were a size 25 waist, which is an American for I wouldn't go on talk shows to say I was 120 pounds when those photos were taken. The fact that I was that skinny and that I was deemed overweight still frightens me. No way was I going to go out there and turn on my sisters by saying, oh, no, you're mistaken. It was the angle and the fit.
I'm actually a size four. Yes. And I like this that she says, what would that do to my young fans who may have been a size bigger or twenty sizes bigger? My publicist, Lauren, got so many requests for photo shoots and sit down interviews to, quote, set the record straight. It seemed like negotiating with a hostage taker. If I disavowed having a regular body, nobody would get hurt except everybody would get hurt. We refused requests, unwilling to play into the game of shaming women.
And so by the standard of celebrities, she's actually pretty good. Yeah. She's like, it's OK to be whatever size you are and I'm not going to defend myself. And she's not like, oh, it's mean to call me fat because I'm really skinny.
She's like, no, don't mock people for their looks and their weight regardless of what they look like. Fuck you. Well, this is like I mean.
Yeah, I mean, just like if you if you take the bait and are like, no, no, no, don't worry, I'm not this thing that you are disproportionately afraid of as a culture, then like you're only strengthening that divide ultimately. Yes.
There's also a pretty cute TSA interaction where she's going through security at the airport and they sort of pull her out, you know, these random screenings, they sort of pat her down and then the person who's doing the pet and recognizes her and it's like, oh, you're Jessica Simpson. She's like, yep. And then this TSA agent is like, you know, you're really not that big. And Jessica says instinctively, she says thanks. And then she walks away and then she's like, wait.
And then she turns back around and she's like, it would be cool if I was though.
Just want to be clear, crystal clear. It would be fine if I was big.
But then what's really interesting about this, and I think this is like a real issue on an intellectual level, she gets that like any size is fine. However, she gets really self-conscious about her body. Yeah. She doesn't go on a crash diet, which she's really, like, proud of. Herself for but she also says, I added a black vest to my costume when I performed, just like my days of performing at church camps as a kid, when my body was continually scrutinized for the potential incitement of sin.
It just makes her self-conscious.
Yeah, there's also this really gross thing where she doesn't lose weight, but people take photos of her paparazzi photos where she looks like she's lost weight. So all of these stories start to appear in the tabloids about how she went on a crash diet and she's lost like 10 pounds in two weeks.
So her weight is like a conspiracy theory. Exactly. Like you just see whatever you want to see.
So then there's these. There's these like before and after photos of her performing in Florida and then like, whatever her getting out of a car at some fashion thing in New York.
And she's exactly the same weight. But like, Jessica stopped eating carbs and she's at her new weight, it's like, no, I'm not I'm not getting into this stuff, but it looks like I am.
The media is still sending exactly the same message. You've been criticized for your weight, therefore, you lost weight. Wow. So in his defense, her boyfriend, Tony, is actually great about this. I should certainly fucking hope so.
I know, like by the standards of Jessica's love life, it's like, OK, great. Like somebody is not a complete asshole. So he's like, I'm attracted to you. You're beautiful. I don't care what anybody else says.
But then he also he also gets really controlling about other things.
So this relationship starts to sour when she starts to realize that like he wants her to be this housewife, just like Nick did.
The other Dallas Cowboys have these wives that, like that's kind of their job is to like look after the house, look after their husband and be there. And then Jessica is running like a two hundred million dollar company. She has a pop career. She also has an acting career at this point.
And he starts to get a little annoyed that she's doing all this independent stuff.
And so one of the weirdest conditions that he puts on this, he says, you know, I want you to have a movie career. I want you to keep acting, but I don't want you to do any movies where you kiss a guy that's a line too far.
And so, I mean, I think this is very interesting about masculinity, that it's not necessarily that he would be jealous, but it's how he would look to other dudes that, like, he would start getting teased by the other guys on the team. They're like, oh, your wife is in like this movie and she's kissing like Luke Wilson or whoever, which is just a weird it's like a weird dynamic.
Well, it's it's showing who's more important to him as part of his social world. And also that that is more important to him than his girlfriend's career. Right.
