Nicole Simpson looked stunning in a black two-piece jogging suit as she trotted along the tree-lined boulevard in West Los Angeles.
Motorists took their eyes off the road to admire her shapely form. Some even tooted their horns. It was another sunny day in the wealthy, fashionable suburb of Brentwood and 35-year-old Nicole was feeling great.
She gulped in the warm air and yelled to her running partner, doctor’s wife Cora Fischman: “I feel so free now. I feel like I can do anything I want.”
Then she gasped: “You know what, Cora – I’m not afraid of him any more.”
It was Friday, June 10, 1994, and by “him,” Nicole was clearly referring to O.J. Simpson, sports legend, all-American hero and the brutal, womanizing man to whom she had been married for seven years. She had recently dashed O.J.’s last hope of reconciliation.
Four days later, Ron Hardy, neighbor and good friend of Nicole, washed away a “river of blood” from the tiled entrance to her Bundy Drive condominium – blood that had gushed from the horrendous stab wounds inflicted on her body and that of her waiter friend, Ronald Goldman, 25.
“It was the most macabre feeling,” Hardy tells STAR. “Nicole’s cousin Rolf Baur was helping me, but he couldn’t handle it. It was too much for the poor guy. He had to go inside.
“I hosed down the tiles and thought: ‘I’ve got to get the place clean for Nicole.’ Then as I brushed away the last drop of blood, I realized: ‘She won’t be coming back here. This is her I’m sweeping away. This is my final contact with her: I’ve only got my memories now.'”
Such memories are part of a fascinating, and sometimes shocking, STAR investigation into Nicole’s tormented world – details gathered from the people who knew her best.
Nicole was barely 18 when she met O.J. a year after her graduation from Dana Point High School in Southern California. She was a waitress at the Daisy Club in Beverly Hills. He was 30 and smitten.
She was thrust into a world of fast cars, designer clothes and jet-set travel. And by the time Nicole became his second wife in 1985, she was already familiar with the dark side of O.J. – his violent temper, his regular use of cocaine and his rampant womanizing.
Cora Fischman says that Nicole was well aware of the other women.
“But she loved O.J. so much she was able to live with it for years. It was part of her denial. They had kids and she wanted to keep the family together,” recalls Cora.
But the final straw for Nicole after seven years of stormy marriage, was learning that O.J. had shared a string of women with Magic Johnson – who later revealed he was HIV-infected.
Sources tell STAR that Nicole “went ballistic” after being told by girlfriends that O.J. had taken part in orgies at the basketball star’s Bel-Air home.
“It was one of the biggest explosions of their entire marriage and this time O.J. was on the receiving end,” says another pal of Nicole.
O.J. had “reluctantly” moved out and based himself at the villa he owned in Laguna Beach. Six weeks later, after phoning Nicole up to 10 times a day and telling her he’d “turned over a new leaf,” he was still on the outs.
But with Christmas approaching, Nicole did get back on speaking terms with O.J., but only to reiterate her divorce plans.
“The Magic Johnson connection wasn’t the sole reason for her seeking to divorce O.J.'” according to the friend. “And it wasn’t the main reason, either. The hideous physical torment that she suffered was the underlying reason for ending the marriage.
“But the frightening specter of O.J.’s link to Magic and the accompanying AIDS fears was the final straw. She thought: ‘He batters me, abuses me… and now you could give the AIDS virus. I’ve had enough.'”
A couple of months later they were legally separated.
Kris Jenner, the wife of Olympic decathlon champ Bruce and a longtime friend of Nicole: “Nicole and O.J. were unique. When she was married to him, there was no better wife. She was a great wife and a great mom.
“But O.J. controlled Nicole. I came to realize how controlled she really was.”
Star Magazine (October 25 1994)