What a gentleman: For her 25th birthday, Nick Lachey stepped back and let wife Jessica Simpson have the dance floor. “I felt it wasn’t the right moment to show her up,” he says jokingly. “I was being a gracious husband.”
Hipster deejay Charlotte Ronson spun for Simpson and her 150 guests at the Encino, Calif., bash on July 9. Ronson kicked things off with Simpson’s version of “These Boots Are Made for Walking” from the Dukes of Hazzard soundtrack. And when she threw on Beyonce‘s “Crazy in Love,” the guest of honor showed off her best moves alongside pals Eva Mendes and CaCee Cobb.
“Turning 25 was an amazing experience for me,” Simpson tells us. “Having my family and friends there made it even more special.” Celebs including Jake Gyllenhaal, Mandy Moore, Topher Grace and Joaquin Phoenix joined her for the party (held the night before her actual b-day). “It was great to see everyone come out and support Jessica on a very special day for her,” says Lachey.
Dad Joe Simpson even got a little emotional. “Looking around our yard and seeing all the people who love my daughter was, at times, overwhelming,” he says.
After reveling for almost six hours, the party wrapped up well past 3 a.m. And guests didn’t leave empty-handed: They walked away with gift bags by Silver Spoon including Poko Pano Brazilian bikinis, Theory clothing and Victoria’s Secret sweatsuits.
“Being with my sister on her 25th birthday was such a blessing,” says sib Ashlee Simpson. “The party was great!”
Coming to Their Aid
Meanwhile, Jessica Simpson’s Dukes of Hazzard costar Willie Nelson recently announced plans for the 20th anniversary of the Farm Aid fundraising concert on Sept. 18 in Tinley Park, Ill., outside of Chicago. “It’s more important now than ever,” Nelson says. “We’ve been losing 300 to 500 family farmers a week.”
He and Farm Aid co-founder John Mellencamp so far have booked Los Lonely Boys, Dave Matthews Band and Neil Young, as well as other musicians.
And Nelson (whose reggae album, Countryman, was released July 12) is looking forward to hitting the big screen as Uncle Jesse in Dukes. So, what’d he think of acting alongside Simpson? “Aw, she was all right,” he says jokingly. But seriously. “It was great. Jessica’s a doll.”
Caught in the Act
• Courtney Love, celebrating her 41st birthday at Miami club Prive. After being surprised with a cake and the crowd singing “Happy Birthday,” Love got on the mic and announced, “I’m 22, by the way.”
• American Idol‘s Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis and other finalists, partying at Miami club Mansion. The AI singers, who are in the midst of a U.S. tour, chatted with each other in the VIP section and took photos with fans.
• By MARISA LAUDADIO, KELLY WILLIAMS and JON WARECH