Because she mentions, OK, I'm like a twenty six twenty seven year old beautiful blonde actress, no kissing. Like, what movies am I going to be doing where there's no love interest?
Yes, this rules out every romantic comedy. This even like action movies will have a kiss. And then what movies can I do, dude?
I mean, the first thing that I thought of was like some kind of an Erin Brockovich thing. And then I was like, even in those movies, you have to have a boyfriend or husband figure who's like, you're helping the disenfranchised too much and there's not enough time for me. So, yes, yeah. There's no options for her. Right.
So she kind of decides to break up with him, but she hasn't sort of like made it happen yet. She's just kind of like in the unhappy thinking about it sort of stage.
And she also finds out that John Mayer is making a more deliberate effort to get her back.
So he's apparently this is part of his pattern. He sees there's a Vanity Fair story about her that has these beautiful photos from Mario Testino. So he gets obsessed with her again and starts like hanging out with her parents more and being like, can you talk to Jessica for me? Like, I just want her to know that I've changed. I'm a lot more mature now.
This is so weird. It's weird, dude.
He also does a thing where at her birthday party, a party at her parent's house, he does a thing where he stands up and is like, click, click, click, click, click and gets everybody to be quiet. And he's like, I just want to say I'm here, Jessica's here. And I just want to ask Jessica, will you take me back?
Don't ask women that in front of people. Oh, my. Do it. I know. Like, I was like literally hostage taking.
It's like the worst I do not like.
But then what is actually really cathartic is that he does this in front of all these people. And I guess she's just like, I have a boyfriend, I'm living in Dallas.
Like this is wildly inappropriate that you would do this.
So no, thank you. But then what's weird? She goes back to Dallas and this is like a rich text.
I'm going to ask you, do not respond to this until I'm finished.
It's two sentences, OK? So much going on in this. OK, ok, OK. On July 9th, the night before my birthday, Tony went through my phone. He saw an email from John to me, something about not being able to get a shower door to work at my parents house.
You can respond, OK? That's so weird and so weird, why why is he e-mailing her? What is this fixation? I know what a horror cracks. Have you turned this poor woman into and I love that he's emailing her about, like, the dumbest shit.
Like, first of all, why are you taking showers at her parents house and why do you think she'll know another shower works and why?
I mean, I kind of am pleased by the sort of the, like, lack of dignity implicit and that level of desperation. Like, I'm more annoyed still.
And then I've also got the additional layer of Tony going through her phone and reading her emails from John, which is like, don't do that, don't do that, don't go through someone's phone.
And then he confronts her. He's like, why? Why is John Mayer showering at your parents house? And she's like, I don't fucking know.
This guy sucks. Like, I like to shower. Like, I haven't even answered this email, but he doesn't believe her.
And then she didn't tell him about John Mayer's weird Clint Clint clink thing at the birthday party because she thought it would be awkward or like for whatever reason, she didn't tell Tony. And so he asks her, like, have you seen John Mayer this week? Yes or no?
And she's like, yes. Which sounds like she's lying. And then he basically blows up at her and breaks up with her.
Oh, my God, that sucks because it's like, no, she's being punished for John Mayer's behavior.
I know. But then also it's good because Tony kind of sucked. Right. And apparently after Tony realizes after like a week, I haven't heard through the grapevine that she's now dating John Mayer. So, like, maybe she wasn't cheating on me with John Mayer. Yeah.
Maybe she was telling the truth about not wanting to get back together with this horrible ex she had that was horrible, this horrible man.
And he then tries to get her back and she's like, no, you checked my email on my phone and you didn't believe me, like you weren't a good person to break up with. And that's pretty revealing of your character. Yeah. So I don't want to get back together with someone who, like, breaks up with someone in that way.
Right. I mean, people do you a favor by showing you how they react to being a little bit of hot water.
And so this is like rock bottom number twelve.
After she sends Tony away permanently, she then drives over to John Mayer's house and she's like, well, he's been pining to get back with me.
And I guess the universe is telling us that it's time for me to give in.
