WENTZ: There was a time when I couldn’t fly. I wouldn’t get on a plane. If I saw a plane crash on the news, it meant my flight would crash the next day. If there were babies on the plane, it meant the plane wouldn’t crash. If I was on the same flight as the rest of the band, it meant the plane would crash.
PLAYBOY: That’s pretty obsessive.
WENTZ: If I saw people who were flying without a lot of luggage, I would decide they were terrorists. And—this is crazy; I’ve never told anybody about this before—I’d walk over and say, “Hey, did we go to high school together?” to try to get them to tell me what they were doing. Anxiety generalizes really fast, and soon after that I couldn’t ride in the tour bus, couldn’t go on elevators. It was heading toward agoraphobia.
PLAYBOY: You’ve seen a few therapists. Why do you think you became obsessed with death?
WENTZ: Fall Out Boy was on the precipice of this thing that could be giant or could be a flop. I couldn’t micromanage everything in my life anymore. Also, I just thought I wasn’t a good person, so it wouldn’t matter if the plane crashed, because God wouldn’t care. I would think, If the plane lands, I’ll become a good person and I’ll never be in a plane crash. And trust me, my belief in God was strictly -airline-related. [laughs] It’s a wonder to me that I came out the other side of those years. I was having depression and manic episodes, plus I had a very short fuse with people. A doctor prescribed me Klonopin and Xanax, and I was abusing prescription drugs.
PLAYBOY: Did your temper ever get you into real trouble? Have you ever been arrested?
WENTZ: I was arrested the day before our first trip to the Video Music Awards, in September 2005. I hit a cop. I had come downtown to the Wicker Park area of Chicago, when I realized that the girl I was dating was cheating on me. I got into my car to leave her, and I smashed it into two other cars. It was like bumper cars. I wasn’t in my right head; this was pure anger and frustration. Then I got out and started punching out car windows. That’s when the police pulled up. I punched the side mirror off a car, and an officer grabbed me. I made an attempt to punch him as well. It was pretty pathetic. He handcuffed me and put me in the back of a car. By that point it had become a total Cops moment. The neighbors were outside, and the girl was crying. I had to call my manager from jail and say, “I don’t think I’m going to the VMAs.”
PLAYBOY: How did your relationship with Ashlee start?
WENTZ: I thought she was cute, and I had our management contact her management to get her e-mail address. I invited her to see Fall Out Boy play in L.A., and I knew she was the one when we first hung out. I chased her everywhere on the planet. I was like a caveman—I’d try to club her and drag her back to my cave. She hates when I bring this up, but we were both dating other people, and there was a long time when we were just buddies. I had to prove to her that I was ready to stop being wild.
PLAYBOY: How did you prove that?
WENTZ: It was a war of attrition. I’d call her, write e-mails, write letters. I’d send her CDs and flowers.
PLAYBOY: Can we get Ashlee in here so she can tell her side? [Wentz leaves the room and returns with Simpson]
PLAYBOY: Ashlee, why did you make Pete work so hard?
SIMPSON: I kind of have an issue with trust. But he chased me down for about a year. When I was in London to do Chicago, he would send me the best gifts and cards. My mom was like, “What are you thinking? Go.”
PLAYBOY: Was there a specific moment when Pete finally won you over?
SIMPSON: We were kind of seeing each other, and we planned a trip to Cabo. The day before, I called him and said, “Don’t come.” I kind of freaked out. So I called him that night and said, “Please come.” That’s when I fell in love with him. When he had to leave Cabo to go on tour, I cried.
PLAYBOY: Your mom liked him right away, but what about your dad, Joe? How did he feel about your dating a guy who wore eyeliner and had nude photos on the Internet?
SIMPSON: My dad knows that if he did say something to me, I’d say, “I’m not talking to you.” [laughs] It works a little opposite with me than with Jessica. I’m like, “Don’t tell me what to do.”
WENTZ: The first thing Joe ever said to me was “We saw a little too much of you on the Internet last year, Pete.” It was a funny way to break the ice.
PLAYBOY: Were you nervous when you met Ashlee’s parents?
WENTZ: Joe gets himself a bad rap in the press all the time, but they’re easy to get along with. I know everyone’s like, “He’s being told to say that by the Simpsons.” It’s really not that way. No one tells me what to do, I’ll tell you that.