The deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, explained

The deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, explained
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Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were casual friends. But on June 12, 1994, the two became forever linked when they were fatally stabbed outside Nicole’s home in Los Angeles.

Now, 30 years later, a docuseries is exploring the gruesome event and its aftermath. “The Life & Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson,” airs June 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

Before tuning in, learn more about the victims below, including how the pair met, why they were together on that fateful night and how they died.

Who was Nicole Brown Simpson?

Nicole Brown Simpson (David Eulitt / Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)
Nicole Brown Simpson (David Eulitt / Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

With a German mother and an American father, Nicole Brown Simpson was the second of four daughters, CNN reported. After the family moved from West Germany to the United States, she attended high school in California and graduated in 1976.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Nicole attended community college while working in a boutique. Changing paths, she took a serving position at a trendy Beverly Hills club called Daisy, a spot her future husband, O.J. Simpson, frequented.

Nicole met O.J. when she was 18 years old. Already a success on the football field, the 29-year-old was a few years from retirement. He was also married, and his wife, Marguerite Whitley, was pregnant. Though the two would divorce in 1979, Nicole and O.J. were already in the throes of a relationship.

“It was a very passionate, a very volatile, a very obsessive relationship. On both sides,” Cathy Lee Crosby, a longtime friend of O.J.’s, told the Times in 1994.

Shortly after they began dating, Nicole dropped out of college because O.J. “required that she be with him,” her divorce lawyer noted in a brief filed in 1992 (which the Times had access to), and moved in with him.

“(He) wanted me to be available to travel with him whenever his career required him to go to a new location, even if it was for a short period of time,” Nicole said in an affidavit filed during the divorce, per the Times. “I have no other college education, and I hold no degrees.”

They had their good times. For the 1984 Summer Olympics, O.J. carried the torch in Santa Monica, California, with Nicole running close behind him, The Hollywood Reporter noted. And the two shared the screen in the 1980 film “Detour to Terror.”

But their fights were frequent, even before getting married in 1985. As the Times reported, sometimes Nicole moved out, and sometimes O.J. threw her out.

OJ Simpson Has Passed Away (Ralph Dominguez / Media Punch via AP)
OJ Simpson Has Passed Away (Ralph Dominguez / Media Punch via AP)

Nicole and O.J. had two children: Sydney Brooke Simpson in 1985 and Justin Ryan Simpson in 1988. A year later, however, another instance of domestic abuse made headlines.

At 3:30 in the morning, officers reported to the home of Nicole and O.J. According to the police report, Nicole rushed across the lawn in sweatpants and a bra, crying, “He’s going to kill me, he’s going to kill me,” The New York Times reported.

She had a black eye, a split lip and a handprint on her neck. The report also noted that she blamed the police for only ever “talking” to O.J. and then leaving. Later, O.J. pleaded no contest to spousal battery and claimed the incident was no big deal.

In 1992, the two divorced. Nicole was awarded $433,750 and $10,000 per month in child support. She continued to be an attentive mother, occasionally dated and went to therapy. But shortly after, Nicole and O.J. reconciled.

Soon after, troubling patterns emerged again. In 1993, Nicole called 911 and told the dispatcher, per the L.A. Times, “He broke down the door to get in. … He’s going to beat the s--- out of me.”

Eventually, the reconciliation was off, and O.J. began dating model Paula Barbieri. The night before Nicole was killed, he brought his new girlfriend to a black-tie event.

The day before she died, Nicole called her friend Kris Jenner to make lunch plans for the next day. On “The View” in 2014, Kris said that Nicole wanted to tell her something “very important” about her “volatile” relationship with O.J., but they never met.

On the day of her death, Nicole attended a dance recital for Sydney, but sat apart from O.J. Six hours later, she was dead.

Who was Ron Goldman?

Ron Goldman (Lee Celano / WireImage)
Ron Goldman (Lee Celano / WireImage)

Ron Goldman was born in Illinois. His parents divorced when he was young, and he was mostly raised by his father, Frederic Goldman, according to another story in the L.A. Times. At 18, Ron left college and moved with his family to Southern California.

He became a licensed emergency medical technician, but then decided he wanted to own a bar or restaurant. Working in the service industry, he also got into modeling, coaching tennis and television, appearing on the dating show “Studs” in 1992.

“He tended to get into something and then say, ‘Oh, well, maybe not,’” his sister, Kim Goldman, told the L.A. Times. “He was in the process of trying to pinpoint where his niche was.”

While working as a waiter at a restaurant called Mezzaluna, Ron and Nicole became friends. Sometimes on his way to work, he’d stop at a Starbucks near the apartment where his friends lived. Together, they would grab coffee and occasionally run into Nicole.

As the L.A. Times explained, the group hung out at the coffee shop, chatting about their plans for the day and upcoming auditions. One night, Nicole let Ron drive her and a friend in her white convertible Ferrari to an Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills, but friends insisted their relationship was just friendly and casual.

“If he was having a relationship with her, he would have told us,” pal Jeff Keller told the Times.

On the Sunday he died, Ron was working at Mezzaluna. Afterward, he had plans to go out with the bartender. But before his shift ended, the restaurant got a call from Nicole, who had dined there earlier that evening. She said she’d left a pair of glasses behind. Ron then left to return the item.

How did Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman die?

According to a timeline published on the Courier-Post, Nicole went home after the dinner following the dance recital. At some point that night, Ron arrived to return the glasses.

Shortly after midnight, Nicole and Ron were found outside Nicole’s home. Nicole had been stabbed seven times in the neck, and had a gash across her throat, according to Vincent Bugliosi’s 2008 book “Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away with Murder”; one wound nearly decapitated her, and she had defensive wounds on her hands.

Ron was stabbed more than 15 times, including fatal wounds to his neck, chest and abdomen, The Washington Post reported in 1995. He also had several pokes in the face from a sharp object, possibly to see if he was still alive, according to United Press International.

According to Biography, Nicole was buried June 16 in Lake Forest, California; when her parents died in 2014 and 2020, they were interred next to her. Ron was buried in Westlake Village, California.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com