Jessica Simpson is famous for her singing voice.
She’s recorded dozens of songs and sold millions of albums worldwide.
But the pop star recently shared that one song will always have a special place in her heart.
It’s a hymn that has carried her through the tough times.
“Amazing Grace” is the song that got Simpson her first record deal. She sang the hymn for Tommy Mottola, a record producer in New York, and he immediately offered her a contract.
But the hymn represents much more than her gateway into the music industry.
Simpson recently released a new memoir, Open Book, in which she wrote honestly about her struggles with sexual abuse and alcoholism.
As the daughter of a pastor, Simpson was raised in a strong Christian home. She faced suffering early in her life, however, when a family friend sexually abused her.
“At the time, I didn’t really understand what was happening,” she confessed. “I knew something was wrong…this was a very close person.”
Simpson was only six years old when the abuse began, and she struggled to reconcile her faith with the trauma that she experienced.
“I was a preacher’s daughter,” she said. “I never wanted to share these…things that were happening because I didn’t want to hurt anybody.”
Eventually, Simpson told her parents what was happening, and they took action to protect her, but healing was a difficult process.
Singing helped Jessica heal from the pain of sexual abuse, but it also drew her away from her faith. She entered the pop culture scene as a teenager, drawing attention with her performances in competitions across the country.
Her first record deal, sparked by a stunning performance of “Amazing Grace,” was accompanied by a swift rise to national fame. Dazzled by fellow pop star Nick Lachey, Simpson fell in love, and the two were quickly married.
But trouble was never far away. Simpson and Lachey starred in their own reality TV show for a few years, which took a toll on their marriage and eventually ended it.
It was a painful time for Simpson, who began to turn to alcohol to console herself.
“I had started a spiral, and I couldn’t catch up with myself,” the singer confessed. She drank constantly, even as she fell in love again, remarried, and had three children.
“I didn’t show up for my family,” Simpson continued. “I made the world think that I showed up, [but I didn’t].”
She was far from her childhood faith, but God was never far from her. Throughout this dark time in her life, He still watched over Simpson and her family.
He reminded her of His presence every time she heard her favorite hymn, “Amazing Grace.”
Eventually, Simpson realized that she needed help. She sought counseling for her addiction and began to change her lifestyle.
“I just realized that I had to surrender,” she said. “I had to give it up and I was ready. I’m not going to miss another day.”
Simpson did surrender, and she’s now sober and happy in her family life. “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.”
“I don’t have something to retreat to that will numb me,” she added, reflecting on her new sober lifestyle.
Simpson credits faith as the reason she’s survived through the tough times in her life. In a recent interview on the Today show, she even broke out in song, sharing a verse of her favorite hymn with the watching audience.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound / That saved a wretch like me,” Simpson sang, confessing that the hymn always gives her a peace she can’t find anywhere else.
“It’s about walking through fear and learning how to be afraid—and the other side of fear is what’s so beautiful,” she admitted. “That’s when you get the reward.”
Simpson has come a long way from the teenage girl who sang “Amazing Grace” to get her first recording contract. But the song still inspires her, grounds her, and fills her with hope.
Pray that Simpson will draw closer to God and be a powerful witness for Him in the world of pop culture!