The Rise And Fall Of O.J. Simpson’s Net Worth

Athletes | 2/26/20

According to Sports Illustrated, 35% of NFL players are in financial trouble within two years of retirement. Typically, it’s due to poor money management and not having a plan in place for when they retire. But that wasn’t the case for legendary NFL running back O.J. Simpson. After growing up in a San Francisco housing project, O.J. negotiated the most expensive rookie running back contract in NFL history at the time. He has both a Heisman Trophy and an NFL MVP Award to his name. After retirement, O.J.’s net worth had grown to over $10 million, equivalent to $18 million today. But by 1995 his Brentwood estate was foreclosed and bulldozed. After serving nine years in prison, O.J. appears to be floating by with the help of his millionaire friends. Here’s how “Juice” earned and lost his millions.

O.J. Negotiated The Biggest NFL Running Back Rookie Contract In NFL History

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Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

From the very beginnings of his football career, O.J. was focused on building his fortune. The young man who grew up in a housing project in San Francisco believed in and recognized his superior athletic talent as a running back. When he was ready to throw his hat into the ring for the professional league, O.J. insisted on being paid more than any rookie in the history of the NFL.

In his 1969 NFL rookie season with the Buffalo Bills, he negotiated a contract of $650,000 over five years, with an additional investment of $500,000. It had never been done. The owners argued that his contract request was too high but O.J. stood his ground and got what he wanted.

He Sold His 1968 Heisman Trophy For $255,000 In 1999

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Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

While playing football for the University of Southern California, O.J. led the nation in rushing, with 1,543 yards in 1967 and 1,709 yards during the regular season in 1968, earning him the Heisman Trophy. He also won the Maxwell Awards and the Walter Camp Award the same year.

After the infamous trial, O.J. put his Heisman Trophy up for auction on February 17, 1999. Tom Kriessman purchased the trophy for $255,000. It now belongs to Rick Reviglio, who keeps it in his personal sports memorabilia collection in Reno, Nevada.

His NFL Pension Pays $25,000 A Month (Even While In Prison)

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In 2008, Simpson was found guilty on all 12 charges in a robbery case and sentenced to 33 years in prison. He only ended up serving nine of those years and made some good money while he was behind bars.

From his $25,000 monthly NFL pension, Simpson was paid more than $600,000 while serving time. Due to conditions of the pension, he cannot use that money to pay the $33.5 million dollars he owes to the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman after being found guilty in a civil trial, following a lawsuit.

How Much Is The Famous Ford Bronco Really Worth?

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Jean-Marc Giboux/Liaison
Jean-Marc Giboux/Liaison

Contrary to popular belief, the now-infamous white 1993 Ford Bronco did not belong to O.J., but his friend and former teammate, Al Cowlings. A jaw-dropping 95 million people watched live as the police chased the white ’93 Ford Bronco.

Afterward, people around the world recognized the now-famous Bronco, and Cowlings wanted it out of his driveway. He reportedly sold it to Simpson’s agent Mike Gilbert for $75,000, who then tried to make a deal on Pawn Stars for $500,000. However, they didn’t buy it, and Jeremy Brown, a sports memorabilia expert, says it isn’t worth even close to that figure. Today, the Bronco is on display at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

O.J. Reportedly Has A $5 Million Pension With The Screen Actors Guild

tv-show-frogmen
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Another way O.J. made income outside of the NFL was television acting. USA Today reported that O.J. has $5 million dollars in contributions to a retirement plan through the Screen Actor’s Guild. He’s appeared in the TV mini-series Roots, and films The Klansman, The Towering Inferno, The Cassandra Crossing, and Capricorn One.

In 1994, O.J. Simpson was cast as one of the lead roles in a television show called Frogmen. The series followed a team of Navy SEALs who tackle special assignments. Only a pilot was filmed, and it never aired. Eerily enough, while prepping for the role, Simpson was professionally trained on how to wield a knife.

O.J. Had Multiple Endorsement Deals

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Twitter/Darren Rovell
Twitter/Darren Rovell

Many describe O.J. as “charismatic” and “charming”. People magazine even named him “the first black athlete to become a bona fide lovable media superstar” in 1975. With the help of sports agent Chuck Barnes, O.J. landed several endorsement deals that provided him a nice paycheck outside of the NFL.

Chevrolet, ABC, Pioneer Chicken, Dingo cowboy boots and Calistoga Water Company were a few of the brands O.J. represented. By the early ’70s, O.J. had accumulated a great deal of wealth. In 1992, his net worth was an estimated $10.8 according to Money.com, the equivalent of $18 million today.

