Eight days before turning 30, Jessica Simpson rolls into The Greenbrier Casino Club gala opening in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, with dad Joe in tow. Sucking her stomach in to the point her muscles noticeably contract when posing for photographers on Friday, the blonde beauty doesn’t say a word to reporters when asked “how is the cleanse going?” – or anything else for that matter.
Indeed, she has bigger things taking place tonight.
Before Lionel Richie performs an intimate concert post-dinner, Greenbrier owner and chairman Jim Justice asks Jessica to join him onstage for her birthday cake.
“Believe you me, I’ll be a lot more nervous than you are, baby,” he beckons as she makes her way through the crowd. “What this is all about is it’s Jessica’s birthday, and we have got to sing the greatest Happy Birthday to Jessica. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know where she is, but she’s probably going to kill us all. Right now my heart’s beating 60,000 times a minute.”
She bashfully emerges from the side of the stage, saying “I didn’t know about this!” Hundreds of people sing Happy Birthday, and she puts her hands to her chest, saying “This touches my heart.” She heads over to the gigantic cake, and nervously crosses her arms. When she sees one lit sparkler on the cake, Jessica says, “I can blow that out. That’s fantastic for 30 years old, right? I should get a really good wind.” She tells The Greenbrier owner, “I do love your suit jacket – it’s very stylish.”(It’s a silky blue and black floral print.)
But by the time she is ready to “blow out” the sparkler, the flame vanishes.
“My wish is gone!” she says, and dejectedly takes the sparkler off the cake as a keepsake.
Still, her party keeps going. Miss Simpson is celebrated again when Lionel dedicates his ballad Three Times A Lady to her, saying “Jessica, I’m going to dedicate this next song to you. You haven’t been around for the longest time, but you have the number three in common with the song I’m going to play next. You’re not once, you have to be twice, and then you have to be three times a lady, and I love you.”
Voila! Following the concert, it’s time to head over to the ribbon cutting at the Casino Club, where Jessica caps a lineup of stars that also includes Jennifer Garner (hubby Ben Affleck is also on hand), Shaquille O’Neal, Brooke Shields, Jane Seymour, Raquel Welch, Debbie Reynolds and Barbara Eden.
Jessica chats animatedly with Debbie, giving her a hug. What could they be talking about?! I wonder. As soon as Jessica snips the green ribbon with giant gold scissors, she is whisked away to the elevators only to return to her private cottage tucked away on The Greenbrier property.
Founded in 1778, The Greenbrier has something for everyone including the Casino Club, Cold War bunker tour, Greenbrier Spa, whitewater rafting, Tree Top Canopy Tour, horseback riding, falconry, golf, art colony, meditation trail; fine-dining restaurants such as Prime 44 West and The Main Dining Room, casual eateries such as Slammin’ Sammy’s and Draper’s Cafe; tennis, infinity pool, bowling alley, afternoon tea and an array of shops. The Greenbrier: It’s James Bond glitz, Monte Carlo-style gambling and Gone With The Wind-style history and décor, all topped with unmatched Southern hospitality. Bonus: The resort is easily accessible by plane from New York, Cleveland and Atlanta.