What Really Happened Between Russell Simmons And Shannon Elizabeth?

Hollywood has its fair share of strange or hidden relationships. As odd as it may seem, Shannon Elizabeth and Russell Simmons were the hot new couple in 2014 — at least for a brief moment. Elizabeth's breakout role was as Nadia in the 1999 raunchy teen comedy "American Pie." She then starred in another raunchy comedy with the View Askew team (Kevin Smith's production company), in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." She had a recurring role as Brooke in Seasons 6 and 7 of "That 70s Show," and came in sixth on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2008 while partnering with Derek Hough, whom she briefly dated. These days, the 49-year-old is directing and producing with her own company, Ganesha Productions, according to IMDb. She's also an animal activist and has a self-named nonprofit organization fighting for conservation issues and animal protection.

Simmons, meanwhile, is a hip-hop mogul and co-founder of Def Jam Recordings. The entrepreneur has a net worth of $340 million, per Celebrity Net Worth, thanks to his many businesses, from fashion design to film producing, to acting and writing. However, has stepped down from some of his organizations due to sexual misconduct allegations. He eventually became interested in spiritual healing, like yoga and meditation, and is a vegan. It's perhaps not surprising, then, that he and Elizabeth would find common ground. The two were a hot item almost 10 years ago. So, what happened?

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Shannon Elizabeth and Russell Simmons are both vegans

Russell Simmons and Shannon Elizabeth first caught the world's attention as a couple in January 2014 when they were photographed together at the Miramax party following that year's Golden Globe awards. They seemed affectionate on the party's red carpet, per E! News, and shared a table with Simmons' ex-wife, Kimora Lee Simmons — who he calls his best friend, and with whom he has two daughters. Simmons and Elizabeth were later seen dining at a vegan restaurant, according to the Daily Mail, and Simmons confirmed the new relationship with Bethenny Frankel on her talk show (via TMZ).

Simmons has a predilection for younger women, as his dating history attests, and Elizabeth is no exception. However, she's closer to his age than his previous partners had been, with only a 16-year gap. His ex-wife Kimora was 18 years his junior, and he also dated model Hana Nitsche, who was nearly 30 years younger than the entrepreneur.

However, his relationship with the "American Pie" star was short-lived, as the two only dated for about a year, according to Ranker. Simmons was then seen in Saint Barts with another young girlfriend in December 2015. Elizabeth grew more involved in her conservation efforts with the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation, which led her to split her time between Los Angeles, California, and Cape Town, South Africa. She also met conservationist Simon Borchert in 2015, per Ned Hardy, and the two married in 2021.

Shannon Elizabeth's marriage seems to be going strong

Shannon Elizabeth may have had a short relationship with Russell Simmons, but she's had longer relationships over the years. While keeping their private life mostly private, Elizabeth and her new husband Simon Borchert are both active on Instagram, frequently tagging each other in posts. "Thank you for the best 3 years of my life," Borchert wrote in 2020, wishing Elizabeth, who he calls Habibi, a happy anniversary. "I love you with every fiber of my being." So, it seems they officially started dating in 2017.

The couple also shares their life with animals, including Elizabeth's dog Peanut — full name: Sir Peanut Fluffington. "Peanut is truly my angel. We've been together for about 13 years, through thick & thin," Elizabeth wrote on Instagram in 2022. "He never lets me down. I love you my boy!" The musically-inclined pup seems well-loved.

Elizabeth and Borchert also have another love in their life: Since 2019 they've been caring for a blind Black Rhinoceros called Munu. Through the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation, of which Borchert is chief executive, they're working with conservationist Brett Barlow to save Munu's life, build him a sanctuary, and find him a mate to breed with. The hope is to get his species off the critically endangered list. "By saving a rhino, we send a message to the world that says life is respected," Bochert says. Elizabeth adds, "These animals are crying out for help and we're the only ones that can protect them from ourselves."