On Friday, March 31, hip-hop Mogul and Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons announced the end of his seven year marriage to Kimora lee Simmons, the head of Baby Phat fashion label.
“We have been together for 14 years,” said the 48-year-old Simmons in Friday’s released statement to the Associated Press. “Kimora and I will remain committed parents and caring friends with great love and admiration for each other.”
Although living under the same roof, the statement said the couple has been separeted for a while. In her recent feature in the current issue of “Vibe Vixen” magazine, Lee Simmons had denied rumors of a impending split from her husband. She said, “The things that we go through are very regular things that regular people in Middle America go through.”
The couple married in 1998 after meeting at the 1992 New York Fashion Week, where Lee Simmons was a model. During their marriage, they partnered on various business ventures, which Simmons said will continue. “We will … continue to work side by side on a daily basis as partners in all of our businesses,” he said.
Simmons started Def Jam in 1984, with colleague Rick Rubin, and it became the home of many of the first mainstream rap stars like Public Enemy and Run-DMC. In 1999, he sold it for $100 million. He is currently the head of Rush Communications.
The couple has two daughters together, Ming Lee, 6 and Aoki Lee, 3, who have been featured in ads for Lee’s Baby Phat clothings.
This announcement came on the heels of other Black celebrities ending long-term marriages. In January of this year, Tracey Edmonds, the wife of Grammy-winning R&B singer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, filed for a divorce after 13 years of marriage. Like other Hollywood divorcees, they cited irreconcilable differences as the cause.
The couple has two sons. In a statement they released concerning their divorce, the couple said, “We remain best friends.”
Similarly, August 2005 saw the end of Eddie and Nicole Mitchell Murphy’s 12 year marriage. The comedian and his wife, also citing irreconcilable differences, have five children. Their marriage survived Murphy’s highly publicized run-in with the West Hollywood police, after he was pulled over for picking up a transsexual prostitute in 1997.
“The welfare of our children is our main concern and their best interest is our first priority,” Murphy said in a statement that was released shortly after his divorce announcement.