Prior to Nicole Brown Simpson's murder, her ex-husband O.J. Simpson dated brunette bombshell Paula Barbieri. Throughout the whole trial, the model/actress remained by her boyfriend's side. But in the book, The Other Woman, My Years with O.J. Simpson: A Story of Love, Trust, and Betrayal, she wrote in 1997—after they had broken up and after he had been found not guilty of murder—Barbieri claimed that had secretly wished for her rival Nicole to disappear.
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Upon learning the news that Nicole and Ron Goldman had been "found dead," Barbieri said that she knelt down and asked for forgiveness from Nicole. "How many times had I wished—my awful secret, breathed aloud to no one—that Nicole would just vanish from the face of this earth?" she wrote in her book. "I was asking for forgiveness from the person I'd despised in my most anguished hours. I had been full of resentment because she'd beaten me and taken my man… I was sickened with guilt."
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During Barbieri's relationship with Simpson, he lied to her about his ties to Nicole. During one such incident, Simpson had promised to meet Barbieri for a golf lesson, but ditched her to instead spend time with his ex-wife and children. "'You know I really like you, and I need to tell you this,'" Barbieri claimed that OJ said. "I lied to you when I said I was playing golf today. I was at Disneyland with Nicole and the kids.'"
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Barbieri's first interaction with Nicole felt awkward. "I assumed we'd get along," she recalled. "Nicole nodded her hello and walked past me. She looked preoccupied, or in a hurry to get the kids out of there. I was left with my hand out, feeling foolish."
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According to Barbieri, the first time she realized that Nicole was still a part of Simpson's life, dated to the holiday season when Nicole showed up uninvited in NYC for Christmas with their children. "I can't believe she's here," Barbieri cited as Simpson's reaction. "It was the first real inkling I had that Nicole would be part of our future, as well as O.J.'s past," she added.
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Nicole started popping up more in Simpson's life. Simpson allegedly told Barbieri that Nicole had shown up at his golf course to flirt with him. On another occasion, he had to go to a dinner that Nicole would be at. Nicole also showed up on a vacation to Mexico that Barbieri had turned down after one of the times she had broken up with Simpson. "Without even realizing it, I had become the pathetic, ridiculous cliché: the Other Woman," Barbieri said. "And so I blamed my bruised heart on an easy target—I blamed it on Nicole."
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Barbieri didn't like it that Nicole slowly came back into Simpson's life. "I could never win out against Nicole—she had too many weapons for me to fight," she explained. "She had history and two young children on her side, and the capacity to use them."
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She blamed Nicole as the reason for her issues with Simpson. "Once you give in to jealousy, there is no telling how low you can sink," Barbieri said. "In my misery, I despised Nicole. I would never say it out loud, not even to myself. But once the terrible thought had formed, it was easy to think it again… and go further. Nicole was ruining my life, taking the man I loved. What gave her that right? I wished she would vanish from the face of the earth."
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Finally, Simpson told Barbieri he was going to give it another go at his relationship with Nicole during a 1-year trial period. Throughout that year, Simpson kept returning to Barbieri with pleas that he had "made a mistake" in going back to his ex-wife. They hooked up twice during that year: first in Dallas, and then in Miami.
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So after Nicole's death, Barbieri felt guilty. "I felt as if I should be in jail," she confessed. "It would be so much easier if it were me instead of him. Wasn't I the one who had wished Nicole gone?"
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But towards the end of everything, Barbieri finally realized that Nicole was very similar to her, and that Simpson had been playing them both. "O.J. had sat at the top of it all that time, using and abusing Nicole and myself, playing one against the other," she noted.
After everything, Barbieri had to deal with the guilt that weighed upon her. "But guilt is more motional than rational; that's where it gets its power," she said. "Just the idea that I could somehow be responsible for what happened to Nicole and Ron Goldman—it was unthinkable, definitely unspeakable."