Football superstar O.J. Simpson's ex-wife told friends she feared for her life in the weeks before her brutal murder.
A STAR investigation has uncovered a shocking pattern of violence, obsession and jealousy in the volatile relationship between Simpson - who went on to fame in movies, TV and commercials - and his beautiful blonde wife, Nicole Simpson.
Nicole Simpson, 35, and her male companion Ronald Goldman, 25, were found savagely slain outside her luxury condominium in posh West Los Angeles last week.
But as the story of his ex-wife's death unfolded in Hollywood last week, it sounded more incredible than the wildest movie script.
Friends say Nicole lived in fear of the one-time Buffalo Bill's superstar. O.J. had been convicted of beating her up five years ago after allegedly screaming: "I'm going to kill you!". But the couple still continued their on-again, off-again relationship.
"He would drive past her home at all hours of the day and night hoping to catch a glimpse of her. he wanted a reconciliation," says a source.
"In April, a friend saw her shopping in the market and she was wearing sunglasses. She told the friend it was because O.J. had given her a black eye.
"A week before she died, she told friends she thought she was being followed. O.J. and Nicole separated many times and she would usually begin dating young, gorgeous guys with no brains. It was a very sick relationship they had."
Nicole's sister-in-law Maria Brown tells STAR:
"She and O.J. had a lot of problems. He was real jealous, wouldn't even let her talk to another man.
"She never really talked to me about the beatings, but her brother Rolf, knew and it made him mad."
Another source says O.J. recently confronted Nicole about taking drugs - specifically crack - and threatened he would go the authorities.
But other friends paint Nicole as a caring, loving mother, who put her two youngsters ahead of everything, and encouraged O.J. to visit them.
"She was a terrific mother," says pal Grant Cramer. "And I think she always loved O.J., but they just couldn't live together. For their sake she moved out of the house, not because she wanted to split the family up".
"She wanted them to see as much of their father as they could. She brought them over every weekend."
The shocking murder took place on Sunday night, June 12 - hours after Nicole and O.J. attended a school dance recital for one of their children.
Neighbor Amy Hartunian, whose daughter is a pupil at the same dance school, saw the proud parents together just hours before Nicole's murder. "I can't believe this happened," she says. "She was on top of the world. She looked great."
Star Magazine (June 28 1994)