What O.J.’s Net Worth During Nicole’s Divorce Settlement Revealed

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1992, at the time of O.J. and Nicole’s divorce, The Washington Post reported that O.J.’s net worth was an estimated $10.8 million. The divorce settlement showed that over a decade after retiring from the NFL, O.J. was earning $55,000 per month in 1992 (around $100,000 today).

According to The Washington Post, O.J. was earning $550,000 in an endorsement deal with car rental company Hertz that lasted for twenty years.

O.J. Wanted To Do Pay-Per-View Interviews After The Trial

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Paul Harris/Getty Images
Paul Harris/Getty Images

After he was acquitted, O.J. Simpson wanted to make some money by sitting for an interview that would be aired on pay-per-view. He believed that he could make a couple of million dollars from the interview, and several cable companies showed interest in the deal.

However, the backlash the networks faced over their willingness to provide a stage and a payout to Simpson led to the deals to falling through. Simpson did a post-trial interview with BET, but overall, it didn’t payout what he wanted.

Domino’s Pizza Can Thank O.J. For Their Biggest Sales Day

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Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images

On June 17, 1994, Simpson led the LAPD on a 60-mph low-speed pursuit that lasted two hours. Simpson and Al Cowlings drove along the highway in Southern California as cars pulled over and crowds cheered him on.

Meanwhile, an estimated 95 million viewers tuned in to watch the live feed from home. The nation was glued to the television and didn’t want to miss a minute of the action. Consequently, the number of pizza delivery orders skyrocketed, leading to Domino’s pizza having their best sales day ever. However, they wanted no connection to O.J., so he didn’t receive so much as a phone call of gratitude, let alone a paycheck from Domino’s.

His Rockingham Estate Was Foreclosed And Bulldozed

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MIKE NELSON/AFP via Getty Images
MIKE NELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Two years after he was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, O.J.’s image was incredibly tarnished and his financial troubles began stacking up. He was no longer able to pay the mortgage on his home and ended up defaulting.

The 6,000 square-foot estate was purchased by a banking executive for $3.9 million dollars, who made the decision to tear it down in 1998. When O.J. was asked what he thought about the home that he lived in with Nicole and his kids being torn down, O.J. commented, “It’s not my house, and I could care less. I walked out of that door, and I’ve never been back… Rockingham is history.”

He Moved To Florida So They Can’t Seize His Home

OJ's Miami, Florida Home
Robert King/Newsmakers
Robert King/Newsmakers

On February 4, 1997, O.J. was found guilty in the civil trial of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The former NFL star was ordered to pay the families a total of $33.5 million. However, they only received a small portion of that amount.

O.J. could no longer pay the mortgage on his home in Brentwood, California. He decided to move to Miami, Florida. In the state of Florida, it’s illegal to seize personal assets, including property and pensions, to cover liabilities that occurred outside of the state. It’s likely that O.J., born in California with loads of elite connections in Los Angeles, moved across the country in order to protect his assets.

O.J. Owes $1.44 Million in Back Taxes in California

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Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

There’s another reason that O.J. won’t be moving back to California anytime soon. The State of California reports that Simpson owes $1.44 million in back taxes (according to the Huffington Post, O.J. owes $515,007.10).

Regardless of the exact number, on September 1, 1999, a tax lien was placed on the former NFL athlete in California. The following year, Simpson left the state and bought a property in Miami, Florida. It doesn’t appear that he plans to pay his taxes anytime soon.

He Was Set To Make $600,000 Off A Book Essentially Confessing To The Crime

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Pinterest
Pinterest

Over a decade after O.J. was acquitted of the murder charges in the criminal trial, he partnered with ghostwriter Pablo Fenjves to write a fictional book about what, hypothetically, would have happened that night had he committed the crimes. Fenjves was also a witness at Simpson’s trial and stated in later interviews that he “knew” Simpson was “a murderer”.

The controversial book was boycotted by many as it was announced If I Did It would hit the shelves in 2007. A bankruptcy court awarded the rights of the book to the Goldman family to help pay back the money O.J. owed them. The Goldman family redesigned the cover to make the ‘If’ minimally visible.

O.J.’s Defense Team Redecorated His House During The Trial

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SGranitz/WireImage
SGranitz/WireImage

During the criminal trial, it was arranged for the jury to visit Simpson’s home. Ahead of the scheduled visit, Simpson’s defense team arrived and promptly redecorated his house. In an interview with Dateline, defense attorney Carl Douglas said that he wanted the estate to look “lived-in and stand with all of its regalness so that the jurors would say ‘O.J. Simpson would not have risked all of this for this woman.”

