The singer reveals in her new memoir, "I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills"

By Georgia Slater
January 31, 2020 02:20 PM
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Jessica Simpson is revealing new details about her relationship with alcohol in 2017.

While sitting down for an interview with Hoda Kotb on Today, the singer admitted to having a “weak moment” and drinking before a May 2017 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“I can’t even watch the interview,” the 39-year-old, who recently opened about her struggles with addiction, explained. “It was a weak moment for me, and I wasn’t in the right place.”

At the time, Simpson admitted she “knew that I wasn’t present,” adding “I knew that something was off.”

Kotb explained in the exclusive clip that several fans “wondered if she’d been drinking” after seeing her interview with DeGeneres — to which Kotb revealed, “she had.”

“I had started a spiral and I couldn’t catch up with myself and that was with alcohol,” Simpson told Kotb.

Viewers of Simpson’s appearance on Ellen called the interview “painful to watch” and noted that she could “barely put together a coherent sentence.”

Simpson writes about her battle with addiction in her upcoming memoir, Open Book (out Feb. 4, along with her audiobook) which was exclusively excerpted in PEOPLE.

The star reveals for the first time that she was sexually abused as a young girl. The resulting emotional pain, along with other stressors, including career pressures, led her to self-medicate with alcohol and stimulants — a dependency that would later prompt her doctor to tell her her life was in danger.

“I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills,” she writes.

The star got sober in November 2017 and hasn’t had a drink since. “Giving up the alcohol was easy,” she says. “I was mad at that bottle. At how it allowed me to stay complacent and numb.”

february 3 2020 cover of people magazine
Credit: Mike Rosenthal

In one of the book’s most moving scenes, she writes about hitting rock bottom after a Halloween party at their home in late 2017. That’s when she told her closest friends: “I need to stop. Something’s got to stop. And if it’s the alcohol that’s doing this, and making things worse, then I quit.”

The singer also says that her husband, Eric Johnson — who is the father of their three kids, daughter Maxwell, 7, son Ace, 6, and baby girl Birdie, 10 months — gave up drinking the same time Simpson announced she was going clean.

“Eric gave up drinking the second I did,” she says. “He said, ‘I’ll do it with you, babe.’ It was like no biggie and he hasn’t gone back or looked back.”

“It’s just the way he is,” she says. “He’s a very selfless and loving person who is the most incredible father on the planet.”

Open Book by Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson’s Open Book

For more from Jessica Simpson and an exclusive excerpt from Open Book, pick up the Feb. 3 issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.