Like many of us, Jessica Simpson has a fraught personal history with The Notebook (2004). For me, it’s the amount of time I spent watching the film’s “bonus features” with dudes in messy college dorm rooms, contemplating who would make the first move. For Simpson, The Notebook has represented a more significant complication of romantic ideals.
In her new memoir, Open Book, the 39-year-old singer reveals that she was up for the part of Allie Hamilton — the lead role that ultimately went to Rachel McAdams — but turned it down “because they wouldn’t budge on taking out the sex scene,” according to the New York Post. Later she learned that Ryan Gosling had been cast as the film’s leading man, a bit of a letdown for Simpson, who also writes that the actor was her first crush, an infatuation that took root when they auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club together as children. She says of meeting Gosling when she was 12, “I was in love … Before anybody knew how hot Ryan Gosling was going to become, I had a vision.”
Fate intervened once more, as Simpson was contemplating leaving her then-husband, former 98 Degrees member Nick Lachey, sometime in the early aughts (the two finalized their divorce in 2006). Simpson recounts that the flight she was on just after deciding to break up with Lachey screened a movie for the entire cabin, as was customary in those faraway times — and what should the airline choose to play but … The Notebook! “The statement [about the breakup] went out while I was in the air, but nobody on the plane knew a thing, except that Jessica Simpson was sobbing in first class,” she writes. “Then they announced that the movie we all had to watch was The Notebook. Oh God, I thought. The most romantic movie in the world, and I was leaving Nick.”
In conclusion, The Notebook will haunt us all forever.