O.J. is a support system, too, both as a big brother and a best friend. He helps Allen cope with being a celebrity in a star-crazed city.
"Marcus puts up a shield," Simpson says. "He doesn't want anybody to see the real Marcus. For a long time there was a lot of turmoil inside. He used to come over to my house and never be able to relax. He felt he had to be doing something, that he had to put on airs. I'd tell him, 'You can't be everything to everybody. Do the best you can. Be yourself.' Winning the rushing title is finally putting him at peace with himself."
Gwen likes to say that Marcus is "Red on the outside and me on the inside." For Father's Day 1985, Marcus bought a video camera, put Whitney Houston's The Greatest Love of All on his stereo for background and taped a 15-minute message to his dad. It went like this:
"....Granted, there are times we don't see eye to eye. I attribute that to the way you raised us. At a young age, you instilled in us the importance, the significance, of being an individual, our own person. To depend on no one. To be a proud, dignified and confident individual. To carry ourselves as a winner at all times. We tend to depend on you less and less. Don't feel hurt or unappreciated. Understand you created these little monsters; we are a reflection of you....
"I may be stubborn and hardheaded and think I'm invincible. But that's not true. I need you, Daddy.... I love you with all my heart. Thanks for being my friend."
Red didn't make it through the whole tape. He turned off the machine and cried.
Gwen's tough guys aren't as tough as they seem.