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Ashlee Simpson Reveals Why She Refused to Wear a Purity Ring Like Sister Jessica

Her father tried to gift her one when she was 12, the pop star says.

When she was in her pop star heyday in the early 2000s, much was made of the purity ring worn by Jessica Simpson and her decision to not have sex until she was married. The "Irresistible" singer spoke out in the press about her virginity, including when she lost it after marrying first husband Nick Lachey. At the same time, her younger sister, Ashlee Simpson, was also coming up as a singer and actor, and she recently explained why she took a different path when it came to making pledges about her sex life.

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As reported by Us Weekly, in a Feb. 19 interview with the podcast Broad Ideas, Ashlee said that her father, Joe Simpson, attempted to give her a purity ring when she was 12, just like he did Jessica at the same age.

"I was like, 'Oh, no thank you. I will [not] be telling you when I am having sex,'" Ashlee said. The now 39-year-old also explained that when she was a teen she "would come off way more rebellious than [she] was," because she declined to participate in that tradition. She added, "I would see how my dad would be like, 'You can't talk to this guy.' [Or like], 'Here's your ring to save yourself.'"

Ashlee said that it was her mother, Tina Simpson, who recognized that she had to be parented differently than Jessica. "My mom really would pay attention and see me if I needed something different," she said. "I wanted to do my own thing. They had to let me be free … or at least feel free."

Ashlee Simpson and Jessica Simpson at an LG event in 2010
s_bukley / Shutterstock

While the "Pieces of Me" singer joked on the podcast that she "always wanted it to be open that you don't know what I'm doing," she said that she feels differently raising her 15-year-old son, Bronx, who she shares with ex-husband Pete Wentz. She said that they have talked about sex, and explained, "[To] have those open conversations, I feel like it's so important. [Anything] other than that, your kids are going to be hiding things from you, or you won't get the story."

Back in the aughts, Jessica addressed her sex life in interviews, including one with Blender after she tied the knot with Lachey in 2002. "It was the most amazing moment of my life," she said of losing her virginity (via E! News). "I'm so lucky I didn't lose my virginity in the back of a Jeep or something. Instead, I had this amazing, elaborate wedding and I topped it off with that." The topic is also something she has opened up about more recently in her 2020 memoir Open Book.

Ashlee had a different approach, including in the press when she was in her early 20s. In a 2006 interview with Elle, she said, "My parents, my mom especially, have always been believers in 'try to save yourself until you're married—and if you don't, be safe.' Kids do whatever they want. So advising them to be safe is important. For me, if I ever do decide to have sex… [Bursts into laughter]." The interviewer then said, "Puh-leeze! You've been there, done that" to which Ashlee replied, "I don't say if I do or don't. You can assume what you assume." She then admitted that losing her virginity was something she "hold[s] very dear."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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