Jessica Simpson was born and raised in Dallas, TX, beginning her performing career as a member of her church choir; at 12, she also auditioned
unsuccessfully for The Mickey Mouse Club.
While attending church camp the following summer,
Simpson was discovered by the head
of a tiny CCM label, spending the next three years
recording her debut album; the label folded before
the record could be released, however,
although a small pressing was eventually
funded by her grandmother. The teen nevertheless became
a hit on the Christian Youth Conference circuit,
also sharing bills with Kirk Franklin, God's
Property, and Ce Ce Winans; seeking to expand her
popularity in the secular market, Simpson signed to Sony,
touring in support of
boy-band sensations 98° prior to
releasing her 1999 major label debut Sweet Kisses,
which launched the smash I Wanna Love You Forever.
A second studio effort, Irresistible, appeared in spring 2001.
Despite the MTV coverage of the album's
title track, Simpson's sophomore effort
didn't fare as well as her first album.
The following year, Simpson married her
longtime boyfriend, 98° crooner Nick Lachey.
She also went on to appear in several
episodes of That 70s Show, but it took Simpson
until summer 2003 to become a bona fide celebrity.
She and Lachey's MTV-produced reality show,
Newlyweds, captured countless moments of the
couple's first year of marriage.
Simpson's third album, the much
more mature In This Skin appeared in July.
First single Sweetest Sin was a moderate chart hit,
but thanks to the success of Newlyweds, Simpson's
teetering career got a second chance. A second single With You
was a favorite among the MTV crowd and by spring 2004,
In This Skin was re-released. It included reworked versions
of Berlin's Take My Breath Away
and Robbie Williams' Angels as well as additional footage
from the first season of Newlyweds.