LL Cool J takes on many gigs- he’s currently the star of NCIS, host of Lip Sync Battle and frequent Grammy host as well. Learn more about his supportive wife, Simone Smith.
The pair has been together since they were teens in Queens, New York. Now, they have four children and support one another through life’s ups and downs.
Here’s what you should know about the loving wife and mother.
1. She Met LL When He Was 19
Smith, whose maiden name is Johnson, was the cousin of one of LL’s friends. “I was just 19, something like that,” he told Jimmy Kimmel. “It was Easter and I was driving down the block in my mother’s car.”
He stopped the car to greet his friend, who said, “Hey, you wanna meet my cousin?” “I looked over and said ‘Oh yeah, I’ll meet your cousin,'” he explained.
After they started dating, LL had to go on tour. He told her about his upcoming eight-week work commitment saying, “I’m gonna be gone for about eight weeks and I don’t want you to be with anybody else. And so if you think that you’re gonna be dating somebody else, the maybe we should just be friends till I get back. I was like, ‘I’m not gonna date anybody else, you’re my boyfriend,'”she told VH1.
She knew they were official when LL brought her up onstage for his song “I Need Love” at a concert in Miami. “He kissed me in front of all the girls. And those girls, if you could have heard the names they were calling me from the audience, it was crazy,” she explained to VH1.
In he interview with Kate Couric, above, he dishes on the fact that although the ladies call him LL, his wife refers to him as “Todd,” which is his actual name.
This is the fourth time her husband is hosting the Grammys. When he was up to his third, Smith told City TV what she says to him before the awards show. “I just tell him to go ahead and kill it,” she said.
2. She Didn’t Like the Video for ‘Doin’ It’
In his memoir, I Make My Own Rules, he explained how he proposed. He turned down the volume of the car radio and asked her, “Do you wanna do this?” In the book he said, “I know it’s not romantic. I didn’t get down on one knee with a big ring and a poem. But what I said, I meant from my heart.”
They tied the knot in 1995, and when Simone came back from their honeymoon, she viewed the music video for his song, “Doin’ It.”
In an interview with Oprah, she said, I just remember we came back from our honeymoon and popped the video in and I’m like, “What the hell is this?”
She continued, saying:
And you know what? I didn’t talk to him for two weeks. I was mad. I was so upset over that video because I just felt like we’re married. I understand you’re a sex symbol and yes, you’re sexy. That’s one of the reasons why I married you, because you’re sexy. But at the same time, now that you’re married, there should be some limitations.
3. She Has 4 Kids with LL
They have a son, Najee and three daughters, Italia, Samaria and Nina. When talking about her husband and children, she said, “We are a family who believes in working hard and pursuing our dreams.”
In an interview with Ambition Bliss she dished on the secrets to being a successful mother and wife:
My marriage and my kids definitely come first, you know? I make time for my kids…I do the regular things that moms do. I run my house, I drive my kids to school, and I have a great support system. It’s definitely important for me and my husband to have ‘Mommy-Daddy time.’ We do the movies, we go to dinner, but we also do family things with the kids as well.
4. She Battled Cancer Through Prayer
In 2004, she was diagnosed with stage III chondorosarcoma, which is a rare form of cancer.
She had a chondrosarcoma tumor in her tibia bone, and underwent microvascular reconstructive surgery. Doctors had to remove her tibia bone and replace it with her fibular bone from her left leg.
Her rehabilitation took two-and-a-half years, as she had to learn to walk again.
Prayer was a big part of her recovery process. She told BlackDoctor.org, “I fought through it, so I was a little depressed for like about…two weeks…but my grandmother called me up and told me, ‘You better not be depressed and get prayed up for those doctors who are doing this surgery on you and you’re gonna beat this.’ So I prayed to God and since then my test results have been great.” Even now, she frequently refers to prayer on her Instagram page, like the post shown above.
Her doting husband was by her side throughout. “I made some decisions professionally and decided to be by Simone’s side more during that period,” he told Oprah.
5. She Started a Charitable Jewelry Line
Simone, a self-proclaimed “hoop connoisseur” started the company by selling big hoop earrings. “Well, Todd actually brought the opportunity to me. He presented the opportunity to me, and being that I think I’m a hoop-connoisseur [laughs], I jumped right on it,” she explained. I love earrings and I love to mix high end pieces with costume jewelry. I love accessories, and this is just a lifestyle brand that all the ladies will love…God willing,”
Her line consists of hoop earrings and chunky bracelets. You can view them on her website.
After she got her surgery, the lollipop tattoo that she got for LL’s song “Candy Girl,” was disfigured, so it now symbolizes her journey. Therefore, she partnered with the American Cancer Society to carry “A Sweet Touch of Hope.” It’s a lollipop charm whose sales benefit cancer. Now $10 from each piece of jewelry she sells goes to the American Cancer Society.
In the interview with City TV, show above, she talked about the name of the charm and what it means to her:
I named it Sweet Touch of Hope because life is sweet and it has a little bite in it because the lollipop was disfigured during the surgery, and the bite represents what cancer does to individuals and their families.