Christie Prody always dreamt of "moving somewhere tropical" and buying a luxury car. She's living at least part of her dream as O.J. Simpson's longtime girlfriend.
That's not to say it's all come up roses for Prody, 32, and the 60-year-old former football star. Police have occasionally been called to domestic spats between the pair. She has also been arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession and for animal cruelty after a cat left alone in her apartment starved to death.
But the blonde who grew up outside Minneapolis hoping to be a psychiatrist has stuck it out with Simpson for more than a decade. She showed up in court in Las Vegas last week when he appeared on charges of robbery, kidnapping and other offenses stemming from a hotel-room confrontation with sports memorabilia collectors.
Prody has been seen numerous times recently coming and going from the four-bedroom, four-bath, $1.1 million (780,000 EUR) home Simpson bought in 2000. Prody had moved to Miami a year earlier, after the two met in Los Angeles.
"People need to know he hasn't done anything wrong," Prody told reporters and photographers as she pulled up to the house in a modest Mitsubishi sports car.
Prody, who bears some resemblance to Simpson's slain ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, had bigger plans when she graduated from high school in St. Anthony's Village, Minnesota. She was one of 69 people in the 1993 senior class.
A close high school friend, Stefanie Prokopiuk, said the two have remained friends and that people have the wrong perceptions about Prody.
"She's a very smart girl and she's a very good person. She may have made some different choices. She's not the idiot that everybody makes her out to be all the time," Prokopiuk said in an interview. "Everybody makes her out to be the new Nicole, and I don't see her as that."
In the school yearbook, Prody wrote that she hoped to "get my Ph.D. in psychiatry, move somewhere tropical and buy a Mercedes."
Although she attended the University of Minnesota from 1993 to 1995, Prody did not graduate, according to school records. She moved in 1996 to Los Angeles and worked at least some of the time as a waitress.
That was after Simpson was acquitted in the bloody 1994 knife slayings of his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman. It's not clear how they got together, but Prody's mother has said in past media interviews that her daughter wanted to meet Simpson and occasionally went by his house.
"At first I thought it was a passing thing, a fantasy," Prody's mother Cathy Bellmore told the Star Tribune newspaper in 1999. "All it did was alienate her from me. She wouldn't call me for a week."
Bellmore, who now lives in Florida, did not respond to repeated messages left by The Associated Press on her answering machine.
Once Simpson and Prody were together in Miami, it was not long before they started getting attention - not all of it positive.
In 1999, Simpson called police from Prody's town house to say that she had been on a cocaine binge. Then, in 2000, police said Simpson told them Prody had kicked and slapped him at a Miami hotel.
Later that year, Prody accused Simpson of coming uninvited into her home, erasing messages on her answering machine, taking pages out of an address book and also taking a letter. Simpson denied wrongdoing, and Prody ultimately decided not to press charges.
There was another physical confrontation between the couple in 2001, and another spat involving a neighbor in 2005. No charges were filed in those incidents.
In recent years, Prody has spent most of her time at Simpson's house, where he has lived with his two children by Nicole: Sydney, now 22, and Justin, 19. Another Simpson daughter from his first marriage, Arnelle, also lives in South Florida.
Simpson attorney Yale Galanter said that their relationship is comparable to a marriage and that Prody clearly is not in it just for fame or fortune.
"I know she's a very, very significant part of his life," Galanter said. "In my 25 years of practicing law, I can tell which ones are in it for the ride and which ones are committed. She's one of the good ones."
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