Sydney & Justin Brown Keep Out Of The Public Eye

by Caitlin Flynn

Like many viewers and critics, I was immediately drawn in by the premiere episode of Ryan Murphy's new true crime series The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. As we learned in the first episode, "From the Ashes of Tragedy," Nicole Brown Simpson's two young children, Sydney and Justin, were asleep upstairs when she was brutally murdered. Although the episode contained many disturbing scenes, it was a particularly jarring moment when the Simpson children entered their mom's funeral as media swarmed the scene and photographed them. It's impossible to imagine the trauma they endured — their mother's violent death; their father's eight-month trial for the crime, of which he was found not guilty; and an unrelenting media spotlight on them throughout the entire ordeal. Twenty years after their father's acquittal, where are O.J. Simpson's children with Nicole Brown today?

For understandable reasons, Sydney and Justin Simpson have avoided the spotlight — but, based on what we do know about their lives, both of them have displayed astounding resilience. According to E!, Sydney Simpson, now 30, graduated from Boston University in 2010 with a degree in Sociology. The outlet also reported that, after a stint in Atlanta, she has settled in St. Petersburg, Florida and opened her own business. Justin, now 27, also resides in St. Petersburg where he works as a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker Homes, according to the company's website. Neither Sydney nor Justin has spoken publicly about American Crime Story and it's doubtful they will — although they've certainly not forgotten the past, it seems like both of them are doing their best to move forward and not be defined by the tragedy they endured as children.

Although she wasn't consulted about the series, Brown Simpson's younger sister, Tanya Brown, spoke with People in January, shortly before American Crime Story premiered. Brown emphasized that she's extremely proud of Sydney and Justin: "They are so grounded. I am so proud of what and who they become." Though Brown believes that O.J. Simpson murdered her sister despite Simpson being found not guilty of the crime, she forced herself to put that aside for the children's sake. In 2014, Brown discussed the topic with Radar Online:

I had to go and pick the kids up at the house where he lived, and I saw him. It was hard for me, but I did it. My mom gave me a pep talk, like, ‘You’re doing this for the kids.’ I entered the home, packed their bags. I went into his home and I saw the furniture I used to sit on [when Nicole was alive]. I was so foggy, but I had to put on the face because this is their dad. They will always love their dad. I choose to respect that.

Although this was undoubtedly difficult for Brown, it surely benefited the children to not see their family members divided.

As adults, Sydney and Justin have continued to stay out of the public eye. Yahoo! recently published a photo of Sydney taking her dog for a walk in Florida, but hopefully, paparazzi and the media will respect their desire to avoid the spotlight and lead normal lives. American Crime Story has renewed public interest in the case, but Sydney and Justin deserve their privacy. Despite the tragedy they endured at such a young age, both of Brown and Simpson's children seem to be doing well both personally and professionally — and they deserve major respect for their strength and resilience.