Russell Simmons: Kimora and I Are Best Friends For Our Girls

07/02/2009 at 05:00 PM ET
Courtesy JET

Where some Hollywood stars may shy away from their celebrity status, Russell Simmons is all about embracing the fame for a good cause.

“Celebrity is valuable,” he tells JET in their July issue. “You can use it to benefit others.”

While Russell stays true to his word with his dedication to countless charity projects, he is equally as determined to instill the same qualities in his daughters Ming Lee, 9, and Aoki Lee, 6 ½.

“I tell them that giving is part of your receiving process; life is about giving.”

The girls witness a great example of giving when it comes to the relationship between their father and mom Kimora Lee Simmons.

When the couple divorced last year, Kimora was granted sole custody of the children with Russell entitled to visitation; however, the two have been known to make a few adjustments to the schedule.

“Obviously we have an arrangement, but Kimora is very gracious when it comes to the children,” he shares. “Whenever there is something special, additional days that I want, she is very accommodating.”

With Ming and Aoki living in Los Angeles with Kimora, the doting dad is thrilled when he has the chance to visit California and spend time with his girls — so much so, he laughs, that the trio often forgo their extracurricular activities, much to Kimora’s chagrin!

“They have so many activities, I admit when I have them, we cancel activities and do special stuff. Kimora gets upset when we do that, but we try not to do that too often.”

Now, full swing into summer, Russell reveals that the kids spend most of the weekends with him in New York. During that time, it is his youngest daughter Aoki who keeps the proud papa constantly on his toes! “[She] loves the stage,” he says. “When she has a chance to make a speech, no matter where it is, she can’t wait.”

The same, however, does not ring true for Ming. “[She] is a little more shy, more of an artist. She is a painter; she is not too much into the stage, although she can perform,” Russell notes.

“They are both in front of the camera so often, but it is work for her.”

The girls recently became big sisters when Kimora and actor Djimon Hounsou welcomed their first child together, son Kenzo Lee. Despite finding new partners in life — Russell is dating model Noemie Lenoir, and hopes to one day expand his brood — the two remain devoted to their children. “Kimora and I talk about pretty much everything,” he explains. “We are the best of friends. And that’s very helpful to the girls.” The friendship even extends to Djimon!

“We talk a little bit, of course. We talk about fatherhood and his experiences and everything. I hope to make a movie with him soon. He is a very calm, sweet person and a great stabilizing force in the way things have been between me and Kimora, so that’s great.”

Source: JET; July 6-13 issue

— Anya

FILED UNDER: Kids , News , Parenting

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Showing 24 comments

mslewis on

I read that issue of Jet while at the hairdresser yesterday. It’s a nice story. I’m happy that Kimora and Russell are still friends for their girls and for themselves!! It would be a shame if they hated each other after all the years they’ve been together. The both seem like nice people.

cathy b on

Russell is a great dad and Kimora is a great mom, so I know that there kids will be caring and great adults when they get older. I can’t wait to see pic of her baby boy!!!

Michelle on

How wonderful that they can get along so well even after getting divorced. Glad to see that they are both putting the welfare of their daughters first.

Ashley on

What great, mature parents they both are. Quite a relief in Hollywood these days! The girls are beautiful and look very happy. I think Ming looks just like Kimora and Aoki looks more like Russell. Love their names too (including Kenzo). This is an awesome extended family!!

Devyn on

Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger should take a lesson from these people.

Katie on

Devyn, as should Kelly Rutherford and her ex-husband Daniel!

What a lovely read this was!

Brianna on

Aoki is tall for a six-year-old!

Terri on

Great article!

TV on

Brianna – Kimora is tall for an Asian. I think that’s where Aoki gets her height from since Russell isn’t that tall himself. I’ve seen Russell before in Las Vegas during a movie premier and was surprised to see that he wasn’t much taller than me.

michelle on

Very nice article. Sounds like they are being very mature and sensible. Dicorve doesn’t always have to be so ugly.

Aoki looks just like Russel.

brannon on

Very nice reminds me of my own situation – my mom and stepdad frequently go out with my dad and stepmom. Great friends and we all spend holidays all together. In fact, as we speak, both dads golfing – moms at the beach w my son!

J-Lin on

Kimora’s father is black. She’s black and Asian (Chinese and Japanese).

Mellissa on

Wow! those girls are really growing up and more beautiful than ever! They are definitely cherished by both parents!

Aniah on

TV, Kimora is half black and half asian. She got the height from her (black) father.

I love the Simmons family! I agree with everyone that more divorced couples should be like them. It’s the best thing for the kids.

Laura on

How refreshing to hear a divorced couple speaking so highly of each other and keeping things just so for the sake of their children. It’s a shame so many others in the public eye use the children to get at the other x

Meream on

He seems like a nice guy. It’s truly refreshing to hear exes who speak highly of each other.

Roxanne on

It’s amazing how much they have grown since mtv cribs was aired.
they look like very well behaved young ladies with maybe a little hint of devilishness in them. i’m so glad to hear that Russell and Kimora and Dijimon.(omg i know i butchered his name but i had a brain fart so please don’t yell at me lol)are getting along with one another. It’s really healthy for the girls to see. can’t wait to see pics of Kenzo. I wish everyone a safe and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

Joy on

This scenario reminds me of Demi Moore-Bruce Willis-Ashton Kutcher. How I wish my parents had been kind to each other after they divorced. Ming Lee and Aoki Lee are 2 very lucky little ladies to have parents who are kind to each other. It is priceless!!

Kelli on

I think their relationship is wonderful. Even if the parents aren’t divorced; if two people have a child together but choose to end the relatioship they should be able to get along for the kids. That’s what me and my son’s father do (he’s 3). It’s not perfect but our son is happy and that’s what counts.

My pride has definitely gone out of the window! And maybe a little bit of his!

TV on

I am very well aware that Kimora is also black. But I was pointing out that for someone to also have Asian in their blood Kimora is surprisingly tall. My brother is a perfect example to use. We’re half Filipino and half French-Canadian. While I am 5′ 2″ tall, my brother happens to be 5′ 11 1/2″ tall. He towers over a lot of our relatives whenever there are family get togethers.

Jennie on

No Kimora’s mother is Korean and Japanese, not Chinese and Japanese.

FC on

I love seeing a new article on him and the family, especially him and the girls. Considering how it seemed a bit rough at the start of Kimora and Russell’s separation/divorce, glad to see things going so well for them.

Those girls are adorable, and still making me feel old…lol.

And he’s dating Noemie now? I thought he was still with Porschla. Didn’t know they split.

SweetDiva on

Porschla then Katie Rost then Julie Henderson and now Noemie…

Bailey on

It is nice that they don’t seem to have any hard feelings or bitterness towards each other after their divorce and that they are putting the girls first. Divorce doesn’t have to be a war. I’m glad to see that they maintain a respectful relationship for one another and it is nice that Kimora allows Russell plenty of time with their lovely daughters.

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