Jessica Simpson’s Billionaire Boots Were Made for Earning
Jessica Simpson is an “Open Book” about her roller coaster life and competing for the spotlight but her paychecks make her more than just a popstar.
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Depending on when you were born, hearing the name “Jessica Simpson” might make you think of a few things:
- Early 2000s pop music
- Dukes of Hazzard
- MTV’s Newlyweds (feat. Nick Lachey—I mean who?)
- Stylish and sensible purses and shoes
- Edible body lotion
About a month ago, I would’ve agreed.
I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I started listening to Jessica Simpson narrate her autobiography, Open Book. I had just finished listening to a few other memoirs from reality stars as a guilty pleasure book club with a friend and expected something similarly revealing but also repetitive and vapid or surface level.
So, before I dive too far into her monetary wealth, I just want to say that the story she shares wasn’t just surprisingly deep but was also deeply soulful and often heartbreaking. She takes a radically transparent stance to some of the hardest things imaginable to go through as a child and as an adult documenting her recent struggles with alcoholism and sobriety and contextualizing them through memories of a childhood full of remaining strong and having faith through pain and trauma.
Between doomed made-for-TV marriages and roller coaster relationships in and out of the spotlight, it’s also incredibly inspiring to see someone who the world has often laughed at, resiliently walk her way to the top of the fortune food chain.
How much is Jessica Simpson worth?
As of 2020, Jessica Simpson’s net worth is more than $200 million dollars. That’s pretty remarkable and puts her right up there with Beyonce, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift when it comes to celebrity net worth in the 9 digits. That alone is an impressive number, but if that’s her net worth, why is she so often referred to as a billionaire?
It turns out, “Jessica Simpson” is a billion dollar name
The smartest thing Jessica ever did was putting her name in everyone’s mouths. That includes the Jessica Simpson Collection that solidified Jessica on the Forbes’ billionaire list in 2016 when she had to have the company valued as a part of a partial sale.
While runways of celebrity lines focus on high fashion and defining new trends, Jessica attributes the Jessica Simpson collection’s success to designing it based on what real women really want to wear. Whether that was her or her friends or any woman walking down the street but also the runway models she met at shoots and shows.
In one anecdote in her book, she recalls asking a model about shoes she had designed. The feedback was that the shoes were uncomfortable because of the heel height—something Jessica is known for rocking given her shorter frame. From there she focused on making heels of all different heights but mainly on making them as comfortable as possible.
By creating a more inclusive brand, reaching people from different builds, backgrounds, and budgets, Jessica listened and learned from a wider variety of perspectives which she says was personally rewarding and, well, we know it paid off!
How has Jessica Simpson made her money?
While the majority of Jessica Simpson’s net worth has recently come from her billion dollar retail brand, she’s been a household name and well-paid pop singer, actress and entrepreneur for decades.
As a singer and teen popstar, Jessica was already raking in millions before turning 21. She toured with her first husband Nick Lachey and his band, 98 Degrees, at their peak of fame and eventually eclipsed him and the band as a solo act. Jessica and Nick married in 2002 when she was 22 years old and he was 28. They documented their married life together on MTV’s The Newlyweds. Anyone remember her famous “chicken or fish” question? Truly the glory days of reality TV. If you lived under a rock in 2003, pop culture podcaster and Jessica Simpson historian, Danny Pellgrino created an ASMR rendition of the clip:
By 2005, they had announced their separation, the same year Jessica co-starred in Dukes of Hazzard (earning $4 million). Without a prenup, Jessica reportedly ended up agreeing to pay Lachey $12 million to wrap up what ended up being a drawn out divorce.
So, what is Nick Lachey's net worth and has it changed since this split?
In 2020, 15 years after Nick and Jessica’s divorce, Nick Lachey’s individual net worth is roughly the same as what he received in his settlement with Jessica. Combined with Vanessa Mannillo, who he married in 2011, the Lachey-Mannillo couple is worth $25 million. You may have seen Nick and Vanessa on screen together recently as the hosts of Netflix’s reality dating show, Love is Blind, which premiered and quickly went viral in February 2020.
It’s hard to say who has contributed what financially without speaking with their accountant—who probably wouldn’t return my phone calls anyway—but, on his own, Nick Lachey is probably worth roughly $12.5 million as a half of the Lachey-Minnillo couple.
But enough about the past, back to Jessica:
In addition to her career as a singer/performer, Jessica also had multiple endorsement campaigns and launched her first business, a line of edible lotions and body sprays called Dessert beauty by Jessica Simpson. Full disclosure: I definitely bought a Dessert beauty body spray and it was delicious and hypoallergenic! (Here’s an article from Bustle on what happened with the beauty line and why you won’t find it for sale anywhere anymore.)
Since then, Jessica has remained a public figure and endured romances in the public eye. In 2014 she remarried to former NFL tight end, Eric Johnson, and had three children together.
Over the years, she has continued a music career releasing many solo hits and albums and pursued other business ventures to continue to grow her nest egg and the Jessica Simpson brand.
