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Why Nicole Brown's Sisters Have "Complicated" Feelings About O.J. Simpson's Death

The three sisters said they try to remember Nicole at her happiest: "There was this levity about her. She was glowing."

By Cydney Contreras

Nicole Brown Simpson's family has mixed emotions when it comes to the death of O.J. Simpson.

The former NFL star died of metastatic prostate cancer at the age of 76 in April, sparking conversations about O.J.'s complicated legacy and his acquittal in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ron Goldman. Missing from the conversations were Nicole's sisters Dominique, Denise, and Tanya, who chose to stay silent amid the frenzy.

"It's very complicated," Dominique explained to PEOPLE in her first comments on the matter.

"This is a person who’s been in our life for a very long time, who wreaked havoc on our family. It’s like the end of a chapter," Tanya added.

The Browns had a contentious relationship with O.J. following his divorce from Nicole, who had accused the football player of assault. Ultimately, O.J. was accused of murdering Nicole and Ron Goldman in 1994 only to be acquitted by a jury in what was later dubbed the "Trial of the Century."

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Eventually, O.J. was found liable for their deaths in a 1997 civil suit brought against him by the Browns and Goldmans. A judge ordered O.J. pay the families $33.5 million, a sum that was unpaid at the time of his death

What happened to Sydney and Justin Simpson?

Following Nicole's murder, the Browns assumed responsibility for her two children, Sydney and Justin, who were sleeping in the Brentwood home as their mother was murdered outside. In fact, it was Nicole's mom who told Sydney and Justin that their mother had died. 

"She goes, ‘Mommy's in heaven,'" Dominique recalled in an interview with PEOPLE.

From there on out, the family committed themselves to shielding the children from the controversy. Dominique said she felt it was her responsibility to be there for Nicole's kids, telling the outlet, "There was Denise’s son, my son, Sydney and Justin. We played together, ate together, went to the beach together — everything together. It was to help them heal and do things that were fun."

"The things that were being said, they didn’t need to be exposed to any of that," she added.

The Brown family also sought to retain full custody of Sydney and Justin, taking O.J. to court over the matter. A custody battle ensued for nearly two years before O.J. was granted full custody of the children at the end of 1996. 

"It happened Christmas morning. I didn’t think my heart could take it,” Dominique said of the children leaving their home.

As time passed, the Browns lost contact with the Simpson children, who are now in their 30s. 

"They’re young adults with families, and they’re both doing great," shared Dominique. "Nicole would be so proud."

O.J Simpson

RELATED: O.J. Simpson’s Attorney Shares Details About His Last Wishes, Including a "Suitable Monument"

Though the Browns do not speak with Sydney or Justin, Dominique refrained from speculating about O.J.'s role in Nicole's death.

"Because of the children, I’m not going to answer," she said. 

Her sister Tanya did not mince words though. After learning at trial that Nicole's blood was found in O.J.'s Bronco and home, she was convinced of his guilt.

"DNA doesn't lie," said Tanya.

How the Browns Remember Nicole

This June will mark 30 years since Nicole and Ron Goldman were brutally murdered. And while the anniversary is typically remembered in the media for setting off an unbelievable chain of events, like the wild Bronco chase, the Browns want people to think of Nicole as she was in the last two years of her life. 

"What no one knows she experienced before her death is freedom,” Dominique reflected. “There was this levity about her. She was glowing."

Tanya noted that it was the start of a new chapter for Nicole.

"I’m so glad that she had a good time the last two years of her life. I can’t bring her back, so why not try to look at it like that?" she shared.

To learn more about the murders of Nicole and Ron Goldman, as well as the ensuing events, watch Oxygen's O.J. Simpson: The Crimes and Punishment.