The Tragic Truth About Ron Goldman's Parents

Fred Goldman and Sharon Rufo's lives turned upside down on the night of June 12, 1994. That horrific summer night led to their son, Ron Goldman, being tragically murdered alongside his good friend, Nicole Brown Simpson. The two were found just outside of Nicole's home in a bloody massacre, and there were many unanswered questions about the murders. However, the actor's ex-husband, O.J. Simpson, became the main suspect in the case. The trial would become one of the most talked about in history as a media frenzy surrounded everyone involved, including the Goldman family.

From the beginning, the Goldman family believed that O.J. was guilty of killing Ron and Nicole. In an interview with Barbara Walters (via the Washington Post), a year after the murders, Fred explained plain and simple, that he knew the former football star had killed his son. He shared, "There is no doubt in my mind that O.J. Simpson is guilty, none." At the time, O.J.'s fate regarding the case had not been determined, but Fred said that if he was acquitted, he would be "angrier than hell." Unfortunately, this would become a reality for the Goldman family as O.J. was acquitted of the murder.

Sadly, the loss of their son was just one of the many tragic situations that Fred and Rufo have faced. Even before losing Ron, they had dealt with difficult situations, and the tragedy surrounding their family never seemed to come to an end as the years went by.

Fred Goldman and Sharon Rufo's marriage didn't last long

Fred Goldman and Sharon Rufo's marriage lasted seven years. The couple wed in 1967, and during their marriage, they welcomed their two children, Ron Goldman and Kimberly Goldman. Over the years, the once-happy couple was no longer in love and decided to divorce. Fred spoke about the divorce with the Washington Post, sharing, "My marriage to Ron and Kim's biological mother, Sharon, had ended when Ron was only five and Kim barely two." Divorce is already tough but the split got even more tragic as Rufo distanced herself from the family. Fred explained, "Over the course of the next few years, I had obtained full custody of the kids and Sharon drifted from their lives."

It doesn't seem like Fred and Rufo had regrets about getting a divorce as they both remarried. However, after the split, the mom of two completely uprooted her life and moved to St. Louis, leaving her kids behind. Rufo's daughter, Kimberly, recalled her experience growing up without a mom. She said, "It was my mother's choice to not keep in touch with Ron and I. We attempted to reach her and have contact with her, and she didn't respond." However, when news of Ron's death reached Rufo, she was "devastated." Still, even during the trial and after the verdict, the mom of two did her best to remain in the shadows and out of the spotlight.

O.J. Simpson didn't repay the Goldman family

The Goldman family is still waiting for the payment owed by O.J. Simpson even after his death. The former football star was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1995, but he was found liable in the civil case just two years later. In 1997, a jury found O.J. guilty of wrongful death, and they ordered him to pay $33.5 million to the Brown and Goldman families.

O.J. was supposed to pay both families the owed amount, but that didn't happen. In 2022, Fred Goldman revealed that he had only received small payments from the former football player, and with interest, O.J. now owed him $96 million. The payment only increased over the years, and when O.J. died at 76 in 2024, he still owed the two families a hefty amount.

An attorney for the Goldman family, David Cook, spoke out about the amount O.J. owed following his death. The reported total had surpassed $100 million, and they weren't going to give up on collecting the money despite the former football star's passing. Cook looked at O.J.'s assets as a potential way the Goldman and Brown family could be repaid. He told the Daily Mail, "We're going to work on that. There might be something out there. We've had this problem for a long long time. It could be in a trust, it could be probate. It could be all gone."

Sharon Rufo was fed up with O.J. missing payments

Several years after O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, Ron's mother filed a civil case against the football star. In 1998, Sharon Rufo accused O.J. of "willfully, wantonly, and maliciously" killing her son in a wrongful death lawsuit, per the New York Times. The case was heard by a judge, who awarded $9 million to Rufo. But like the other civil case, Rufo didn't see the repayment from O.J. and had to find a way to get at least some of her money.

In 2014, Rufo put her judgment up for auction. She posted it on Judgment Marketplace, and because the judgment had a 10% interest rate, it had reached a value of almost $24.7 million. The auction terms included that whoever purchased the judgment would have the opportunity to get money out of O.J. However, the former NFL star didn't have the best record with paying off his debts. The judgment was available to purchase immediately for $1 million, but when posted, there were no bids, despite the increasing interest. Rufo's attorney, Michael Brewer, told News 19, "He [O.J.] receives a fair amount of money each month from his pension with the NFL." It seemed easy; just take the money from his pension to pay the judgment. But, it wasn't that simple. Brewer explained, "It's protected under federal law." It's unclear whether it sold, but Rufo was trying to wipe her hands clean of the issue.

The Goldmans had to relive the agonizing trial

Even after he was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1995, the O.J. Simpson trial lived on and became popular once more with the FX series, "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story." Ryan Murphy, the director of the series, had intended to shine a light on the things people may not have known about the trial. He told USA Today, "When I read the scripts, I didn't know half the stuff [that occurred]. I'm like, 'That happened? That happened?' I think people will find them so illuminating. I did." But while this gave Murphy and true crime fanatics a chance to dive into the complex case, it only rehashed an agonizing past for the Goldman family.

Ron's father, Fred Goldman, spoke with Steve Harvey about how he was not a fan of the show. He said, "They've concentrated so much, in fact, it appears as though totally on the attorneys' side of it. Ron and Nicole appeared as dead bodies in the beginning, and that's it." The 2016 series brought a new wave of attention and audiences that Fred feels are not getting the full story. He said, "There's gonna be a whole generation of people who never knew anything about this trial, that will see this series and take it as gospel, when, in fact, it won't be." No matter how much time passes, the Goldman family can't escape the terrible past.

Sharon Rufo had to see people praise O.J.

For Sharon Rufo and Fred Goldman, the nightmare of losing their son, Ron Goldman, didn't end when O.J. was found innocent by the jury. Even years later, they can't help but constantly think of their son, but it seemed O.J. had moved on. Fred had told NBC News in 2019, "I think he [O.J.] said that he and his kids don't ever think about it [the murders] anymore. Isn't that interesting? He doesn't think about his wife [Nicole Brown Simpson] that he claims he didn't murder." Fred was in disbelief that he said that, because he constantly thinks of Ron. He shared, "Every day, I miss my son. Every day, I'm aware of what I've been missing."

Unfortunately, not only does the family have to deal with the emotions of not having their son, but they also have to deal with the unusual circumstance of people praising O.J. Nearly ten years after the murder, Rufo spoke out about what it felt like to see people buy memorabilia from the former NFL player. At the time, a signed photo of O.J. was going for $80, and a signed football was going for over $180. She told FOX 2 Now, "I don't understand why anybody, unless you're sick, an individual that would want something from a murderer — an autograph from a murder. I don't get it." Sadly, the case would still divide people years later, as many believe O.J. was innocent, and others aren't as convinced.