Kim Kardashian had to do something no teenager should ever have to do way back in 1998.
She was just 18 years old at the time, and she was asked to testify in court during a trial in which prosecutors sought justice for the murder of her then-boyfriend TJ Jackson‘s mother.
Delores Martes ‘Dee Dee’ Jackson had been previously married to Tito Jackson. Of course, Tito was an original member of the Jackson 5, and he is Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson‘s older brother. His marriage to Dee Dee produced children including son TJ, who is now 44 years old. Back in the ’90s, TJ (pictured above, inset, from 2020) dated the SKIMS mogul when they were both teenagers — and long before Kim reached A-list fame.
Tragically, Dee Dee died one night in late August 1994. She had been at the house of her boyfriend, businessman Don Bohana, in Ladera Heights, California. The two were drinking alcohol and swimming when something went horribly wrong. Bohana claimed Dee Dee drowned accidentally in the pool. But several years after her death, Los Angeles County prosecutors brought a second-degree murder case against Bohana.
When Bohana went to trial in 1998, Kim and TJ were among the witnesses asked to testify. Kim had been just 14 years old when Dee Dee’s shocking and unexpected death occurred, but she was very close to the woman in the time she dated TJ. So, testifying on the prosecutions’ behalf was difficult for Kim.
She recounted that shocking and little-known tale in a new interview with Vogue Italia this week. Released on Monday, the high fashion mag’s chat with the SKKN By Kim mogul covered quite a bit of ground. But most surprisingly, Kim opened up about having to go on the stand while she was just a teenager.
The Selfish author got to that topic by first discussing the friend group she’d grown up with in elementary and high school. Calling them “the Lifers,” Kim reminisced proudly about their connection:
“I had the best group of friends from high school. They were friends from elementary school, even preschool, and we’re all still best friends today. We call ourselves ‘the Lifers.’ There are seven of us. We look at our pictures from our teenage parties, our bat mitzvahs, and everything that we did and I have to say: we were so cool back then! I always felt supported. But yes, if you think about it, as a teenager, especially in those mid 90s years it was hectic. My dad was going through all those trials and it was pretty intense in my life.”
But it’s not only fond memories from that time that come rushing back. As Kim explained to the outlet, Dee Dee’s death and the subsequent murder trial against Bohana was extremely difficult to go through:
“My boyfriend’s mother whom I was really close with was murdered in 1994 and I had to be part of that trial. … I had to testify and was there every day with my boyfriend. I was just 14, you know.”
And of course, Dee Dee’s death took place just about six weeks after the death of Nicole Brown Simpson, who had been a very close friend of Kim’s mom Kris Jenner.
Having those two deaths occur in such a close time period was awful. And then to have OJ Simpson‘s murder trial — which directly involved Kim’s father, Robert Kardashian Sr. — during that period, too, was too much to bear.
Kim explained it succinctly to Vogue Italia:
“To have that experience at such a young age was insane. And it was also back-to-back with the OJ trial, there was just a lot of layers there.”
We honestly can’t even imagine. To testify at any murder trial is a serious, life-changing thing. But to do so as an 18-year-old?! And for the death of a person you’d been close to when you were just 14?? Wow…
As for Bohana, he was found guilty of second-degree murder in that 1998 trial and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for Dee Dee’s death. He is now 85 years old, and remains behind bars.
Bohana has petitioned officials for his release every time he comes up for parole, which has happened several times in recent years. But thus far, he has been denied parole, and his incarceration continues.
You can read Kim’s full Vogue Italia interview HERE.