DETAILS: It's been 20 years since the Bronco chase and the trial. Any plans to mark the occasion?
Kato Kaelin: I joke about this. People think it's like a reunion. What do you wear? Will the men be bald? Will the women be heavier? I'll tell you who got heavier—O.J. Oh, my God. I remember when just the glove didn't fit! Doesn't his prison have a salad bar? [Laughs]
DETAILS: You've kept your sense of humor, at least.
Kato Kaelin: It wasn't always easy. People either hated me or loved me. I was just a witness, but people formed their opinions. They wanted to think I knew something I didn't. They also made judgments about my demeanor in the trial, but honestly, I was just nervous. It gave me migraines and stomach pains because I didn't know what reaction I'd get when I'd meet people, and I don't like not being liked. Barbara Walters would tell me, "If everybody likes you, you're doing something wrong." But I honestly don't know if that's true.
DETAILS: At the time, you were a struggling actor. Do you ever wish you'd capitalized on the attention?
Kato Kaelin: Hindsight is 20/20. I mean, I've never not worked. I did a goofy fake-court show called Eye for an Eye. I've done Tailgating With Kato, over 140 episodes of my talk show for FilmOn. But I turned down Murder She Wrote because my rep said to stay away from murder. I wish I'd done it—it was better than the offers I was getting from the World Wrestling Federation or events signing Broncos. Once, I was at dinner with Larry King, and—I'll never forget it—we were with a sheikh all night. He offered me $10 million to go back to Saudi Arabia with him. He wasn't kidding. I think he just wanted to hang out. I turned it down.
DETAILS: Is your loungewear line, Kato Potato, a sign you've made peace with your slacker image?
Kato Kaelin: I really think this will be successful. But it's not clothing for superheroes. Everyone with a couch is a couch potato sometimes. Each piece has a pocket with a zipper for the TV remote, so you'll never lose it. There's also a pocket for Cheetos, Fritos, or Doritos. If it ends in "O," you can be a Kato Potato.
DETAILS: Like Judge Ito? Have you stayed in touch with him or anyone else from the trial?
Kato Kaelin: Not really. I saw [detective] Mark Fuhrman recently. I played basketball once with [prosecutor] Chris Darden and totally schooled him. I'm still friends with Geraldo. And once, after the trial, I was golfing with my friend Norm Macdonald, and the girl I was dating came over to warn me that O.J. was in the clubhouse and he was hitting on her. I couldn't imagine the pickup line. "Hey, sexy, do you want to go look for the real killers with me?" But Norm and I avoided him. I do wonder about O.J. sometimes.
DETAILS: In 2012, gossip columnist Cindy Adams reported you told her O.J. killed his wife. Then you told TMZ you were misquoted. What's the story?
Kato Kaelin: I said my opinion is I think he's guilty. But I never met the reporter or said what she said I did, which was "The statute of limitations has passed, so I can now say, 'Yes, he did it.'" I never, ever said that. We did get a retraction eventually. When that happened, it was almost like the trial all over again. I had reporters outside. I had NBC asking, "Is it true you know something?" I didn't know anything. I was in the guesthouse. But I got the evil and the hate again.
DETAILS: Arguably, the most lasting impact of the trial was the rise of the Kardashians—Robert Kardashian was O.J.'s attorney. Did you know them?
Kato Kaelin: When I lived in Nicole Simpson's guesthouse, they would all come in—Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney—and jump on the bed and wake me up early. They were like, "Kato, let's have fun." Later, the Kardashians were sort of snooty to me. I was on the list to do some charity poker event with them, and someone called and said, "No, we can't let you in." But yeah, I knew Kim when she was this big. [Spreads hands like he's telling a fish story] And that was just her ass!
DETAILS: You're a real cut-up. Why not do comedy full-time?
Kato Kaelin: I've done some standup but I've always seen myself as a host, not as a comedian. The comedy world is very dark, and a lot of comedians are heavy into drugs and I knew I couldn't hang with that crowd. I have never done a drug in my life, not even pot, which I'm not saying is a good or bad thing. I don't judge. I just don't do it. Plus, my friends already think I'm high.
DETAILS: Over the years, you've been the butt of a lot
of jokes. That must have hurt.
Kato Kaelin: Yeah, I mean, I always liked Letterman. The way he made fun of me was innocuous enough that I'd always laugh. Leno was different. He was mean-spirited. He had me on once and later said on the Today show it was a big mistake. I guess America didn't like it. But I don't like to focus on the negatives.
DETAILS: You're in a serious relationship with Leyna Nguyen, one of L.A.'s top news anchors. What's it like to be in bed with a member of the media?
Kato Kaelin: Listen, I've never known a woman who's stood up for me like she has. Leyna said at a speech in front of journalists recently that the one thing the news got 100 percent wrong during the trial was Kato Kaelin. I was blown away. Our life is really good. I'm happy. And hey, I'm no longer in a guesthouse. I bought my own place in 2001. It is the best feeling being a homeowner. It's a town house: two bedrooms, three baths. And did I tell you I live behind it?