I think that the universe often is telling us to do whatever weird cultural message we have absorbed into our brains, unfortunately. And that might be what the universe says.
And then extremely predictably, she shows up there and she's like, OK, you know, let's give it another shot. And he goes, Huh, I'm not really ready. I don't know if I want to do this.
John Mayer. I know. I'm making the most flamboyant on culo fingers right now, just waving in the air. It's just like just stop.
Just it's funny because it's like I know that people are constantly engaging in behavior where, like, on some level they're like, this is a bad idea. Why am I doing this? And yet they don't stop. Yeah. So, like, it's not like it's surprising when people do that at all, but at the same time, I'm just like. John, do you see, do you see what you're doing.
Yeah. And then this is super fucked up. So he has just come up with a new album. He insists on making her listen to it.
This is like this horrible pattern in her life. Yes. They're listening to the songs.
He's like I wrote this one about, you know, and then she doesn't say this in the book. But I think it's Jennifer Aniston. She's like, you were also dating Jennifer Aniston at the time. How do I know the song isn't about Jennifer Aniston?
He paused and told me he could never find material to write with her. So I'm material to you. Yeah.
And like Jennifer Aniston, she doesn't inspire my music.
I know. It's like it's again, just like the perfect neg, right? It's like you make me want to write music and it's like that's not really a compliment.
It's not. That's about you. Right. It's revealing of a world view where your preferences are like the arbiter of quality.
And so this is again, you know, you have the epiphany. You're like he's only doing this for material. It's absolutely disgusting.
And then she stays with him for three more months. Yeah.
That's like, OK, you know, she realizes what she's doing. She talks about it very insightfully in the book, like I knew it was dumb and bad and I did it anyway.
And then what's really interesting is what actually does it what really breaks them up and like puts a stake through the heart of this relationship once and for all is his fucking Playboy interview, where, first of all, he says appalling stuff about black women and he says the N-word like not a great feature of your boyfriend.
And then I'm going to read you this thing of what he says about Jessica Simpson.
It's bad. Oh, God. All right. Playboy says in 2006, you began dating Jessica Simpson and the paparazzi started stalking you. Certainly you knew that was going to happen. And then Mayer says it wasn't as direct as me saying I now make the choice to bring the paparazzi into my life. I really said I now make the choice to sleep with Jessica Simpson.
That was stronger than my desire to stay out of the paparazzi's eye or to, like, have a relationship with her or whatever. He also says that girl is like crack cocaine to me sexually. It was crazy. That's all I'll say. It was like napalm, sexual napalm. Have you ever been with a girl that you want to quit the rest of your life?
Did you ever say, I want to quit my life and just fucking snort you? If you charge me ten thousand dollars to fuck you, I would start selling all my shit just to keep fucking.
And you know that he thinks that he's like saying something nice, you know, and also she's like a Christian and she's a public figure. And what she talks I mean, first of all, it's just such a dehumanizing way to talk about somebody that you've dated.
Secondly, she knows she's a woman in public life. She is going to get asked about this for the rest of her career.
And that is exactly what happens that four years after this, every time she sits down with an interviewer, they're like, what do you think about John Mayer saying your sexual napalm?
Jessica, are you sexual napalm? Yeah, it's like this is going to be a huge pain in the ass in my life for years. And it's going to sexualize me again when, like, I'm running a company, I'm in my 30s.
John Mayer's metaphors about women are also very weird, like there is the Joshua Tree China. And then the napalm thing is like, why John Mayer, are you so interested in conceptualizing yourself as having no power in this situation? Like, what's that about?
There's also the thing I also think part of this I have no evidence for this, but I think part of this is like somewhat performative, that when men talk about women to other men, they tend to overcentralized them because they don't want to admit that like we actually like connected as people. Like you can't say that as a man in public life or maybe men don't say that as men in public life.
Maybe if one brave man starts doing that and others will follow.
But it's like in his like little like marmot brain, he's just like, oh, well, like, I really like fucking her and I loved having sex with her and I like John.
You could say the same thing about a pumpkin. Like what does it mean.
So he writes her letter to apologize. I wish she I wish she printed the text of it.
