“It’s totally out of control,” says Simpson, who recently rented a dozen different vehicles in a single day to evade the cameras. She’s even taken to hiding in car trunks. “I almost peed in my pants,” she says of one such incident. “We were laughing so hard because [my mom] was trying to talk to me and I’m in the trunk.”
Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Simpson, now single for the first time in her adult life, wants to have a little fun. She’s made even more headlines by hanging out at the notoriously rowdy Chateau Marmont with the likes of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and serial cad Jude Law. “I feel like everybody’s always out to get me, and that’s a weird feeling,” she says of the press, which seems to link her to a new man every week. “But you can let the chaos consume you or you can stand next to the chaos and just walk along with it.” And so today, hoping to avoid what she refers to as “that spiral thing” that happens when a celebrity can no longer handle the spotlight, Simpson has temporarily relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she has rented a gated house high up in the hills.
While she is technically here to shoot Employee of the Month, an indie film starring the hot young comedians Dane Cook and Dax Shepard and produced by Andrew Panay of Wedding Crashers fame, the change of venue will also serve as a six-week hiatus from her life. “It’s, like, girl timea healing within in a lot of ways,” says Simpson, who is sharing the house with Cobb, hairstylist Jessie Holiday and makeup artist Mary Phillips, all of whom she considers her “best friends.”
Simpson says she craves the organized routine of a film and can’t wait to spend her days laughing again. She’ll play an otherwise hot Costco cashier”She’s, like, a nine or a 10”whose beauty is marred by just one feature. In the grand tradition of Nicole Kidman’s prosthetic nose in The Hours, Simpson will sport gigantic rubber Dumbo ears.
Today, dwarfed by a masculine leather couch in her new living room and dressed in faded jeans with holes and a red turtleneck sweater with deer embroidered across her chest, Simpson looks less like a Barbie pinup than a sugary down-home girl, all smiles, “you knows” and hugs. Her four-carat engagement ring has been replaced with simple silver bands on her index fingers and thumb, and the only remnants of her vampy Jessica Rabbit persona of old are the high-heeled Miu Miu boots on her feet.