For Tina Simpson, reading and hearing negative comments about her daughter Jessica Simpson's weight — and seeing firsthand how they affected her — felt heartbreaking on an even deeper level as a mother.
"I have to be honest: To me the hardest thing with Jessica has been the weight. Because the way people judge her, it's unbelievable," Simpson told TODAY's Sheinelle Jones on Wednesday. "Body shaming is a terrible thing, and no girl should have to go through that — or guy. Period."
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While Simpson has called out body shamers, her mother said the comments still sting.
"Because of that, it catapulted all kinds of different emotions and different things in her life too, you know?" Simpson said. "And then it made her want to be a recluse, in a lot of ways, and to hide out and not want to get our of her house."
Simpson gave birth to Jessica at age 20 and her sister Ashlee at age 24. Simpson said being a mother "was like the only thing I ever wanted to do! I mean, I really did. It was just, like, my passion."
Before her two daughters rose to fame as singers in their teenage years, Simpson said the family would frequently move because her ex-husband, Joe Simpson, was a youth pastor.
She recalled one of her many odd jobs included teaching aerobics classes at church.
"Jessica always calls it 'Jump for Jesus,' but the name of it really was called 'Heavenly Bodies,'" she said, laughing. "And it was just like a Christian aerobics class that I taught."
Jessica and Ashlee both have three kids, making Simpson a grandmother of six. When asked her best advice as a mother, she said it's important to "just love 'em and meet 'em where they are at, encourage them, and be their rock."
"Don't let anything totally shock you," she said. "Let them just pour their heart out to you about whatever. Be an open book.
"Just really, like, lay it out there so they know that they have you and that you're not going anywhere."