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'Newlywed' dines at local establishments

Jan. 28, 2004

By Alexis Parrish, reporter

Dressed in jeans and a tie-dye sweatshirt, hair in a messy ponytail and no makeup, Jessica Simpson walked into Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q hardly noticed.

That is until a team of MTV cameramen with microphones and Secret Service-like ear pieces followed her in 20 minutes later. Wearing black velour jumpsuits with MTV Productions emblazoned on the back, the camera crew immediately began filming as Simpson made her way through the serving line.

It's hard to imagine the same person who asked husband Nick Lachey 'Is that weird, taking my Louis Vuitton bag camping?' on MTV's Newlyweds walking into a barbecue restaurant void of the glamour and glitz that follows stars of her stature.

Simpson, who was in town for the Thanksgiving holiday to spend time with family, visited a few local restaurants in addition to Rudy's, including Treff's on Austin Avenue. Simpson's grandparents and cousin live in Waco.

'[The MTV camera crew] called and asked us if it was OK for them to come in to eat, and we said it was cool,' Brad Doan, a Rudy's manager, said.

Along with Simpson and the camera crew were her mother, sister and grandparents.

Simpson and her family laughed and ate their barbecue on the patio, trying not to be too distracted from normal conversation by the huge, fluffy microphone dangling above their heads or the wall of cameramen around the table.

While in Rudy's, Simpson excited a group of nearby high school cheerleaders. Their moms desperately searched for a camera among their group so they could establish proof that Jessica Simpson, TV icon and pop princess, had actually eaten only yards away.

Simpson, who took her time eating, was there about an hour and a half. She may not know the difference between tuna and chicken, but she managed to settle on brisket - the lean selection of course - after reviewing a menu board full of various meats. As a native Texan, her decision may have been made easier since barbecue is so prevalent here.

Born in Abilene, Simpson attended high school at J.J. Pearce in Richardson.

'She was always very outreaching and took it upon herself to guide us and mentor us,' Sarah Bodie, a Garland senior who attended church with Simpson, said. 'I always looked up to her and respected her.'

Simpson's parents also attended Baylor. Bodie said Simpson had planned on attending Baylor with her close friends until her career took off and she began concert tours.

Watch for highlights of Simpson's November trip to Waco and the Temple area in an upcoming episode.

Newlyweds airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on MTV.