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OJ Simpson's double-murder trial wreaked havoc on the Kardashians, temporarily dividing the family

Christie D’Zurilla, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES — Kris Jenner and Robert Kardashian divorced five years before O.J. Simpson went on trial for the 1994 murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. But it was the trial, not the divorce, that forced the Kardashian kids — Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob Jr. — to choose between their parents.

In the 15 months between O.J.’s arraignment and his acquittal, Robert and his ex-wife, Kris, staked out opposing positions on the trial. And as they split over O.J.’s innocence or guilt, their children split in their alliance to their parents. On the day Nicole and Ron were killed, the Kardashian kids were 15, 13, 9 and 7, respectively.

“That was really tough for our family,” Kim told GQ in 2023. “Kourtney and I were drawn to our dad. We felt like Mom was happily remarried, so we would live with Dad. We didn’t want him to be by himself.”

Robert, of course, became a member of O.J.’s “dream team” of defense attorneys. He hadn’t practiced law for 20 years and had to reactivate his license to participate.

Meanwhile, Khloe and Rob Kardashian Jr. hung with their mom. She had remarried and taken on the last name Jenner in April 1991, a month after her divorce from Robert Sr. was finalized.

The Kardashians’ 1991 divorce ended an era in which Kris and Robert and Nicole and O.J. — who died Thursday at age 76— spent a lot of time together as friends. Still, Kris hung with Nicole and Robert with O.J.

 

The men met on a tennis court in 1969 and stayed pals for more than two decades. They shared business interests and both loved the jet-set lifestyle and USC, where the former earned his bachelor’s and the latter earned his Heisman Trophy. Robert was around in 1977 when the running back met Nicole Brown, while O.J. was an usher at Robert’s 1978 wedding to Kris Houghton.

O.J. married Nicole in 1985. They divorced in 1992, and an attempt at reconciliation the next year failed. Then, on June 12, 1994, waiter Ron Goldman walked the 10 minutes from Mezzaluna, where Nicole had eaten dinner with family, to her Brentwood condo. He was returning glasses she had left behind after the meal.

The two were brutally slain outside her front door, and the rest — including the effects it had on the Kardashian clan — became history.

As the investigation began, Robert wound up carrying the notorious bulging Louis Vuitton bag that O.J. had brought home on June 13, 1994, after a quick overnight trip to Chicago. Prosecutors suspected it might have contained bloody clothes or perhaps even a murder weapon and later wanted to quiz Robert on its contents, but he told them he’d never looked inside and had been rebuffed when he tried to give it to authorities in the first place.

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