Everything the Kardashians have said about OJ Simpson

Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson has died at the age of 76 following a battle with cancer.

On Thursday 11 April, Simpson’s family announced his death on his Twitter/X account. “On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” the statement read. “He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren.”

While Simpson was previously regarded as one of the greatest running backs in American football, he became a controversial figure in the ‘90s after his highly-publicised trial for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Simpson was accused, charged and ultimately acquitted of murdering Brown and Goldman in 1994.

For what was referred to as “the trial of the century,” the late Robert Kardashian Sr reactivated his law license to serve on Simpson’s defense team. Although Robert died in 2003 from esophageal cancer, his famous family has continued to be open about how they were affected by the trial.

Robert’s ex-wife Kris Jenner and his daughters - Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian - have explained how the trial created a divide within their family. Kim, who’s studying to become a lawyer, has also poked fun at how her father’s work with Simpson has shaped her own career.

Here’s a rundown of everything that the Kardashian-Jenner family has said about Simpson’s trial, and their relationship to their father’s close friend.

What did Kris Jenner think about the trial, and how did it impact her relationship with her ex-husband?

Years after the trial, Kris Jenner was extremely vocal about the death of her friend Nicole Brown Simpson. During an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians in 2019, she reminisced about a Los Angeles restaurant that she and Brown would frequently visit.

“We sat right over there,” Kris said. “And I could tell you what she ordered - she ordered the white fish with the spinach and the roasted potatoes. And I think she had a margarita.”

“The fact that we’re looking at the same menus we all had when we were going there all those years ago with Nicole,” she continued, speaking to pal Faye Resnick. “I feel like it was just meant to be, that this is where we are to celebrate her life.”

In her 2011 memoir, Kris Jenner… And All Things Kardashian, she shared intense details about Brown’s relationship with Simpson, writing that Brown had been abused by Simpson and had photographs of it, along with other evidence. “Nicole really wanted someone close to her to know what was going on, so that somebody - namely me - could be a witness,” she wrote, per Radar Online.

In 2020, Kim Kardashian sat down for a conversation with David Letterman with Kris in the audience. The reality star shared that while growing up with her parents, who divorced in 1991, Kris had different views about the trial than Robert.

“My mom was extremely vocal on her feelings, she believed that her friend was murdered by him and that was really traumatising for her,” she said. “And then we’d go to my dad’s house and it was a whole other situation there.”

Kim continued: “We didn’t really know what to believe or whose side to take as kids, because we didn’t want to hurt one of our parents’ feelings.”

How did the trial affect Kris and Robert’s young children?

While the former couple’s four children - Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, and Robert Kardashian Jr - were quite young when the trial happened, they’ve since recalled some of the ways it affected their family. During her 2020 interview with Letterman, Kim reflected on how she and her siblings were divided due to their parents’ opposing views on the trial.

“My dad took us to court one day and he took us out of school and he didn’t tell my mom,” she said. “And I remember my mom was sitting with Nicole’s parents, and Kourtney and I were sitting right behind OJ. And we look over at my mom and she’s giving this death stare, like, ‘What are you doing out of school? What are you doing here?’”

She continued: “It kind of tore our family apart. I’d say for the whole time of the trial.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Although Kim had vivid memories about going to court during the trial, that wasn’t necessarily the case for her younger sister, Khloe.

“Kourtney and Kim would go to court with my dad all the time. They were much more involved,” Khloe told Access Hollywood in 2016. “We were kids. I think I was eight or something, so we’re all sheltered from that. For us, we’re just playing and hanging out. So, I don’t remember it as vividly as Kourtney and Kim do.”

In 1991, Kris remarried Caitlyn Jenner - who publicly came out as a transgender woman in 2015. Before Caitlyn and Kris ended their marraige, the decathlete also detailed how the trial affected their family. During an appearance on Dr Phil in 2009, Caitlyn shared the “difficult” conversations she had with Kris and Robert’s daughters during the trial.

“I remember the day the verdict came through and the girls came in and they said, ‘I told you he didn’t do it,’” the Olympian recalled. “We sat down and I said, ‘Look, just because he got a not guilty verdict doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, and I just don’t want to hear his name anymore.’ And I had a lot of conversations with Robert to try to make sure it didn’t tear the family apart.”

