"If Jessica is in love, I love the things she's in love with," Joe Simpson tells PEOPLE

By Emily Fromm
May 16, 2007 06:00 PM

Joe Simpson may not have approved at first of daughter Jessica Simpson‘s marriage to Nick Lachey, but he’s given her new man, John Mayer, the thumbs up.

“If Jessica is in love, I love the things she is in love with,” Joe Simpson, 49, told PEOPLE of Mayer at the Entertainment Weekly upfront party at The Box in New York City on Tuesday.

“I want her to be happy. I’m always a fan of his. I love him; he’s got great music.”

Simpson wasn’t such a fan of Lachey when Jessica married the former boy-bander in 2002. “Everybody thought, including my father, that my marriage to Nick would kill my career,” Jessica told 20/20 in 2004, a year before she and Lachey separated.

But Joe Simpson says Mayer is a different story. “I think the beautiful thing is that [he and Jessica] don’t do the same thing,” he told PEOPLE on Tuesday. “He’s a legend already. There is no competition. He’s a guitarist; that’s his thing. Jessica is a singer. She doesn’t play guitar, so there’s no competition.”

Last month, Jessica joined Mayer in Australia, where he was on tour, but she’s currently in Europe for the Cannes Film Festival. For his part, Mayer was recently in New York City, where he played political strategist to presidential nominee John Edwards.

So what is Joe Simpson doing at the TV upfronts, where networks present their new lineups? “I’m executive-producing a new show that just got picked up called Women’s Murder Club,” he said. “It’s [based on] a James Patterson [book] series. We were here for the ABC upfronts – Angie Harmon, Laura Harris, Paula Newsome. We have a great cast.”

Will Jessica or little sister Ashlee be making any cameos? “This is one thing I’m actually trying to do on my own.”