LL Cool J is a man of many talents. The 54-year-old multihyphenate star (born James Todd Smith) has taken over Hollywood as a hip hop artist, record producer and an actor (don’t sleep on his comedic turn in Halloween H2O). Now he’s adding award show host to his summarizes as he will be emceeing the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards alongside Jack Harlow and Nicki Minaj on August 28. Although the gig is new one for LL, he is not a stranger to the event, winning a Moonman statue for his iconic hit “Mama Said Knock You Out’ in 1991 and the Video Vanguard award in 1997.
The NCIS: Los Angeles star has also found incredible success in his private life as well. Beating the Tinseltown odds, LL has been married to his wife Simone South, for over 25 years! Find out all about their fairytale romance, below.
LL & Simone’s Meet Cute
Having one of the longest relationships in Hollywood begs the question “Where did it all start?”. LL and Simone met while they were teenagers in 1987. “I was just 19, something like that,” LL recalled to Jimmy Kimmel in 2012. “It was Easter and I was driving down the block in my mother’s car.” The star said he stopped to talk to a buddy when the buddy asked if LL wanted to meet his cousin Simone. At first, LL was cool on the idea — but then he caught a glimpse of Simone. “I looked over and said ‘Oh yeah, I’ll meet your cousin.’”
After eight years of dating, the couple made it official and got married in August 8, 1995. As for the reason behind their lasting union, Simone once dished to Oprah Winfrey, “Putting God first, we both come from a spiritual background. And compromise, a lot of compromise. Picking your battles; respecting each other.”
Simone Is A Cancer Survivor
In 2004, Simone was diagnosed with stage 3 chondrosarcoma after discovering a knot in her leg. A 15-hour surgery and over two-year recovery process where she had to learn to walk again has Simone able to be cancer-free for over 14 years now. And LL was by her side of her the entire time. “You do not abandon someone in that fox hole,” LL told Oprah about her dedication. “You gotta be there in that fox hole with them.” Now the couple help others battle the disease as supporters of the “Beat Cancer Like a Boss” campaign.
Beyonce & Rihanna Are Fans Of Simone’s Jewelry Line
Simone starting her own jewelry line after beating cancer. She teamed up with her pal Mary J Blige to make the line Sister Love and then began a separate line for Walmart called “Simone I. Smith for Walmart”. Beyonce, Cardi B and Rihanna have all been clients of Simone! Talk about a boss!
She Is A Proud Mom Of Four
Simone and LL are the proud parents of four amazing children! Their big brood includes son Najee Laurent Todd Eugene Smith32, and daughters, Italy Anita Maria Smith31, Samaria Leah Wisdom Smith26, and Nina Simone Smith22.