Kim Kardashian has poked fun about the trial

Although Kim was only 13 at the time, she has since shared many details about her memories during the trial.

She previously claimed that she went through Simpson’s infamous Louis Vuitton garment bag, which was a major source of speculation throughout the trial. Her father was seen carrying the bag just after Simpson was accused of murdering Brown, as prosecutors speculated it had contained evidence. In 1996, Robert told CNN he tried to give the bag to police but they refused to take it.

Speaking to GQ in 2016, Kim defended her father by saying she went through the bag herself as an unassuming teenager. “I know people said at the time that he [joined Simpson’s defense team] so he couldn’t be called as a witness, because he had that Louis Vuitton bag that supposedly had the [murder] weapon and stuff like that,” she told the outlet. “But that bag was sitting at my dad’s house. I remember I went through it. The news was like, ‘Where is this Louis Vuitton bag?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh it’s upstairs’.”

She also claimed that all that was in the bag was “just toiletries and clothes and golf clothes”.

“Just random stuff,” Kim added. “I’m pretty sure it’s, like, still in - probably in my dad’s storage”.

Kim has since taken steps to become a lawyer herself, and previously made a quip about how Simpson’s trial has affected her career. When she hosted Saturday Night Live in 2021, Kim joked in her opening monologue that she was a part of her father’s defense team for the trial.

“I think I’m following in my father’s footsteps. My father was and still is such an influence and inspiration to me and I credit him with really opening my eyes to racial injustice,” she said. “It’s because of him I met my first Black person. Want to take a stab in the dark at who it was? I know it’s sort of weird to remember your first Black person you met, but OJ [Simpson] does leave a mark. Or none at all, I still don’t know.”

Nicole Brown’s sister Tanya later hit back at Kim’s opening monologue joke, calling it “beyond inappropriate and insensitive”.

“If she and her family loved Nicole so much as they claimed, this was done in very poor taste,” she said at the time, per People. “I think the taste of writers at SNL was beyond inappropriate and insensitive as was the reaction in the audience.”

“Regarding Kim, I believe everyone has a choice to control what they speak on,” Tanya continued. “She easily could have said, ‘This is inappropriate and disrespectful to everyone! Not only for Nicole and Ron, but for all victims of domestic violence who were murdered by their significant others.’”

What did the famous family think about The People vs OJ Simpson?

In 2016, FX released a limited series about Simpson’s trial, The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. Cuba Gooding Jr played Simpson himself, while David Schwimmer played Robert Kardashian and Selma Blair portrayed Kris Jenner. John Travolta also starred as celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro, who was on Simpson’s defense team.

When the show first aired, the Kardashian-Jenner clan had mixed reactions to it. In an appearance on The Late Late Showin 2016, Khloe claimed not all of the scenes were a reflection of real events. She claimed Simpson threatened to take his life in her room, not in her sister Kim’s bedroom, and disputed a scene where the Kardashian children are shown chanting the family name when Robert appears on TV.

“They’ve done a great job,” she told host James Corden. “I appreciate the way they’ve portrayed my father. They’re kind of sensationalising the Kardashian name in it, but I think to bring a younger audience in.”

She continued: “I’m not upset about it but there was some scene of the kids chanting ‘Kardashians’ when my dad was reading the potential suicide note. I even called Kim because I was like 10 and said, ‘Did that really happen? I don’t remember any of this happening.’ And she goes, ‘Absolutely not. That didn’t happen!’”

Kim went on to praise some parts of the show, such as how her father was portrayed by Schwimmer. “There were times I was watching it and I was like, ‘Oh shit, this is dead-on,’” she told GQ in 2016. “Like, ‘That looks like my dad. It feels like my dad.’ It was eerie to watch sometimes.”

However, she did take issue with the scene about Simpson’s potential suicide note. “I don’t think those parts were accurate,” she said. “I think our ages were off and our looks were off.”

“[The show] said [OJ] tried to kill himself in my bedroom and it was Khloé’s bedroom, not my bedroom,” Kim added.