I'm sure it's so funny, but we don't know what it does about their grammar mistakes and it too, which would be highly satisfying.
And then she completely ghosts on him. She says, I love this line. I was done with this man in a way I never thought was possible.
I was like, we are never. Ever getting back together?
I love John inspires this response of like I don't like the dust blow up the building, like, let's see some of my sexual napalm on that. Yeah.
She also says she's like, so done with him, she changes her number and her email address, which if you're somebody like Jessica Simpson with like a million contacts, it's actually a huge hassle to do that. It's like that's how much she wants this man out of her life.
That's beautiful. And it's nice because it's like she's like had all these relationships that have gone wrong in various ways. But like, this one is like maybe so flamboyantly bad that it's allowing her to like, feel like goodbye to this whole era of my life. That's my dream.
And so that is where we are going to start to wrap up the story of Jessica. OK, as you mentioned earlier, one of the things we really like about the story, as opposed to a lot of our other episodes, is like we know that everything sort of works out for Jessica. And so I think we should end with a couple little montages of how things ended up working out for Jessica. I love that. Let's do it.
So six months after the John Mayer ghosting, she meets her current husband, Eric, who is a football player for a team, and then he retires in 2008.
And there's this whole sort of complicated grid flowchart thing, like how he ends up at her house.
It's like a friend of a cousin, of a friend of an employee. But anyway, she's having friends over to watch, I think, a football game or maybe a basketball games, like having a bunch of buddies over on like an afternoon.
And he shows up this hot retired football player. And I really like this. He kind of walks in to meet the host of the party you're going to. And he walks into the kitchen and she's chatting with a friend and he says, Hi, I'm Eric.
And he sees that sort of next to her in the Little Kitchen Island thing is a book on dream interpretation. And he also notices that it's like dog eared and there's a million Post-it notes in it. And like, this thing has been like loved to death. And so I really like this about him, that he completely skipped small talk like no traffic, no weather and just goes to like, I guess you analyze your dreams.
And she says immediately, she's like, yes, I do.
Last night I dreamed that I pooped out a pig.
And he's like, oh, no.
They just sort of instantly click. And I guess they sit sort of like in her little kitchen nook on the steps. They just sit shoulder to shoulder and just talk for like two hours. And then as people start to trickle out of her party, he's like, well, better get going. And she's like, stay. And so he spends the night. He has to leave early the next morning to go to a Marianne Williamson seminar.
Nice little cameo.
And so throughout the rest of the book, it's just the experience over and over again of dating somebody who casts her as the protagonist of these stories.
So she has like a thing.
She's not sure where it came from, but she has this, like, fixation on 11, 11 like the time, because it's when you make a wish and my understanding.
Right? Yeah. Yeah.
And so he proposes to her on November 11th at 11, 11 a.m. That's adorable.
And he's like, you like this.
And I have notice it's just a way of being like, I'm going to make this story special for you. Yeah. I'm not I'm not casting this as like I'm going to have this amazing proposal story like Jumbotron style.
It's like I want your feeling of specialness to be central to this.
She also one of the things that she actually sort of writes around in the book, and I completely understand, is her relationship with her parents. That's something that she never goes into detail. Her description of firing her father is one paragraph.
She basically says that her parents get divorced in twenty twelve. She kind of chooses her mom's side. She doesn't see her dad for a while, but he's still her business manager. And he just starts making more and more erratic decisions, apparently. And people will say to her like, oh yeah, I thought we had this deal. But then you pulled out at the last minute and she'll be like, wow, I've never even heard of this.
And eventually what she says in the book is just like I had to go forward without him. So, you know, she thinks her dad, in the acknowledgments, they're still close.
I get why she didn't go into it too much. But so that's really all we get of that relationship.
She also talks about, you know, sort of running up to this intervention that her friends have in twenty seventeen that she's drinking more. She starts get more anxious about her body.
After she has two kids, she decides to get a tummy tuck. She goes into the doctor and the doctor says, I can't do this because there's too much alcohol in your liver and too many prescription drugs.
