Cuba Gooding Jr. Relates To O.J. Simpson In This Surprising Way

Although I can't stop rewatching episodes of the epic American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson now that the FX show has sadly concluded, its star Cuba Gooding Jr. is “relieved" that it's over. And it sort of makes sense: portraying one of America’s most highly-scrutinized figures must be far from a walk in the park. It's been quite the emotional rollercoaster for viewers alone — never mind the show's leading man.

Since February, Gooding delivered a chilling portrayal of O.J. Simpson on the riveting show, and although every moment was more engrossing than the next, the role majorly impacted the actor’s psyche. When the show premiered, he admitted it was the “hardest character [he’d] done, emotionally,” and taking on feelings of “hatred, anger, frustration and grief” made him a “wreck” when he was finished.

How can the actor relate to someone who led him to such a “dark place”? Believe it or not, he can.

Thursday evening at the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Reel Stories, Real Lives event in Los Angeles, Bustle asked him head-on. Turns out, he and Simpson have interesting real-life similarities and discrepancies that aren't immediately obvious. And yes, they go beyond their apparent difference in head size.

“The most different [is], obviously, I feel like I’m in better control of my emotions,” Gooding says. “Especially when it comes to relationships."

That said, Gooding admits that he did relate to Simpson during the iconic murder trial over 20 years ago, and he still does today. “When that verdict came down, I was a young black kid in Los Angeles who had negative and positive interactions with the police department,” he explains. “There was a connection there with some of the things he was going through.”

Although Gooding didn't expand on his past conflicts with the police, he allegedly had a small stint in 2012, which apparently didn't last longer than two days. A warrant was reportedly issued for his arrest for allegedly "roughing up a female bartender" in New Orleans, but was allegedly dropped a day later after the actor met with police officials. Either way, reliving such instances can't be an easy task.

It clearly was an emotional project for Gooding, and while I wouldn't ask him to relive the difficult shoot, I wouldn't be upset if those episodes hit Netflix (so I can binge them all over again) ASAP.

Images: FX