He admitted, “photos of Simpson with white women were swapped out for pictures of him with black people. A Norman Rockwell painting from Johnnie Cochran’s office and a bedside photo of Simpson’s mother was placed in prominent view.” It’s not clear if this cost O.J. anything extra but rarely is any type of legal work free, especially on a high profile case.

After He Was Acquitted, He Threw A Massive Party

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MYUNG J. CHUN/AFP via Getty Images
MYUNG J. CHUN/AFP via Getty Images

After the eleven-month trial, the verdict was announced on October 3, 1995, that Simpson was officially acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The news sent shock waves throughout the country.

Following the acquittal, O.J. threw a party at his Rockingham mansion in Brentwood. A convoy of limousines filled with family members and friends arrived, along with a reported 40 crates of champagne to toast to his freedom. The party was so explosive that the LAPD arrived to control the scene.

He Served Nine Years At A Nevada State Prison

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Jason Bean-Pool/Getty Images
Jason Bean-Pool/Getty Images

On September 13, 2007, O.J. and a group of men went to the Palace Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and performed a robbery in a hotel room. They took sports memorabilia that O.J. alleged to have been stolen from him. He was questioned and released, then arrested and held without bail on some serious charges.

Once released, O.J. broke the terms of his bail agreement. He pleaded not guilty to the charges but ended up being found guilty on all charges on October 3, 2008. O.J. faced a life sentence for kidnapping and mandatory prison time for armed robbery. He was officially sentenced to 33 years in prison and was paroled after serving nine of those years.

He’s Living In A High-Profile Las Vegas Neighborhood

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Bryan Haraway/Getty Ima
Bryan Haraway/Getty Ima

After being granted parole in Nevada and released on October 1, 2017, Simpson took up residence in a suburban community in western Las Vegas Valley called Summerlin. The pristine gated community features nine golf courses, world-class recreational facilities, and was named one of the Best Places To Live in America by Money Magazine in 2014.

Understandably, residents were not happy when O.J. moved in. On the neighborhood website Nextdoor, one Summerlin resident posted, “OJ’s in the neighborhood. Beware of him and the circus that follows.” Other residents include Celine Dion, Nicolas Cage, and several retired professional athletes.

The Las Vegas Estate Is Valued At $1.8 Million

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Twitter/ O.J. Simpson
Twitter/ O.J. Simpson

Although he still owes tens of millions of dollars to the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, O.J. is still living large in Las Vegas. In 2017, after being released from prison, he moved into a 5,000 square-foot estate valued at $1.8 million.

The grandiose home features a pool and a large garage. According to Vanity Fair, however, O.J. does not own either the estate. Reportedly, it’s being lent to him by a friend, James Barnett.

Currently, O.J. Drives A Convertible Bentley Continental

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Bentley/Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for Brand Seven Marketing
Bentley

O.J. has been spotted driving around Las Vegas in a black Convertible Bentley Continental. Reportedly, the car also belongs to James Barnett, who is lending the luxury vehicle to O.J. The two first met when Barnett hired O.J. to give a motivational speech more than 20 years ago.

Residents of the Summerlin neighborhood in Las Vegas have reported seeing O.J. pull up to the golf course in the Bentley convertible on numerous occasions. They also noted that he parks in the handicap space with a tag.

His Two Youngest Kids Work In Real Estate In Florida

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Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images

O.J’s two youngest living children, Sydney and Justin, were born from his second marriage to Nicole. They were only eight and five years old when their mother was tragically killed. Afterward, they split their time between living with O.J. and their late mother’s family.

In 2000, they moved to Florida, where they grew up as O.J. served time in Nevada after being charged for robbery. When he was released, they were young adults, both working in real estate in the state. Sydney is rumored to be dating a government official in Florida, but he’s denied that they’re any more than friends.

His Kids Are Buying Florida Real Estate In Cash Like Hot Cakes

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Both Sydney, 31, and Justin Simpson, 28, work in real estate in Florida and have bought a combined 13 properties in St. Petersburg, Florida since 2015, according to the New York Post. All but two of the properties were paid in cash, which is raising eyebrows as to where they’re getting the money.

Apparently, residents of the properties had no idea that Simpson’s kids were the owners. Most of the properties they’ve purchased are in low-income neighborhoods with buildings valued around $500,000.

He Didn’t Make Anything Off The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

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Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images
Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

Debuting on February 2, 2016, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story was the first season of the TX true-crime TV series and received universal acclaim from critics. At the Primetime Emmy Awards, the season received 22 nominations, taking home nine. The true-crime series was also awarded two Golden Globe Awards. It’s unconfirmed but assumed that O.J. didn’t receive any revenue from the television season, as a source said none of the show’s producers even attempted to call O.J.

