By her own account, she was an abused child, a bed-wetter who suffered the beatings of a stern stepfather and warnings from a harshly religious mother that perdition awaited those who indulged.
But indulge she did, a darkly exotic self-described “Beverly Hills socialite” who danced at nightclubs such as the Gate, flew to Aspen and Cabo San Lucas, had numerous husbands and lovers, and snorted and smoked cocaine.
Fresh from her third tour of a drug rehab clinic, Faye D. Resnick’s life story would be no more than a speed bump in Hollywood’s fast lane--unremarkable except for the fact that one of her buddies was Nicole Brown Simpson.
And now Resnick’s book, “Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted,” has opened the most lurid chapter yet in the double murder trial of football legend O.J. Simpson.
Although friends say Resnick wrote the book with the best intentions--to stick up for her friend in the face of what she perceived as O.J. Simpson’s powerful public relations machine--the book has been condemned for everything from content to tone to timing.
“T-R-A-S-H,” said Lou Brown, Nicole’s father, on Wednesday.
Brown said the family knew Resnick, 37, but “she wasn’t that close to Nicole. She was a girl in need. Nicole was a giving person. This girl had a drug problem. She (Nicole) took her in for a couple of weeks, then she (Resnick) was gone.
“I don’t know where she got all of her misinformation, but it’s not anything we can confirm. And Nicole is not here to defend herself,” he said.
However, Robin Greer, an actress who knew Nicole for 14 years, said the book rings true.
Greer said she and others in Nicole’s circle at first had made a pact not to speak to the press, but have since come forward in the belief that O.J. Simpson’s camp was controlling the public’s interpretation of his relationship with Nicole.
“The public needs to understand that there is a duality in O.J.,” Greer said. “They’re only seeing his show-biz personality. They don’t see the darker side of him. And if people don’t see the darker side of him, he could get away with murder.”
Whatever Resnick’s intentions, Judge Lance A. Ito on Tuesday halted jury selection to weigh the impact of the salacious 244-page account. On Wednesday, Ito asked three television programs to postpone broadcasts of interviews with Resnick.
Only one show complied (Larry King’s CNN talk show) and the reasons were obvious: The book’s sexual passages alone have made it the talk of the town. But Ito’s reasons had more to do with the book’s portrayal of the celebrity defendant. In the book, Resnick recounts several angry arguments and alleged threats by Simpson, and claims that Nicole was a target of ongoing domestic abuse who feared that Simpson would eventually kill her.
In prior interviews with The Times, Resnick and other friends of Nicole Simpson have said that Resnick was a close friend of the murder victim, especially during the last year of her life. Even some who criticize the book said Wednesday that, if nothing else, Resnick accurately repeats the stories Nicole confided to intimates about her post-divorce private life.
Even before the book hit the stores Monday, other members of Nicole Simpson’s inner circle read proofs and lashed out at Resnick, who declined to be interviewed for this article.
“As Nicole always used to say, Faye’s a drama queen,” inveighed one friend in an interview prior to the book’s publication. “I mean, she only really knew Nicole for, like, a year. . . . Faye is just desperate for money. She’s a jet-setter, you know.”
The attorney for Kansas City Chiefs running back Marcus Allen said it was “just not true” that, as Resnick says, Allen had an affair with Nicole after she separated from Simpson. Resnick wrote that the trysts took place when Allen, one of O.J. Simpson’s best friends, was engaged and even after he married his wife in a ceremony at Simpson’s house.
“Although there may be some truth about some things in the book, when it relates to Marcus Allen it is absolutely false,” said Ed Hookstratten, Allen’s attorney.
Greer, who defended the book, admitted she lobbied the publisher to excise the more lurid passages, including an alleged romantic kiss between Nicole and Resnick and a casual sexual encounter between Nicole Simpson and an unnamed man after her divorce.
“I felt it made her look sexually frivolous, and she wasn’t like that,” said Greer. “I never saw her as a girl who sexually flitted about.”
Another friend said that Resnick was “distressed” by her sudden fame. Nevertheless, Resnick managed to dish up an interview in Wednesday’s New York Post--complete with picture--and is scheduled to appear on Maury Povich, Connie Chung and the “Today Show” over the course of the next month.
Michael A. Viner, president of Dove Books, said Resnick received a six-figure advance for her literary effort, which was rushed to stores in an unusually heavy first press run of about 750,000 hardcover copies.
“She could have done what some of the other girls in the circle did, sell things to The Star and the tabloids and made a lot more money than she’ll make,” he said. “If she was in it for the money, this isn’t what she would have done.”
The chatty book was written while Resnick worked with a writer on leave from the National Enquirer in seclusion in Stowe, Vt., said Viner. And the haste of their effort is evident: The first 250,000 copies misspell one alleged lover’s name; they also give two ages--23 and 29--for Brett Shaves, the young law clerk who briefly dated Nicole.
Few will dwell on such imperfections, however, as Resnick takes the reader on an odyssey of clubs, vacations, secondhand pillow talk and bellicose confrontations between Simpson and Nicole.
