Russell Simmons has addressed his daughter’s claims that he is a “deadbeat dad.” And, as might be expected, he called shenanigans on the whole thing.
During a recent appearance on In Depth With Graham Bensinger, Simmons was asked how recent headlines about his life have affected him. Before refuting the claims made by Aoki Lee Simmons, his youngest with ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons, the Phat Farm founder opened up about his strained relationship with his kids.
“The only thing that affects me about this is my children being upset with me,” he told Graham Bensinger. “I love them more than I love everything. And when my children have a narrative about me that’s not accurate, and when my children publicly say that I haven’t acted well — I’ve always been the one to hold space for them. They know they can curse me out, yell at me — they know that I love them unconditionally. I cannot unlove them.”
Simmons went on to dismiss his daughters’ claims of his mental unfitness — “do I seem mentally ill to you?” — before continuing: “Yesterday, you [Graham Bensinger] were with me when my daughter texted me. Tomorrow, I close on their new apartment — the 23-year-old, and the 21-year-old.”
He added: “To say that I’m a deadbeat when I paid $50,000 a month for 20 years — and I still pay. And I’m still signing a new lease for the two of them so they can live in Manhattan, so one can model and the other one can go back to school.”
Check out the full interview clip below. His comments about his daughters can be found at the 3:28 mark.
Russell Simmons had previously addressed the claims made by his daughters Ming and Aoki back in September, when he took to Twitter to again reiterate that he could never “unlove” his daughters.
“There is absolutely no way for me to unlove my daughters or their mother for that matter,” he wrote. “I love my daughters unconditionally and that will never change.”
The Def Jam co-founder had a huge online blowout with his daughters and ex-wife Kimora Lee on Father’s Day. After he took issue with his eldest daughter Ming wishing Kimora a Happy Father’s Day on Instagram, a family firestorm ensued.
Simmons took to his story with a not-so-subtle message, posting a meme that read: “Stop telling fathers they should have fought harder to see their children and start asking mothers why he had to fight at all.”
The following day, Kimora took to Instagram Live to air her ex-husband out. Among other things, the Baby Phat mogul said that she’s had Simmons blocked for some time now, yet he still posts on social media as if they’re tight.
Their youngest daughter Aoki then joined in, sharing not-so-nice messages from her father and even a muted video where he appeared to be manically raging at her on FaceTime.
According to Aoki, she and her family had exhausted all options trying to repair the relationship with the music mogul and they feel he may have a mental health issue.
“My father is not well, for years, he needs help and won’t accept that he refuses to acknowledge he is not himself,” she wrote in a post on Instagram. “He has threatened and bullied my sister, my grandma, he has harassed my grandma in the middle of the night in poor health, send a man to my sisters apt at 2am to scare her.”
She continued: “He lashes out at ANYONE who does not say ‘oh Russell everything is fine.’ Well it’s not fine. If I ‘never get a fashion job again’ like he threatens, I’ll be a lawyer I guess and work in criminal justice. Sure I love my job but if he takes it away from me I won’t die. You don’t threaten my sister and grandma and mother and say ‘who’s gonna believe you I’m Russell Simmons nobody thinks I’m crazy’ well he is.”
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