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Ashlee Simpson Reflects on the 'Personal Strength' She Gained from 2004 “SNL” Lip-Synching Fiasco: 'It Taught Me So Much'

The singer and actress opened up about what she learned from the infamous moment on Rachel Bilson's podcast

<p>John Salangsang/Billboard via Getty Images</p> Ashlee Simpson in Los Angeles on Feb. 4, 2024

John Salangsang/Billboard via Getty Images

Ashlee Simpson in Los Angeles on Feb. 4, 2024

Ashlee Simpson is looking back at one of her more infamous moments on stage.

On Monday’s episode of Broad Ideas with Rachel Bilson & Olivia Allen, Simpson, 39, reflected on her 2004 performance on Saturday Night Live, where she was famously outed for lip-synching, as she said she “learned a lot” from the events and the backlash.

She was 19 or 20 at the time, she said on the podcast, and she admitted that what was “hard” about the situation was that “I wrote all these songs and I did all this and almost to have your credit completely taken from you and you’re like, ‘No.’ ”

“It taught me humility, it taught me so much about myself and my own personal strength,” she said of how she looks back on the moment now. It also taught her “how to get back up and go again." She added, "So there’s something about that too.”

During the 2004 episode, Simpson had performed one song already — “Pieces of Me" — but when she came onstage to perform her second song, “Autobiography,” the wrong vocals played, repeating the song from earlier. She danced a jig to cover the snafu and walked off stage. She remains the only musician to walk out of an SNL performance.

Dana Edelson/NBCU Ashlee Simpson on SNL in 2004
Dana Edelson/NBCU Ashlee Simpson on SNL in 2004

She later shared that she had completely lost her voice due to an acid reflux flare-up, which was the reason for the lip-synching. In retrospect, she said the situation reminds her of the “power” of saying “no.”

“If I would’ve had that power to really have been like — which I would have now, or looking back — I’d be like, ‘I won’t be showing up. Period,' " she said.

Related: Kate Winslet Says SNL Was a 'Hotbed of Anxiety' Week After Ashlee Simpson's 2004 Lip-Sync Gaffe

Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank Ashlee Simpson on SNL in 2004
Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank Ashlee Simpson on SNL in 2004

Simpson ended up returning to SNL and performing again tied to her second album, and she admitted that she was “really nervous” to get back on the stage. “That was f---ing scary to do.”

She wrote her sophomore album, I Am Me, after the initial SNL snafu and “it came out at No. 1 so it was like, ‘I’ll be OK.’ ”

“I feel like having the show at that time was nice because all the people that were my fans stuck with me and I went back on stage and I went back to it all,” she recalled of her emotions after the performance. “But I think having to find – at a young age – that strength to be like, ‘No, I’m good at this. I will keep going. I will keep fighting.’”

“For me it was like a week of sulking ‘til I had to be like, ‘OK, I need to get all these steroids and be able to have my voice and get back on stage and figure this out.’ And I feel like I owed that to my fans and myself and that's what I did,” she continued. “The harder part of it for me was everyone bringing it up. I had let it go.”

Related: Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross Talk Upcoming 10-Year Wedding Anniversary: 'We Always Celebrate' (Exclusive)

<p>Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images</p> Ashlee Simpson attends the Christian Siriano Fall/Winter 2024 Fashion Show at The Plaza Hotel on Feb. 8, 2024 in New York City.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Ashlee Simpson attends the Christian Siriano Fall/Winter 2024 Fashion Show at The Plaza Hotel on Feb. 8, 2024 in New York City.

This is not the first time Simpson has spoken about her 2004 performance. On her E! reality show with her husband Evan Ross, ASHLEE+EVAN, she recalled, “All of sudden, you know, s--- happened and it was like boom. And the world hated me for this SNL moment I had.”

“For me, it was the most humbling experience of my life, because the whole world thinks everything that you just put your heart and soul into writing is a joke. And that sucked,” she added.

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The mother of three previously told PEOPLE that it was a “defining” moment in her “life and career,” but it made her “stronger.”

“I was such a young girl, and the world can be a cruel place,” she said. “But I learned at that time in my life to believe in my work and in my album and to get up and keep fighting and carrying on.”

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