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VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Tyler Allen
Nicole Brown Simpson's death has overshadowed her life. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're unpacking the most important overlooked truths about Nicole Brown Simpson, according to the Lifetime documentary series “The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson.” Our countdown includes Nicole met OJ at a young age, Nicole predicted her own death, Nicole left behind a secret diary, and more!

10 Tragic Details About Nicole Brown Simpson's Life and Legacy

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re unpacking the most important overlooked truths about Nicole Brown Simpson, according to the Lifetime documentary series “The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson.”

In death, Nicole has become something of a “mythical victim,” whose life story is retold for her without always taking her recorded accounts into consideration. Meanwhile, most of the media attention has historically been granted to her alleged killer, ex-husband OJ Simpson, who very publicly spun the entire tragedy into a mockery. In the mid-90s, the crime and trial captivated millions of viewers around the globe, who were appalled to see an American football hero tied up in a double-homicide case. The even more shocking “not guilty” verdict and OJ’s post-trial antics set the nation ablaze, further spotlighting the man who many believed had gotten away with murder. Unfortunately, during the entire circus, much of Nicole’s personhood became lost in the mix. That is, until now.

Through conversations with loved ones who knew her best, “The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” finally grants us a closer look at Nicole: the mother, daughter, and friend—not just the victim. With the news of OJ’s passing recentering him in the headlines just before the release of the series, it’s time the narrative finally shifts to Nicole. So here are the most intriguing details we learned about her life, the tumultuous relationship with OJ according to her secret diaries, and what led to her tragic death.

Nicole’s True Legacy Was Tarnished

Part of the defense team’s bid to exonerate OJ meant controlling the jury’s idea of Nicole. Although the defense lawyers didn’t set out to vilify her, they built their case on the notion that she was an active participant in the violent scuffles with OJ. Although this goes against countless eyewitness testimonies, police records, and evidence presented by prosecutors, the narrative stuck. Nicole was smeared in the news as a party girl who had affairs and received numerous abortions. Her identity was picked apart and flaws were invented to manipulate public opinion. Although much of this character assassination was a result of the defense team’s callous fables, some of the general public was also willing to hop on the Nicole hate train because of their love for OJ, and the tension that was still simmering post-LA riots. The rumor mill even produced a theory that her death was a result of her hanging around drug dealers. It’s vital, now, to take a more accurate look back at who Nicole really was in order to dismantle this vicious campaign and restore her true humanity.

Nicole Was a Girl’s Girl

Nicole was raised in a household full of girls, and learned from an early age the value of supporting other women. She bonded especially closely with her older sister, Denise, with whom she was moved from West Germany to the United States by their parents. Though entering a new country's school system would seem difficult to navigate, the sisters persevered by leaning on each other. The duo’s younger siblings, Dominique and Tanya, would be born soon after. Nicole even had two half-sisters from her father’s previous marriage, Wendy and Margit. This deep love for her sisters transformed into a deep love for her girlfriends later in life. In the series, a number of her closest friends speak out about how fiercely she stood by them. When one of her best friends, Faye Resnick, was struggling with substance use disorder, she insisted on getting her into treatment and supporting her on the road to recovery.

Nicole Was a Wonderful Stepmom

Many don't realize that Nicole was actually involved in the lives of OJ's kids from his previous marriage. Although she was incredibly young at the time, she took on the part of stepmother with grace. OJ’s daughter, Arnelle, was less accepting of Nicole, but his son, Jason, latched onto her. Because Jason didn’t get along with OJ, Nicole stepped into the protector role. Throughout the series, family friends comment on how Nicole went out of her way to make sure Arnelle and Jason felt welcomed and loved in their home.

Nicole Met OJ at a Young Age

When Nicole first laid eyes on OJ she was a young waitress at The Daisy, a nightclub he frequented in Beverly Hills. Nicole was just 18 to OJ’s 30, and loved ones recall being put off by how obsessive he had already become. According to a family friend, Nicole had come back from their first date with her jeans zipper torn off. Sadly, this would kick off a pattern of red flags. Nicole insisted she was in love, head over heels for this celebrity who’d taken an interest in her.3 The context of their meeting and her naivety allowed OJ to force his way into her life, where he would assert a disturbing level of control.

Nicole’s Image Was Tightly Managed

Years before Nicole’s image was controlled by the vulture-like media, it was controlled by OJ.
As a public figure, OJ was keen to have this bombshell arm-candy by his side. But this meant that Nicole would have to carry herself in a very particular way. It became clear to those close to her that she was being molded by him, and this control over Nicole even spilled over to her family, with OJ insisting that all the women, including her mother Judy, had to have manicures and pedicures at all times. This domineering force was applied to absurd degrees, even when Nicole was pregnant with their first child. Reportedly, OJ also forbade Nicole from giving birth naturally or nursing.

Nicole’s Marriage Hinged on a Fairytale

Sadly, the physical abuse started very early in their relationship. Although she articulated her frustrations to both OJ and her family, Nicole was willing to stick by him for many years. She dreamed of a fairytale wedding, a beautiful home, and a lovely marriage. But this may have simply been a coping mechanism to distract herself from the reality of their situation. Nicole’s mother also tried to overlook a lot of the bad because she was happy that Nicole had become entangled with such a successful, All-American hero. The dark truth was that OJ had Nicole pinned right where he wanted her, and she was at his mercy. Despite this, Nicole’s friends commended her for her refusal to cower or give up her voice. This fairytale illusion was fragile and bound to dissolve. And so she filed for divorce in 1992, seeking out a new nest for herself and her kids.

Nicole Actually Reconciled with OJ

While the divorce was very public, Nicole's reconciliation with OJ was a quiet but shocking twist. In all actuality, they started to see each other again because OJ had been stalking and threatening Nicole. She genuinely feared for her family's safety, so she tried to placate him. But this second chance didn’t last long, as the abuse ramped up again and Nicole was forced to call 911. This concerning decision to take OJ back suggests not only her desperation, but the lack of support and resources for those suffering from domestic violence at the time.

Nicole Predicted Her Own Death

In one of the most disturbing scenes of the documentary, a family friend reveals that Nicole had actually predicted that OJ would kill her. He’d put this idea in her head by repeatedly threatening her life, but she even forecasted the manner in which he would execute it. Tragically, in June of 1994, Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman were discovered outside her home with fatal stab wounds.

Nicole Left Behind a Secret Diary

Because she was so fearful of what OJ might do to her, Nicole wisely documented evidence of his violent outbursts with polaroid photographs and journal entries that described every ordeal. This secret diary would be discovered in a safe deposit box right before the trial, surely a key piece of evidence for the prosecutors. The messages from the grave poked holes in OJ’s planned defense, ultimately opening the floodgates for witnesses who came forward to validate her writings. Yet, shockingly, Nicole’s own words were barred from court as they were determined to be “inadmissible hearsay”.

Nicole’s Death Inspired Advocacy

In response to the verdict and mistreatment of Nicole’s memory, her sisters and many others made it their mission to advocate for Nicole. Her legacy was championed through campaigns to raise awareness about domestic violence, and to create a system for reporting it. Through books, TV appearances, and grassroots work, the fight to educate the public about the reality of Nicole’s tragic story is still underway. And “The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” serves as another tool in this battle. By collectively celebrating Nicole for the woman she truly was, the healing process can finally begin. It’s only through appreciating the authentic life she lived that we can truly seek some form of justice for her untimely end.