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 So is she really as dumb as people think? ...





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"I definitely think [abstinence] is the best birth control. I know that condoms are not a hundred percent, because I'm here because of a busted condom," she says. "I can say that right now. I am here because of a busted condom." Her mom, Tina, sitting nearby, confirms that with a nod. "I mean, I'm not an accident. My parents don't look at me like I'm an accident, but I definitely wasn't on the calendar."

Simpson says she never intended to publicize the fact that she was a virgin. But one day, someone asked her "some vulgar question," and her response was matter-of-fact: "I don't have sex." It shocked her that it shocked others, she says, "because it made me realize what a bubble I grew up in."

  Jessica Simpson
"Sweetest Sin"
In This Skin
(Sony)
The bubble hasn't burst, though. Simpson honestly believes she's not playing up her sexuality — despite singing about losing her virginity ("Sweetest Sin," on her latest album, In This Skin), posing in her underwear with a Swiffer Wetjet on a recent cover of Rolling Stone, and showing up at multiple functions and for this interview with blouses so low-cut, her breasts seem to be trying to burst out and wave hello. Her marriage may be on display on "Newlyweds," but she says her sex life is not; she insists she isn't going the Britney route.

"You don't need to be going there unless your career is based on that sort of thing, and mine certainly isn't," Jessica stresses. "Unfortunately, in today's society, you have to be everything, and sex sells. I think [Britney Spears] knows what works for her and what's gotten her to where she is right now. I don't think we see eye-to-eye on the situation, because for me, I would rather sell my music."

Her music, however, isn't selling all that well. While her 1999 major-label debut, Sweet Kisses, sold more than 1.8 million copies, follow-up Irresistible has sold just over 600,000 since its release in 2001, and, after 20 weeks in stores, In This Skin is barely past gold status, despite the success of "Newlyweds" and the huge visibility the show has given her.

  "Sex sells and I think Britney knows what works for her..."
"My show is the only reason right now why I have sales on my album," she admits. "I don't even have a song on the radio. But it's not a music show, so it wouldn't have helped as much as 'Making the Band' would have or something like that."

The show, however, may be helping to do more than sell her record — it's launching her as an actress with the appeal of a young Goldie Hawn (or so she hopes). At the same time, Simpson says, "Newlyweds" is actually helping her relationship with Lachey thrive, despite the conventional wisdom.


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Photo: Sony

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  "With You"
In This Skin
(Sony)



  "Sweetest Sin"
In This Skin
(Sony)



  "A Little Bit"
Irresistible
(Columbia)



 "Irresistible - So So Def Remix"
Irresistible
(Columbia)



 "I Think I'm In Love With You"
Sweet Kisses
(Columbia)



 "I Wanna Love You Forever"
Sweet Kisses
(Columbia)



 "Where You Are"
Sweet Kisses
(Columbia)





  "Chicken of the Sea"



  "Newlyweds Go Camping"



  "Buffalo Wings"


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