Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna
July 20, 2005 12:00 PM

Jessica Simpson’s dad says that his daughter and her hubby Nick Lachey have hit some rough patches in their marriage – but that rumors of a split are dead wrong.

Joe Simpson tells PEOPLE that in fact Jessica and Nick’s marriage is much like his own. “Do they fight? Hell yes, they fight. Have there been moments when Nick has wanted to leave Jessica or Jess has wanted to leave Nick? Absolutely,” Simpson says.

But he’s quick to add that the squabbles are not a sign of major trouble in the relationship. “(It’s the) same with me and my wife. If fighting is a sign of divorce, then we’re all going to get divorced. My wife and I have been married 27 years. We’ve been at the edge of divorce for 26 of them.”

The Simpsons and the Lacheys have a secret for solving their differences, he says. “We stick together. So we laugh together. We cry together. We drink together.”

Simpson talked with PEOPLE while promoting Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive, a reality series he s coproducing for the E! network. Plus, he’s still managing his daughter’s career.

Next up, after The Dukes of Hazzard opening Aug. 5: “We’re doing a movie called Major Movie Star. It’s kind of like Private Benjamin. She’s going to go join the Army. It’s going to be a good fun thing.”

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