Children of celebrities have a hard enough time growing up in a spotlight they never asked for, so imagine being Justin Ryan Simpson, the son of O.J. Simpson.
O.J. was a household name in the late 1960s and 70s, winning the Heisman Trophy as a football player at USC and shattering records as a running back for the Buffalo Bills. But fame turned to infamy when the Hall of Famer became a murder suspect in 1994. “The Trial of the Century,” in which Simpson was controversially acquitted on charges of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, destroyed the legacy he earned on the field.
Many wonder about other family members who were impacted by the trail—particularly his children. Here’s what we know about one of O.J. Simpson’s sons, Justin Ryan Simpson.
Who Is Justin Ryan Simpson?
Justin Ryan Simpson, 32, was born on August 6, 1988. He is the youngest child and only son of the late Nicole Brown Simpson. He has older biological sister Sydney (born 1985) as well as two half-siblings—Jason and Arnelle—from his father O.J. Simpson’s previous marriage.
Despite his family’s ties to Los Angeles, Justin attended Gulliver Preparatory School in Pinecrest, Florida, and remains a resident of the Sunshine State.
What Happened During His childhood?
On the evening of June 12, 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife and family friend Ron Goldman were stabbed to death in front of her LA condo. Justin, then only 5-years-old, and his sister were both asleep inside when the gruesome murder took place.
During the infamous murder trial, Justin and Sydney were placed in the guardianship of Simpson’s former in-laws, Louis and Judith Brown. But an ongoing legal battle ensued. After Simpson was acquitted in 1995, he sought to regain custody of the children. The Browns refused, but in December 1996, a judge ordered they be returned to their father.
The following year, Simpson was found guilty in a wrongful death civil suit and was ordered to pay the Brown and Goldman families $35 million. The Browns filed an appeal to regain guardianship of the kids in 1998, and after five years, Simpson prevailed. He maintained custody of his children and relocated them to Florida.
Despite their unusual (and possibly highly traumatic) childhoods, Justin and Sydney seemed to prefer being raised by Simpson. According to CBS News, “The children wrote the justices an emotional letter asking to stay with their father…”
Still, they preferred to keep a low profile as adults. Sydney even went by a different name to protect her identity. Justin worked as a sous chef in the same Atlanta restaurant where she was a waitress, so it’s assumed that he too went to great lengths to hide his family history.
O.J. did little favors for protecting the family’s reputation. In 2007, he made headlines again for orchestrating an armed robbery of his own memorabilia in Las Vegas. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison, and once again Justin had to prepare for a life without a father.
What Does Justin Ryan Simpson Do For A Living?
Justin graduated from Florida State University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations. His college years were probably more challenging than usual, given that his father stood trial at the same time. (In October 2008, O.J. Simpson was found guilty on 12 counts, including robbery and kidnapping.)
But his father’s legal troubles did not stand in the way of his own ambitions. Justin began a career in real estate in 2013 and slowly worked his way up the ranks. Today, his LinkedIn profile boasts experience in residential real estate sales and property management. Although he lists his current location as Las Vegas, he works as a realtor for DHM Real Estate Group in St. Petersburg, Florida.
What Is Justin Ryan Simpson’s Net Worth?
Justin is still relatively quiet on social media, except for a Twitter account that is strictly business-related. “Honesty is giving your word, integrity is keeping it,” reads his bio. It is unknown where he and his sister stand in terms of their father’s role in their mom’s death.
“My family and I have moved on to what we call the ‘no negative zone,'” O.J. Simpson told the Associated Press in 2019. “We focus on the positives.”
However, it’s reported that Justin does use his father’s name to his advantage. Despite O.J.’s past, some people have not held it against him—perhaps they find it unique to buy a house from his son. As a result, some sources estimate that Justin’s net worth is $3 million.
Justin and Sydney seem to remain loyal to their father because he’s the only family they have. Whatever you make of that, it doesn’t take away from Justin’s admirable ambition. There is no denying that his childhood was traumatic and one-of-a-kind. In spite of challenges that so few of us could ever relate to, he still managed to build a successful life for himself.