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Nicole Brown Simpson’s Sisters React to OJ’s Death (Exclusive)

Nicole Brown Simpson’s three sisters are breaking their silence on the recent death of OJ Simpson.

When OJ died of cancer on April 10 at age 76, Tanya, 54, Dominique, 59, and eldest Brown sister Denise, 66, had mixed feelings.

“It’s very complicated,” says Dominique in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Tanya added: “This is a person who has been in our lives for a long time and who has wreaked havoc on our family. It’s like the end of a chapter.”

(R) PEOPLE coverage; (L) Denise Brown, Dominique Brown, Tanya Brown.

Victoria Stevens


On June 12, 1994, Nicole, 35, and her boyfriend Ron Goldman, 25, were found brutally stabbed to death in the courtyard of her condominium in Brentwood, Los Angeles. Although he was acquitted of the double murders in the so-called “trial of the century” in October 1995, OJ was found liable for the deaths in 1997 in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the Brown and Goldman families.

Denise and Dominique remember the exact day Nicole, then 18 and an aspiring model and photographer, introduced them to OJ in 1977. She had met the then-married football star while working at a restaurant in Los Angeles. “He was just her boyfriend to us,” says Dominique.

OJ Simpson, Nicole Brown Simpson with their two children, Sydney and Justin, in March 1994.

Ron Davis/Getty


But when Nicole invited them to upstate New York to see the famous Buffalo Bills running back play, “he scored a touchdown and looked up at all of us. I thought, ‘Wow, look at this guy. He is amazing,” she says.

But the good times turned bad, as was often the case with OJ, Denise says. “All hell broke loose when we got home that night,” as OJ “flared” when he saw Nicole kiss a mutual male friend on the cheek during the game. “He left her crying in the bathroom upstairs. He said, “You embarrassed me.” ”

When Nicole became pregnant with OJ’s child, she was elated, considering motherhood a crowning achievement. “It just opened her heart even more,” says Dominique. “I think she thought everything would be different if she had a child.” (Nicole and OJ share two children, daughter Sydney, now 38, and son Justin, 35.)

From left: Nicole Brown Simpson’s mother Juditha Brown feeds grandson Aaron (Dominque’s son), Nicole Brown Simpson, OJ Simpson and Sydney Simpson in Hawaii in December 1988.

Thanks to the Brown family


In reality, OJ only became more volatile. “She was pregnant and he called her a fat pig,” Denise remembers.

For more about the life of Nicole Brown Simpson, as shared by her three sisters, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue on newsstands Friday.

In a new Lifetime documentary series titled The life and murder of Nicole Brown Simpsonwhich airs two nights on June 1 and 2, the sisters recount an incident during a family vacation in Hawaii when OJ attacked Nicole after a gay restaurant patron at an adjacent table kissed their son Justin on the forehead.

Still, after everything they’d seen over the years, I thought they were isolated incidents, says Denise.

Tanya says she only learned the extent of OJ’s violence during his trial for her sister’s murder. “I looked at the pictures, and then I looked at him, and I remember saying, ‘How can you do something like this to someone you love?’ (The photos of Nicole’s bruised face shown in court were taken by Denise in 1989.)

When Denise heard about her sister’s violent death, she immediately felt in her stomach who was responsible.

“The moment my mother got the call, I heard this screaming from my parents’ bedroom,” she says. “It was heartbreaking. I picked up the phone and the detective said, “Your sister was murdered.” I said, ‘Oh my God, he did it, he finally did it.’ I knew it in my heart (it was OJ).”

Denise Brown testified on February 6, 1995 about OJ Simpson’s violent behavior.

Ken LUBAS/AFP/Getty Images


Tanya says she knew for sure when the DNA evidence — including blood found in OJ’s white Bronco and in his home — was introduced at trial: “DNA doesn’t lie.”

As for Dominique, she refuses to discuss her thoughts on OJ’s guilt. “I’m not going to answer because of the children,” she says, out of respect for her niece and nephew, who were sleeping upstairs at their mother’s home at the time of the murder.

When they think of Nicole today, the Brown sisters gratefully remember the brief period of joy and independence she enjoyed after her divorce from OJ (Nicole filed for divorce in 1992).

“What no one knows she experienced before her death is freedom,” says Dominique. ‘There was a levity about her. She was beaming.”

Tanya added: ‘I’m so glad she had a good time in the last two years of her life. I can’t bring her back, so why don’t you try looking at it that way?’

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or visit thehotline.org. All calls are free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

The life and murder of Nicole Brown Simpson airs over two nights on June 1 and June 2 on Lifetime.

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