"I knew something was wrong. I knew it was wrong what was going on," Jessica says.
In an interview with NBC's Hoda Kotb on "TODAY" Wednesday, Jessica Simpson opened up about being sexually abused by a family friend when she was just six years old.
"At the time I didn't really understand what was happening," Simpson began. "I knew something was wrong. I knew it was wrong what was going on. This was a very close person, and she [herself] was [also] being abused. It happened throughout a long time in my life."
Growing up as the daughter of a Baptist youth minister in Texas, Jessica said she struggled to tell her parents about the painful experience, which Simpson also addresses in her upcoming memoir, "Open Book."
"I was a preacher's daughter," she said. "I was taught to be a virgin until I got married, and so I never wanted to share these sexual things that were happening because I didn't want to hurt anybody."
It wasn't until years later Simpson opened up to her parents about the abuse. "My parents' reaction -- they did the best that they could," she told Kotb. "That's a heavy thing to hear from your child."
When asked whether her parents "ignored" her abuse allegations, Simpson said, "They ignored it with their words, for sure, but they took action, and I never had to do the sleepovers again. I never had to go back."
Simpson first came forward about being a victim of sexual abuse as a child in excerpts for "Open Book" shared on People earlier this month.
According to Jessica, the abuse began when she was 6 and shared a bed with "the daughter of a family friend." In book excerpts, she said, "It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable."
Simpson didn't tell her parents about it until she was 12, believing she was "in the wrong" up until that point. "I told you something was happening," Jessica remembers her mother Tina saying to her father when she revealed her abuse.
"Dad kept his eye on the road and said nothing," wrote Simpson, "We never stayed at my parents' friends house again but we also didn't talk about what I had said."
The trauma paired with other factors led to a dependency on alcohol and stimulants later in life, with Simpson noting she was "killing myself with all the drinking and pills." Because of her substance abuse, Jessica said a doctor wouldn't approve a partial tummy tuck she planned for 2015 -- telling her, "I am looking at your liver levels. You could die."
Her rock bottom came after Halloween 2017. In the excerpts, she admitted she began drinking at 7:30am that morning , with her father smelling vodka on her breath as she attended a school assembly for her daughter, Maxwell. It only got worse later in the day, with Simpson revealing she was "ashamed to say" she has no idea who got her kids into their costumes. She then took Ambien to go to bed that night and slept in, "afraid" she had failed her children.
Simpson spoke more about that dark day while talking with Kotb. "I honestly couldn't even tell you who got them ready," she recalled of her kids, who she shares with her husband, Eric Johnson. "I was just dazed and confused, and I just wanted to go to sleep. I didn't take them trick-or-treating. I didn't show up for my family. I took the picture and I made the world think that I showed up."
The next day, Jessica quit drinking and decided to get help. "I just realized that I had to surrender," she said. "I just want to continue on the path that I'm on, and at this point in my life, now I'm strong enough to deal with anything that comes my way. Because I don't have something to retreat to that will numb me from actually going through it."
According to Simpson, she's been sober since 2017.