Jessica Simpson Finally Opens Up About Her Shocking 'Forbidden Romance' With Johnny Knoxville

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Did Jessica Simpson Have An Affair With Johnny Knoxville? Singer Opens Up About Her Shocking 'Forbidden Romance'
Entertainment And News

We've been wondering since at least the late 1990s, so let's finally get the answer once and for all: did Jessica Simpson have an affair with Johnny Knoxville while she was still very much involved with her now-ex-husband, Nick Lachey? 

As hard as it may be to believe, we are 17 years removed from the premiere of the MTV reality show, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. The show, which catapulted pop songstress Jessica Simpson and her then-husband, 98 Degrees star Nick Lachey, was one of the first-ever celebrity-based MTV reality shows, and it sparked a reality TV trend that continues to this day. Unfortunately, neither the show nor the marriage between Simpson and Lachey lasted, and the pair split up and went on to marry other people. 

At the root of their split, allegedly, was one Johnny Knoxville, he of Jackass fame, who starred opposite Simpson in the movie reboot of The Dukes of Hazzard. Let's look at what we know about these rumors, so we can settle the truth, once and for all. 

1. Did Jessica Simpson have an affair with Johnny Knoxville? She claims they never slept together. 

In her upcoming memoir, Open Book, Simpson claims that she and Knoxville never slept together, even though they seemed to be attracted to one another. Simpson said that while she and Knoxville exchanged "love letters" during their time on The Dukes of Hazzard, they never slept together. She also said that the "emotional attachment" she was forming with Knoxville felt like more of a betrayal of her vows with Lachey than if she'd actually slept with Knoxville. 

2. Simpson said that her marriage to Lachey was falling apart at the time. 

"We were not one of those couples that screamed at each other, let whatever fly out of our mouths, and then make mad, passionate love. No, we would yell at each other, and then he would go out of town and not answer his phone. Vegas or Miami with his boys. Or he would just stay out late to teach me a lesson," she says in her memoir, which is set to be released on February 4, 2020. 

3. But Knoxville was married at the time, too. 

Knoxville — whose real name is Philip John Clapp — was married to his wife, Melanie, at the time. And though he would ultimately file for divorce from her in July 2007, he also shot down rumors that he and Simpson had an affair. "Usually, you just laugh and go on. (But) if it’s something like they’ve done to Jessica and I, it’s not as funny because I have a wife and kid. Luckily, my wife is understanding. It’s show business,” he said at the time

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4. Simpson and Lachey ultimately got divorced. 

Despite their best efforts, Simpson and Lachey couldn't make their marriage work. And even though Simpson may not have cheated on Lachey with Knoxville, her father was definitely a bad influence on their relationship. "I don't know if he ever liked me. To this day I couldn't say. It was painful. Do I think Joe drove a rift between us? No. Was he an influence in our marriage? Absolutely," Lachey said, back when he divorced Simpson in 2005.

5. Did Simpson hook up with another boy bander? 

According to Open Book, while Simpson swears she didn't hook up with Knoxville, she did hook up with another boy bander after she filed for divorce from Lachey: Justin Timberlake. "After divorce, and he was out of a relationship, he was, like, over at my house, we shared a nostalgic kiss. And I thought, ‘Oh, this is interesting.’ And he took his phone out and started typing. And I was like, ‘Okay, I hope that’s not, like, another girl. Did I, like, stick my tongue out too much or, you know?'” she said.

6. Ultimately, she's moved on. 

Simpson, happily, has moved on to a whole new man and life: after she divorced Lachey in 2005, she got engaged to former NFL tight end Eric Johnson in 2010. Today, they're married, and they have three children together. Nick Lachey, for his part, is married to Vanessa Lachey, and they also have three children together.

RELATED: Is Jessica Simpson Pregnant? New Details About The Rumor She's Expecting Baby #3​

It seems like she got it together after all!

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, publicist, and photographer whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, BET.com, and more.