The O.J. Simpson trials are long over but the lives of those most closely connected with the murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman will never be the same. Happily, there is a light now shining through the dark tragedy. Simpson's former girlfriend, Paula Barbieri, has discovered The Truth found in God's Son, Jesus Christ.
Recently Barbieri appeared on Larry King Live and CNN & Company to promote her new book, The Other Woman: My Years With O.J. Simpson.
In both interviews, she contrasts her life then ?the "worldliness" of a jet-setting fashion model ?to her new life in Christ. Clearly apparent in demeanor and tone of voice was her true sense of inner peace, prompting Larry King to ask early in the interview, "Are you a 'born-again'?" She confidently replied, "Yes."
Though both hosts focused primarily on the events surrounding her relationship with Simpson, on several occasions Barbieri was able to testify to the difference that God has made in her life.
When asked if Simpson was a substitute father-figure, she replied, "A lot of people would say, 'Oh great, she's found God,' but I don't want to sound like I'm thumping on a Bible. I think what I did, rather than replace O.J. for my father, I replaced him for God. I was looking to (O.J.) for happiness and the only place you can find that is deeply in prayer and in the Bible." She went on to say that the Bible contains the answer for every issue we face in life.
So why did she stick by Simpson, visiting him every day in jail? Because he said he needed her. She believed him then, now she's not so sure.
On the very morning of the murders Barbieri says she left Simpson a 30-minute-long message on his answer machine, breaking off their relationship. She was later stunned to hear Simpson deny receiving it. She was also stunned to hear defense lawyer Johnny Cochrane say the two were still a happy couple.
In a state of total confusion, she responded to Simpson's desperate cry for help. She'd convinced herself of his innocence as the only means of retaining her sanity.
"I listened to my heart, not my head," she now recounts.
Having always considered herself a very independent and self-sufficient woman, Barbieri was in denial about the control Simpson had on her life. Today she's given control of her life to God.
Asked if her relationship with O.J. Simpson had ruined her acting and modeling career, Barbieri calls it a blessing to be out of that "worldly lifestyle."
"It might sound crazy to people. It might sound like I'm standing up on the top of a mountain and saying, 'I'm a born-again Christian,' but honestly, my life was going nowhere. I look at the exploitation of the films that I did. No, I find it a blessing that I'm not in it."
As for Simpson's guilt or innocence; "I'm choosing not to look further into making a decision one way or another, and I ask people's forgiveness on that."
"As a Christian, you forgive all this," says King. "Oh ya," she emphatically replies.
She has forgiven Simpson for the pain and confusion he caused in her life, forgiven her father for selling stories to the tabloids that hurt her deeply, and forgiven herself for wishing Nicole gone when she first started dating Simpson.
Yet beyond all of the forgiveness she has for others, she's received God's forgiveness after accepting His Son, Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour.
Today Paula Barbieri is very involved in her local Church of Christ Assembly, and in her own words, "Happy."