Bustle reported that an anonymous friend of O.J.’s admitted that Simpson was angry none of the show’s production even asked for his input, or make contact. The source added that O.J. claims to not have watched it, although the friend believes that knowing O.J., he has.

Nicole & O.J. Is Set to Release in 2020

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Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

After the success of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story in 2016, another film surrounding O.J. is expected to release in 2020. The thriller film, titled Nicole & O.J., focuses on the night of Nicole and Ron’s deaths.

Charlotte Kirk will play the role of Nicole while Boris Kodjoe will portray O.J. Nearly two decades after the double murder, the nation is still fascinated with what was one of the biggest and most publicized trials in American history.

O.J.’s Failed Attempt At A Prank Show

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Amazon
Amazon

After retiring from the NFL, O.J. wanted to find a way to maintain his fame and make some money. He had the idea of filming a prank show, called Juiced. He ended up filming enough pranks to fill an hour-long DVD and released a soundtrack to go with it.

Juiced only ended up selling around 100 DVD’s, with O.J. pranking people in public, and telling them they’ve been “Juiced,” per his nickname. Some people were fooled, others were surprised to see the football star, but overall, the concept was a failure.

He’s Been Inducted Into Two Halls Of Fame

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Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

In 1983, O.J. was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. In his first year at USC in 1967, O.J. finished second to the Heisman, already proving himself a star. He then set the NCAA single-season rushing mark in 1968 and was awarded the Heisman.

In 1985, “Juice” was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, with a total of 11,236 rushing yards, 4 rushing titles, and 5 all-pro selections during his 11 seasons of play. He was named NFL Player of the Year in 1972, 1973, and 1975 and played in six Pro Bowls.

His Drink Of Choice Is A Martini

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Catherine McGann/Getty Images
Catherine McGann/Getty Images

After being granted parole, O.J. was ordered to not drink in excess, which is defined by a BAC level of .08 or higher. But he never stopped drinking. To avoid violating parole and being sent back to prison, Simpson reportedly carried a breathalyzer that he would monitor his blood alcohol level with, in case his parole officer showed up to test him.

He’s frequently spotted at bars and clubs around Las Vegas, including the Grape Street Cafe. A waiter there told Vanity Fair that O.J. orders just one drink: a “Ketel One martini, three olives, extra cold.”

At Nicole’s Funeral, O.J. Told Her, “I’m Sorry”

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Before Nicole Brown Simpson’s closed-casket funeral there was a private open-casket viewing that O.J. attended. At the funeral, O.J. was reportedly still angry with Nicole, as they were constantly fighting leading up to her death.

According to Nicole’s mother, Juditha Brown, O.J. told Nicole’s body, “So sorry, Nic. I’m so sorry” and kissed her on the lips. Reportedly, Juditha questioned O.J.’s innocence at the funeral. He insisted that he wasn’t involved in her death.

Simpson Joined A Gang In His Youth, And Willie Mays Helped Him Quit

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Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

After O.J.’s parents separated, he lived with his mother in a housing project in San Francisco. He became a disgruntled teenager looking for trouble and ended up joining the Persian Warriors street gang. His high school sweetheart (and future first wife) described O.J. as “really an awful person” during that time in his life.

He was arrested three times in his youth. After the third time, O.J. got a chance to meet baseball legend Willie Mays, who told O.J. that he was going down the wrong path in life. After the meeting, O.J. focused on playing football for the high school team and began turning his life around.

O.J.’s Father Was A Well-Known Drag Queen

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Fotos International/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Fotos International/Archive Photos/Getty Images

One part of his life that O.J. has had trouble coming to terms with was that his father was gay. For many years, Jimmy Lee Simpson was a closeted gay man, married to O.J.’s mother, Eunice and raising his four children. Jimmy and Eunice separated in 1952 and Jimmy began performing as a drag queen in the San Francisco Bay Area where O.J. grew up.

Sadly, he died of AIDS in the mid-80s. Friends of O.J., as well as Nicole, recognized that O.J. had a difficult time being around gay men and believe he’s intensely insecure about his father’s sexuality.

His First Wife Couldn’t Handle The Media, And He Cheated

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Marguerite Whitley was O.J.’s childhood sweetheart, whom he married in 1967, two years before joining the NFL. The couple had three children, but their youngest tragically drowned in their swimming pool at the age of two. O.J. described Marguerite as a very private person who couldn’t handle the limelight of his career.

Still married, the family moved to Los Angeles where O.J. met Nicole while she was working in a night club as a waitress. They began dating and consequently, his marriage fell apart and they got a divorce after twelve years of marriage. Marguerite went on to get married twice more.