In Tuesday’s (March 15) episode of “The People v. OJ Simpson,” titled “Conspiracy Theories,” not as much attention is paid to Marcia Clark’s (Sarah Paulson) personal life, as it was in “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” Instead, a different piece of the puzzle is explored: the assault allegations against Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance).
While it wasn’t a large scene, there is a moment that plays out in Tuesday’s episode that finds Cochran reaching his breaking point when he sees his ex-wife Barbara on “A Current Affair.”
Previously in the FX series, Cochran spoke with his ex on the phone, presenting an offer to let her keep their houses to keep her quiet. Well, apparently, this offer was not looked at with fond eyes. Then again, “A Current Affair” money in 1995 was probably something to reckon with. So, who exactly is Barbara Cochran Berry?
Berry was an elementary school teacher when she first met Cochran. The couple had two kids together and the L.A. Times reported the first time Berry filed for divorce — she filed twice — was in 1967.
It was in this filing that Berry accused Cochran of physical abuse, stating, “On April 29, 1967, my husband violently pushed me against the wall, held me there and grabbed me by my chin. He has slapped me in the past, torn a dress off me (and) threatened on numerous occasions to beat me up.”
The famed attorney was never officially charged and eventually, the couple reconciled. In 1977, Berry filed for divorce again, citing similar reasons. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in 1995, Cochran denied the allegations, saying, “I never, never touched her. You can talk to her.” Not long after, the reporter in question did talk to Berry, who said only this, “I am very happy for Johnnie’s phenomenal success.”
1995 was a packed year, fully of OJ Simpson drama, but it was also a complicated one for Cochran. Half a year after Berry was interviewed by the L.A. Times, she released a book, titled “Life After Johnnie,” which paints her marriage with Cochran as one wrought with both physical and emotional abuse as she not only discusses the physical abuse in more detail, she alleges infidelity on his part, claiming Johnnie had multiple mistresses.
Among the many bombshells she dropped against Simpson’s attorney, Berry claimed Cochran had a son outside of their marriage which tied him to a family outside of their own. According to People, Johnnie’s daughter Tiffany speculated at the time that her mother was presenting these accusations to build a bigger legal argument for their divorce.
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Once the trial ended and Berry published her book, she disappeared from the public eye. She did apparently put the divorce and drama behind her as The NY Times reported in 2000 that she remarried. Cochran sent her a TV set as a gift.
How did these allegations of abuse against OJ’s celebrity attorney affect the trial? We all know the outcome of the whole ordeal but it looks like the Ryan Murphy series may continue to explore this lesser known detail throughout the final five episodes of the season.
“The People v. OJ Simpson” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.