It's not safe. And so I think she, like, just finds another doctor and gets it anyway. Apparently, like her staff and stuff, start marking the alcohol. Bottles in her house so they can monitor how much she's drinking. Then, as we talked about in Chapter one, she has this sort of breakthrough with her dad. She has a breakdown. She has an intervention. She starts seeing a therapist twice a week. She decides to stop drinking.
Eric decides to stop drinking.
And there's actually some really interesting stuff about just sort of the weird life adjustment that has to happen after you quit drinking, when she's built her life around alcohol and all these ways that she wasn't really aware of until it's gone. So, like the first time she goes out to dinner and they don't order a bottle of wine, it's like, oh, I, I guess we can do that. Like, that's a little test. And the first time she performs without alcohol and the first time she goes to a friend's cocktail party without alcohol, it's just like all these little milestones of her life that have become inextricably linked with alcohol.
I also feel like alcohol is like a security blanket and that way, and it's like being dumbo and realizing that you can fly without your magic feather. Yeah.
And so she starts to sort of deal with her past and explore all this stuff in therapy and come to a lot of the insights that she's had throughout the book. And so the the scene we're going to end with, she decides to sort of like a reward for everything going really well. She tells Eric that she wants to take her and the kids to Disneyland, even though, like, Disney is a weird place for her. Right, because of the Mickey Mouse Club and these performances that she was doing.
And it's always been a site that she feels weird about.
Oh, God, I'm actually having personal baggage with Mickey Mouse. Like, how stressful, you know?
And so her husband's like, are you sure? And she's like, Yeah, I'm ready. Wow. There's a scene the night that they get there, they're at the pool at their hotel. They're playing around.
This woman comes up to her and says, oh, my God, it's Britney Spears.
And Jessica Simpson is like, no, sorry.
And so this woman thinks that she is Britney Spears, but she's like being coy. You know, like celebrities do that. Like I'm not Wilt Chamberlain. Like, no, it's not me.
Reminds me that Cutie Cutie Greer has a book called I Believe I don't know where you know me from like this. It's a common experience.
She and so this woman is like, oh, come on. Like, we know it's you. We won't tell anybody else we put our money on.
Please just take a picture with us. And so it's easier said Jessica Simpson.
It's like, yeah, OK, so whatever she's like, smile like. They're like, Thanks, Britney. And they run away. Oh my gosh. She thinks it's funny. She doesn't really think anything of it. And then the next day she's like walking around Disneyland with her kids and this woman out of nowhere like runs up to her and it's like, oh my God, it's you.
And it's the same woman from yesterday who took a selfie with her who thought that she was Britney Spears. And she's like, Oh, hello again.
And this woman goes, You're Jessica Simpson. I'm so sorry. We were looking all over the part for you today so that we could apologize. We finally realized it last night.
Oh, my gosh, that's so lovely.
And she's like, these things happen. It's not a big deal. And this woman says, Jessica, can we take another photo with you as Jessica Simpson? Oh, my gosh. And Jessica says, Only if you smile.
We're ending with an anecdote with metaphorical significance looks beautiful, so we're leaving her at Disneyland, knowing who she is. Yes, which is where I hope that we all can be as soon as possible.
So, yeah, what do you what do you think? We're we're done. That's the end of our Jessica journey. I love Jessica Simpson so much. Oh, my God, this is so fun.
And I have loved getting the responses from people about the series because we've gotten many responses that I have seen from people who are like I did not think that I would become so invested in Jessica Simpson or I would care. But I do. I know, you know, I mean, there's a lot of celebrity memoirs in the world, right? They really run the gamut. And there's the ones that you can tell were kind of written by a team.
And yet you don't involve a lot of self disclosure. I think it's very meaningful and worth remarking on when someone claims to be telling you the story of their life and actually does. Yeah, like I feel like I've grown from this experience.
Like, I feel like I identify with Jessica in so many ways. I am a feelings addict. I am drawn to bad relationships. I have my own substance security blanket. I just feel very connected to her in a way that I truly never imagined would happen when she was being aggressively marketed to me as a teen. And I just really love that. I was really happy about that. Sometimes there's a person around the torso sometimes.