In an interview with The Times in June, Resnick said she was introduced to Nicole Simpson five years ago by Kris Jenner, who was then in the midst of a divorce from Simpson’s close friend Robert Kardashian. Resnick said Jenner brought her by Nicole’s house.
Resnick said at the time that she saw “a lot of pain in (Nicole’s) eyes.” And in her book, which ends with telephone numbers for domestic abuse hot lines, Resnick said she and Nicole “bonded so powerfully, literally becoming soul mates” because Resnick had also been abused--not as a woman, but as a child.
She said she was raised by an Italian-Spanish mother and a German stepfather, and that he spanked Resnick every morning for wetting the bed as a youngster, discipline that grew into “hideous beatings” as she matured. Even the family poodle barked a warning when the old man got home, she said.
Her mother ignored his rampages, she said. Resnick said her mother, a nurse by day and a budding journalist by night, became a successful Latino columnist who wrote about holistic medicine and later joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses, making the girl’s childhood “even more chaotic.”
“I was raised thinking that the world would end in 1975--that Armageddon would come when I was 18 years old,” she wrote. “I think that’s why I had my first sexual encounter at 16--I didn’t want to miss the experience before The End.”
After leaving to live with an aunt in the Bay Area, Resnick--then Faye Hutchison--was crowned 1975 Maid of Hayward, a moment captured in a newspaper photograph showing her on the verge of tears. No apocalypse, it was a beginning of sorts because it gave what Resnick described as “both an ego boost and some career ideas.”
She dropped law classes at a community college and became a director of a John Robert Powers finishing and modeling school, she said. After divorcing her first husband, she moved to London and then married an “eccentric heir” whose life stretched from Europe to Australia, she wrote.
After that marriage fizzled, she married Paul Resnick, a Westwood businessman, and became involved in activities related to the Beverly Hills School District, where her daughter attended elementary school. The Resnicks paid $1.3 million for a home formerly owned by Michael D. Eisner, Walt Disney Co. chairman.
During the 1990-91 school year, she served on the board of the Beverly Hills Education Foundation, a position that requires a donation of at least $1,000 and recognition as a school activist, said Judy Vaturi, director of administration for the nonprofit organization.
In 1991, Resnick championed the idea of sponsoring a benefit tennis tournament. It only made a few hundred dollars and the event was dropped, said Vaturi.
The Resnicks divorced amicably in 1991. In her book, Resnick said she has had three husbands, two fiances and several lovers. She also admitted to going through drug rehab three times over eight years, the last visit after an “intervention” arranged by Nicole.
Resnick said she began “tooting and smoking coke two or three times a day” as her own romantic relationship came apart and she found herself in the middle of escalating fights between O.J. and Nicole Simpson during the weeks leading up to the killings.
At one point, she said, Simpson threatened to tell the Internal Revenue Service that Nicole had improperly listed his Rockingham Way residence as her home address, instead of the Bundy Drive condo where she lived. The revelation would have required Nicole to pay a huge fine or face jail, Resnick claimed.
“O.J. knew that would really hurt her. That $90,000 was almost exactly what Nicole had in the bank. She had paid cash for the Bundy condo, so she didn’t have a lot of cash left,” she wrote.
It was her alleged role as emotional sounding board, however, that gave Resnick grist for the most chilling passages in the book.
She said Nicole, who had resolved to finally break free of Simpson, once said while watching her former husband on Entertainment Tonight: “I look at his arms and think, ‘God, are these going to be the arms that will kill me someday?’ ”
As events spun out of control last June, Resnick writes, Simpson became ever more irate about the thought of Nicole with another man. “I can’t take this, Faye,” she quotes Simpson as saying. “I can’t take this. I mean, I’ll kill that b----.”
She said Nicole had a budding romantic interest in the man who was killed with her, Ronald Lyle Goldman, and Resnick believed that “inevitably” the two would have become intimate.
Resnick said she had her last conversation with Nicole on June 12, the night of the murders. Already checked into a drug rehabilitation center in Marina del Rey, Resnick called Nicole to see how her daughter’s dance recital had gone. She said Nicole, still fuming over the IRS threat, said she had told Simpson he was no longer welcomed as part of her family.
“I’ll help you through this, Faye,” she quoted Nicole as saying. “When I told you that I’d never abandon you, I meant it sincerely.”
Resnick said she wrote the book to speak for Nicole, a mental vow she described making at Nicole’s funeral. “I’ll find a voice for you, Nic,” she said. “I don’t know how, but I’ll tell the world all about you, I swear it.”
Simpson’s supporters are not moved with the result. Simpson pal Kardashian made no effort to hide his contempt for Resnick and her book while speaking to reporters.
“It’s disgusting that she would write this type of book about her best friend,” Kardashian said outside the courthouse. “It serves no purpose. The poor woman is brutally murdered. She can’t defend herself. Everything is hearsay in the book. I’m just glad I’m not her best friend.”
Asked why he thought Resnick wrote it, Kardashian paused and smiled.
“Money, my friend. Money.”