Jessica Simpson’s book, Open Book, came out yesterday – and as promised, she has been OPEN. This is what you want out of a celebrity memoir: not just the tea but also the context; it has to be more than X and Y was an asshole, it’s better when you fill in the emotion behind it, when you colour in the history between the margins of the gossip stories we’re already familiar with. Jessica Simpson has delivered this. My only question is whether or not it’s a good thing or a bad thing that so many details are being reported on. I’ve not read the book – and fully intend to – but so many of these stories are already so out there, I wonder if what the balance is for the publishers to make sure some things are still held back as the headline-grabbing parts make the rounds. 

Anyway, there’s a LOT here that’s been revealed about her relationship with John Mayer. Jessica says that they made up and broke up maybe like nine times and almost always on his timeline. Via PEOPLE: 

“He’d dump me, then come back saying he had discovered he loved me after all. I always saw it as him mercilessly taking me in from the cold,” she writes. “Every time John returned, I thought it was a continuation of a love story, while my friends saw a guy coming back for sex with some foolish girl.” 

The on-again/off-again cycle was exhausting. She writes that, after getting back together with Mayer for the umpteenth time in London, “I felt the full intensity of his obsession with me. And it was a drug to me. He studied every inch of my body, every detail of my face. He photographed me constantly, to the point that I worried he was keeping souvenirs before dumping me again.”

From the outside, the read on Jessica and John wasn’t wrong. He always looked embarrassed, almost pained, when he was with her. And that tracks, because his whole brand was the sensitive rocker-lover. And Jessica didn’t necessarily fit with how he perceived his brand to be. But, obviously, he was, as she says, obsessed with her, infatuated. And when she talks about how he would try to get her to debate him, and that only added to her own insecurity, it also sounds like he was trying to sculpt her, literally recreate her into the woman he felt could be worth of him, or at least his image of himself. 

But also? John Mayer is so That Guy. Because when Jessica cut him loose and was dating Tony Romo, you know what that f-cker did? He constantly texted and called her – and she’d tell Tony about all of it. Until one night, John showed up at her family gathering, because he weaseled his way through her dad, and:

“By a fire in the backyard, he stood and told all of us that he loved me and that we could all trust him to be a good man. I told him I would always love him, but I was with Tony,” she said. “But I didn’t tell Tony. I broke my own rule of full disclosure about any contact, even accidental, with John.”

When Tony eventually found out, he broke up with her. And she found herself back with John until his “sexual napalm” interview, at which point she ended it forever and good. 

Her experience with him, however, is not uncommon. It’s happened to me. I was with someone who manipulated and left and manipulated and came back. It’s a kind of violence, disrupting and interrupting a person’s life this way when you know, you KNOW, that you have a certain control over them. 

Her book is her way of taking back some of that control. And so far, John hasn’t publicly commented on her revelations. But I wonder if he’s hearing this for the first time. Like really hearing it. And seeing himself in that light.