Wednesday, April 18, 2018

White or Nothing! The Bubble Bursts...

The O.J. Simpson case has become such a public obsession that most people can recite the location of the bloody glove, the time Nicole called her mother or the number of stab wounds inflicted on Ronald Goldman. 

But the man who will be tried next month on national television remains something of a mystery of his own making. In fact, Simpson lived a double life.

The corporate spokesman who drank an occasional beer with hertz executives was also a hard partyer, Newsweek's reporters found, who cruised bars and indulged in drugs and random sex. His wife believed he was a cocaine addict; his friends who saw him on the prowl at wild parties in Los Angeles, thought his real addiction was white women. The smooth talker took lessons to make his diction more "white." The family man was seldom home...

Simpson was smug about his womanizing. "Groupies would have been a problem in my youth, when I was insecure and needed to prove something," he told People magazine in 1977. "Now, that I'm older, let's say I'm more selective. My wife knows I'm under control."

Asked by a New York Daily News reporter the same year what he considered sexy in a woman, Simpson answered, "Health and innocence. California types... I'm in love with Farrah Fawcett-Majors' looks."

Nicole Brown, a nubile teenager from Dana Point, California was close enough...

Simpson met the 18-year-old homecoming princess in 1977 while she was waitressing at a Rodeo Drive disco, and they started dated immediately. He separated from Marguerite a year later - about the time he and Nicole began living together.

Just as the divorce came through, OJ and Marguerite's baby daughter, Aaren, drowned in their swimming pool. Simpson blamed Marguerite, and was quoted at the time as saying that he hadn't known his little girl very well.

He later credited Nicole with helping him to get through the transition from football to show business.

After living together for six years, they were married in 1985, and had their first child eight months later. Blond, well-dressed, she looked impressive on his arm as they arrived at a party in Beverly Hills or Brentwood. But not everyone was fooled.

A black actress who worked with Simpson on the TV docu-drama "Roots" recalled seeing him around town "so happy-go-lucky with his young white wife, pretty clothes and fancy cars, all I could remember was the black wife I met him with years ago and how sad she looked then. That was a bubble bound to burst."

Simpson's world offered plenty of opportunities to wander... "I never saw O.J. connect with a sister," said one NBA player who ran with Simpson on the party circuit. "Most womanizers I know go for any woman, but not O.J. - it was white or nothing."

Nicole was not shy herself, and she enraged O.J. by flirting with other men. Some accounts say she was brazen, almost taunting Simpson, but Nicole's friends say that she was just fighting back in the only way she knew how.

The cycle escalated and became openly confrontational. The NBA player recalled a party at a beach house in Malibu: "O.J. was on his usual prowl and Nicole seemed to be cool about it for a while. Then she just snapped and went over to him and yelled 'You aren't s--t,' along with some other choice words. The party was pretty low-key so it got everyone's attention. O.J. was really burning up and led her outside, but they left moments later."

Simpson's black friends were wary of Nicole, whom they regarded as a gold digger with "an attitude."

"I mean, from a black male's perspective, a woman - any woman - publicly yelling at you is just too much to deal with and very insulting," said a pro-basketball player who often saw the two spar with each other at parties.

Nicole threatened Simpson's desire for control. "I don't believe in equality in a relationship," Simpson told an interviewer a decade ago. Someone, he said, had to have "the upper hand."

The Double Life of O.J. Simpson for Newsweek Magazine 
August 29 1994

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