Jessica Simpson has praised her boyfriend for "bringing out the light" in her.

The singer-and-actress started dating NFL football player Eric Johnson - who has previously played for the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints - in June and credits him with her newfound happiness.

Speaking to the USA Today newspaper at the Women's Conference in Long Beach, California, on Monday (25.10.10), she said: "He definitely makes me very happy. He brings out a lot of light In Me and makes me very comfortable being who I am. It's nice to be with somebody who praises you for the right reasons."

Jessica - who was previously married to singer Nick Lachey - has hinted marriage could be on the cards for her and 31-year-old Eric, who filed for divorce from his wife in February.

She said: "I am from the south so I've definitely dreamed of being married my whole life and having children, so hopefully that's in my future."

The 30-year-old blonde beauty also confessed the constant comments about her fluctuating weight had gotten her down in the past.

She explained: "There's no way you're not going to be affected by the ugly things people say about you. It's very hurtful. It definitely brings up a lot of your own insecurities. It takes a great family and wonderful friends - and love definitely helps, too - to get through it."

However, Jessica revealed she is happier than ever since turning 30 this summer and believes she has now "come of age."

She said: "I love being 30. The moment I turned 30, I really did feel a switch in my life. I was in Capri and I was with my boyfriend and my family and my friends, and I just felt this coming of age moment, this moment where I really just felt the happiest I've ever been and I love the woman inside of me."