Russell Simmons on Fatherhood: My Girls Teach Me Great Life Lessons

06/02/2009 at 01:30 PM ET

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

When the marriage between Russell Simmons and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons ended, the couple who had lived their lives in the spotlight were faced with the media trail through a public divorce. Fortunately, despite a few bumps along the way — mainly custody arrangements — the pair managed to stay friendly during the ordeal, all as a result of keeping quiet, says Russell. “It’s okay if you’re separate and can be quiet, but it’s a mess if you talk,” he tells OK!.

“You just learn to be a little bit accepting and promote tolerance and act and be tolerant yourself.”

To that end, the 51-year-old only has the highest praise for his ex-wife when it comes to raising their daughters Ming Lee, 9, and Aoki Lee, 6 ½. While staying in the Hamptons with both girls, an opportunity presented itself for Ming to meet “one of the celebrities who runs around,” but after running the idea past his daughter, the proud papa reports the offer was immediately turned down. “[Ming] said, ‘No, no, I think she makes bad choices,'” he shares. “That, to me, reminded me that their mother has been doing such a good job with them because she knows what’s a good choice already.”

Determined to raise “very cultured” little girls, Russell admits that Ming — in addition to yoga, playing the piano, and studying French and Italian — enjoys traveling the globe, visiting Africa and Paris, with her mama. “She’s learned a lot about a lot to be so young,” he states. That said, Russell has also been known to throw quite the birthday bash for the girls! For Aoki’s birthday celebration last year, the doting dad pulled out all the stops for a Little Mermaid themed party. “All kinds of toys were in my backyard and all kinds of friends,” he recalls.

Of fatherhood, Russell reveals that his greatest joy is watching his two girls finding their way in the world, all the while teaching him a thing or two about life! “The way young people think, you want to think like them so they teach you a lot. Having a child teaches you so much,” he says.

“That really is the best part of being a dad. You remember what’s important in life.”

Source: OK!

– Anya

FILED UNDER: Dads , News , Parenting

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Momta2 on

I love his outlook on life.

Sammy-xx on

I just love his and Kimora’s relashionship.
Kimora posted a letter on her Twitter that Russell had written for mothers day and I was welling up and gleefully smiling in equal measure.
I wish all couples with children could handle their splits like these two have. I think that instead of Ming and Aoki being spilt between two parents dreading the thought of having 2 birthday partys and having to split the holidays and having a new ‘father’ and ‘mother’ figuir in their lifes they have got the best of both worlds and a whole new different family.
The girls are gorgeous and I love their names, cant wait to see baby boy Hounsou.

g!na on

So was Ming offered the opportunity to meet a famous teen star who she turned down meeting because the star has a bad reputation? did i get that correct?

J-Lin on

Ming and Aoki are my absolute favorites. Ming is so thoughtful and mature.

Alecia on

Exactly g!na.

MZ on

yes, gina, that’s right.

Anon on

The culture part can go over their heads if they don’t, you know, “appreciate” it. I’m sorry, but while these girls do seem lovely I can’t help but look at both Kimora and Russell’s lifestyle and think those girls are learning a lot about super frivolous spending and bad taste. I live in NYC amongst “upper society” types, and I get so annoyed. Speaking multiple languages and going places doesn’t make one cultured. I know people who WORK internationally and they’re the most ignorant people. Just food for thought. I don’t really know what to make out of Mings comment, whether its good or bad??

Aniah on

I for one take Ming’s comment in a good light. It is nice to see that she is not looking up to someone who she feels is making bad choices (for some reason I am thinking she means Miley).

SweetDiva on

I think Ming’s statement also shows that she isn’t easily impressed by fame. Ming comes from a famous family so someone that is on the front page for all the wrong reasons really isn’t going to impress her.
Being multilingual and well-traveled isn’t the same as being cultured, but it’s a start. Ming is also doing music and yoga. It seems like she is getting a very well-rounded rich education which will only enhance her as a person.

CelebBabyLover on

Aniah- I doubt she means Miley, as Miley has made mostly good choices (unlike, say, Britney or Paris). :)

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