By MICHAEL GLYNN and HAL LIFSON
Ashlee Simpson has told her father to “butt out”of her relationship with hunky band member Braxton Olita.
Pals say the perky pop star considers herself “pre-engaged” to 20-year-old Braxton, who plays guitar in her backup band. The pair have been dating since late last fall.
Rumors are swirling that manager-dad Joe Simpson‘s meddling was a factor in big sister Jessica‘s split with Nick Lachey, but Ashlee’s not going to tolerate any interference.
“Ashlee loves her dad dearly, but she’s fiercely independent, and she is determined to live her own life separate from her parents,” said a close family friend.
Sources say it’s only a matter of time before Ashlee, 21, and Braxton tie the knot. “There’s no date or ring yet, but there’s a deep commitment,” said the friend.
“When Joe suggested his younger daughter play the field, she held up her hand and told him to back off.
“Now that she and Braxton are talking marriage, she’s giving her father advance warning that his advice is one wedding present she can live without.”
“Ashlee’s never been a pushover for her parents,” said another close source. “She’s pretty much told Joe he can like it or lump it.”