While Jessica Simpson was talking up the international charity Operation Smile in Washington, D.C., recently, dad Joe Simpson was still working close to home, playing manager to her and sister Ashlee. But Papa Joe is adding a new gal to his client roster: do-it-yourself guru and tool maker Barbara K. Simpson, 58, filled PEOPLE in on his expansion, and dished on Jessica’s new movie, her divorce and more.
How are things going with Jessica s new film, Employee of the Month?
We could have another Wedding Crashers on our hands. It s gonna be a big, big movie. Jessica s having the time of her life. She loves making movies.
How are you putting up with the media coverage of her divorce?
We tried everything. We tried being vocal, we tried to give everybody the story, and it just keeps coming. So at this point, we just kind of go, “You know? The best comment is no comment.” They re gonna say what they re gonna say.
And say it a lot!
You know, my poor child, she s at a place where everybody she meets and talks to she s linked with (romantically).
Does it drive her nuts?
It s a joke around the set: Don t talk to Jessica because you re gonna be with her in the magazines next week! Actually, all of the comedians thought that they would run a scam on the press, and everybody go out with her on a different night holding hands with her.
I m glad you can laugh at it a bit …
Well, we ve cried already, you know? I’ve told everybody in the press forever, “If we did it, you can print it.” We re big boys and girls. I just ask them not to print what I didn’t do. That s all. But that s my soapbox.
Now you’re working with Barbara K. Will it take any time away from managing your own daughters careers?
I run six companies at this point. I’m very diversified. I m a vision guy and a big-picture guy and a dreamer, and then I hire people to do the details, the day-to-day stuff. And I think this is just another area of the dream, and they all work together.
So what are your dreams for Barbara K?
We re going to do a TV show with her right off the top, and try to open her up to women. The great ideas are the most simple: Here s a women that’s designing tools for woman. Wow! What a concept! The old system is out and women are taking care of themselves.