Jessica Simpson has forgiven the woman who sexually abused her as a child.
“I would say about eight years ago I confronted her,” the singer said Wednesday on the new episode of Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt’s podcast, The Gift of Forgiveness.
“I went to her and I just said, ‘I know you know what was going on and I know that you were being abused,’ ‘cause she was being abused by an older guy. And basically... and he was always there at the house as well — so he never touched me, but he would abuse her and then she would come to me and do the stuff to me — and so in many ways I felt bad for her.”
Simpson wrote about being sexually abused by a family friend during childhood in her February memoir, Open Book. While Simpson didn’t identify the person, she said it was someone who would have sleepovers with her when her family went to visit another family two or three times a year.
The Jessica Simpson Collection designer said she had told the woman’s brother and mother beforehand, so they would be there to support her abuser. Then Simpson went in and addressed her directly.
“I told her in the moment, ‘I know that you have a lot to deal with’ and I told her that I think she should probably talk to someone and find a way to understand those moments and to forgive those moments and to heal from those moments,” Simpson said.
“And ‘I just want you to know that I forgive you and I don’t really care to be around you that much or ever again, but I do want you to know that, like, I know what happened between us, and I’m not gonna live in denial about it.’”
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It was all the “soul-searching” Simpson did following her high-profile divorce from singer Nick Lachey in 2006 that prompted her to have the conversation.
“I knew that I couldn’t move forward without letting her know that... I wasn’t just gonna leave it unsaid. I left it unsaid for far too long, but I knew that if I was honest with her, that it would clear my conscience,” Simpson explained. “And I even sent her the book, and I told her that I hope it brings healing.”
Later, in a lighter part of the conversation, Simpson spoke about how much she admires her younger sister, Ashlee Simpson.
“She would’ve, like, punched [an abuser]. She would’ve absolutely, like, stood up for herself,” the elder Simpson said. “[Ashlee has] always had a sense of confidence and honesty about herself that makes her so unique and such an amazing individual. And she’s always so fearlessly been herself. For me, it took a lot longer to learn how to own being myself. And she also changes a lot. She can just roll with it, and I think too deeply about things. … I just want to understand everybody all the time and Ashlee’s like… understand me. And I so envy that. I wish I could have that.”