Some of Jessica Simpson’s most notable and lucrative projects include:
- A multimillion-dollar Weight Watchers endorsement in 2012 following Jessica’s first pregnancy with baby Maxwell Drew Johnson
- A maternity line in 2012 on the Home Shopping Network
- The Jessica Simpson Collection available in major retailers and department stores across the world
- A memoir, Open Book, which she released in February 2020 and quickly reached number one on the NYT bestseller list
Is Jessica Simpson a domestic engineer?
Reading her memoir, it was hard to find a part where she didn’t talk about loving her role as a self proclaimed domestic homebody, either as a mom or a hostess to many friends. While she does admit to having an old family friend as her house manager to help with logistics, there’s no doubting that she is running the show in her family and around her home.
Sometimes the best way to lead a household or family is knowing when to ask for help and delegate!
How can I make money like Jessica Simpson?
Making money like Jessica Simpson is actually really easy:
- Have an amazing singing voice
- Star in movies and get your own reality show
- Design shoes that everyone loves
Kidding of course. To people like you and me, attaining the equivalent of Jessica Simpson’s net worth would involve a lot of hard work but even more luck. Achieving any fame or fortune in Hollywood is a one in a hundred million probability. But if you want to make your own fortune, here’s how to do it the Jessica Simpson way:
1. Get your name out there.
Like I said before, the smartest thing Jessica Simpson did was build name recognition. That starts by being a solo act but also leads into her self titled collection. Other stars have gone with other brand names, such as Fenty by Rihanna, and both strategies have their pros and cons but associating a brand with your identity definitely builds your following and fan loyalty off the bat.
As a first step, start putting yourself in the spotlight of your life and where you want to be seen. That can mean building out your professional recognition by speaking on panels or in front of networking groups. Tell your story and have a message for people to take away and be sure to give people a place to follow you on social media, a website/blog, or podcast. If you can sing, maybe Soundcloud, YouTube, or even Tik Tok will be a good home base for you to connect with your followers!
2. Find your audience and start listening.
As you attract an audience, listen to what they have to say. What do they like about you? What do they not like about other brands?
Listen to what other brands can’t hear. There are plenty of shoe companies that make comfy shoes that women don’t want to wear and plenty of them that care more about how their shoes look than how they feel on your feet. What Jessica did was listen to this real problem and invest in fixing it.
This is what every great entrepreneur does. Entrepreneurs do a lot of listening. They listen to problems and think about problems but they also observe how problems get solved. Eventually, an issue arises and they know just how to solve it!
So, keep your ears and eyes open and always be thinking of solutions when you hear a complaint. Even if it doesn’t end up being your million or billion dollar idea, it’s good practice!
3. Know when to quit the wrong things.
In her book, Jessica recounts two very tough decisions in her life where she had to quit. One was her divorce and the other was firing her own dad as her manager.
She describes divorce as “not being an option” when she originally married Nick Lachey, but over time it became clear it was the only option after all. Her initial determination to make things work was based on deep-rooted family values and her religious background. Ultimately, it took years and finally gaining family support for Jessica to leave Nick, something she talks about considering for years. As a reader, it was clear to me that he was holding her back in so many ways and that if she had stayed she probably wouldn’t be the powerful woman we see today in life or business.
The other decision to fire her dadager was purely business. Having a parent, family member, or friend as a manager probably helps if they know about business at all. It also keeps more money within your personal circle or family unit. Much of her success was due to her parents investment in her career. I don’t remember the exact details or if she outlines them in Open Book but, as her star power grew, the deals were outside of her dad, Joe Simpson’s, wheelhouse. She was losing out on deals and he was making ones she didn’t agree with so it wasn’t a hard choice, but it was a hard tie to cut.
If someone or something is limiting you in any way, it’s the wrong thing. It’s likely you’ll know this in your gut. Follow those instincts and never feel bad for quitting. Instead, think of it as closing a door so another one opens.
4. When things get rough, bet on yourself.
I found this to be the biggest takeaway from reading Jessica’s book and researching her business prowess. She didn’t need to rely on anyone else and wasn’t scared of anyone relying on her either. Even as a teen, when she discovered her talent and calling, she wanted to provide a better life for her family and took extreme ownership of that responsibility (domestic engineering from a young age).
And, of course, in her divorce, she was willing to give in and avoid negotiations because she knew that her earning potential hadn’t even begun to peak at that point in her life or career. She also knew that whatever the amount was, it was worth it for the “price of her freedom” knowing inherently that she would earn it back someday.
“And then I did,” she writes. “Give or take a billion.”
(Now that $12 million is barely a blip compared to her fortune and it happens to be a big chunk of her ex’s net worth.)
Obviously, I’m not advocating for giving up when someone tries to take something that’s rightfully yours but the lesson here is knowing your worth and not dwelling on anything petty when you have so much more potential to live out.
The header image used in this blog post is credited John VanderHaagen from Grand Rapids, MI / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)