LL Cool J's Daughters Are All Grown Up Now (& Look Just Like Him)

In 1987, a teenage LL Cool J met Simone Smith through a mutual friend. "I was just 19, something like that. It was Easter and I was driving down the block in my mother's car," LL Cool J recounted. After stopping the car to say hello to a friend, the rapper was introduced to Simone who turned out to be his friend's cousin. It did not take long for the two to start dating and in 1995, Simone and LL Cool J said 'yes' to forever. Since then, the couple has enjoyed a blissful marriage which she credits to one thing — their shared faith. "The realest answer that I can give you is that God should be front and center because marriage takes work," Simone told BET in a 2023 interview.

While their marriage has given LL Cool J and Simone a lifetime of happiness, the couple's love story has also produced four kids: Najee Laurent Smith born in 1989, Italia Anita Smith born in 1991, Samaria Leah Smith born in 1995, and Nina Simone Smith born in 2000. And while being a dad is arguably his favorite job, LL Cool remains committed to living his own life to the fullest too. "They have to go after their dreams, and I have to continue to go after mine and make sure that I'm fulfilling my purpose on this planet," he told People in a 2024 interview. Unsurprisingly, all of the rapper's daughters have followed in his footsteps in that regard.

Italia Anita Smith is an accomplished real estate agent

Despite her growing up with an entertainer as a father, Italia Anita Smith opted for a completely different career path. Per her LinkedIn, Smith works as a real estate agent, with several; years of experience working with firms like Keller Williams Realty and Douglas Elliman Real Estate. As written in her LinkedIn bio, Smith has worked with several high-profile clients, ranging from professional athletes to Hollywood celebrities. Before working in the real estate industry, Smith worked in marketing, with experiences across different companies, including CBS. Her profile on the professional networking site also reveals that Smith, an alum of Northeastern University, holds a Commercial Real Estate certificate from Cornell University.

Outside of her career, Smith has also enjoyed bliss in her personal life. On June 17, 2017, Smith got married to her longtime partner, Lamar Cardinez. "Blessed to have had the wedding of my dreams. I still can't put it to words. But I married my BEST friend @mr.cardinez," she gushed in a June 2016 Instagram post. Smith and Cardinez have since expanded their family, welcoming three kids together. And while Smith is undoubtedly proud of her professional achievements, the mom of three is just as proud of her family life.

Samaria Leah Smith found love in fashion

As a young child, Samaria Leah Smith developed a love for fashion and soon discovered she had a knack for reworking clothes. "My mom would get so mad because I would just change and cut my clothes all day," she recounted to Coveteur in 2020. Unsurprisingly, as an adult, Samaria pursued her sartorial interests, enrolling to study fashion design and fashion merchandising at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology after high school. 

Following her graduation from FIT, Samaria launched her eponymous brand Samaria Leah, a brand focused on reworking and repurposing denim wears. "From a young age, i was resisting my mom's attempts to dress me — I just had to do it myself, i insisted on it. I would change my clothes anywhere from 3 to 5 times a day," she shared on the brand's website. "For years, I've been cutting, distressing, and altering my own jeans to fit my body better. When friends & even strangers constantly asked me where I got my jeans from, I knew denim was where I needed to step in."

Smith is also in a loving relationship with L.A. Rams safety Jordan Fuller. Though it is unclear when the two started dating, there is no denying how crazy they are about each other. "Happy blessed birthday to my baby, my best friend! I love you from top to bottom, front to back," Smith gushed in a March 2022 birthday post. 

Nina Simone Smith followed in her father's footsteps

LL Cool J's oldest kids might not have an interest in their father's line of work, but Nina Simone Smith, the youngest of the bunch, is set to carry on her father's legacy. During a 2020 appearance on "The Steve Harvey Show," the rapper revealed that Nina had taken up a career in music. "My youngest daughter Nina, she's a singer ... she really has that gene, and she loves it. "I'm going to support her, but she has to make it. Daddy will help, but you gotta make it. What I am not going to do to my children is ruin their lives by giving them everything they should work for," the rapper explained to host Steve Harvey.

That same year, Nina-Simone released her first single, "Call Me," followed by a four-track EP in 2021 called "Ecstacy." In a bid to sharpen her music skills, Smith enrolled to study songwriting at Berklee College of Music, eventually graduating in 2023. "The baby of the Smith bunch graduated from Berklee College of Music with a bachelor's in songwriting. We are so proud of you!! Go Beanz!!! Now go out there and let your work be impactful and inspiring. And always, always ask God for daily guidance. His plan is bigger than yours. Love you Beanie Rama," mom Simone Smith wrote in a celebratory Instagram post. 

The Smith girls were raised to be grounded

Italia Anita Marie Smith, Samaria Leah Smith, and Nina Simone Smith were raised with the consciousness of the real world. In a 2017 interview with Oprah Winfrey's "MasterClass,"  LL Cool J opened up about his parenting style, revealing that he was not a fan of "spoiling" kids. "After my experiences growing up, I've been a little uncomfortable with really putting a lot of pressure on my kids. But I am a stickler for excellence, and I'm not going to spoil you. You gotta prove you're worthy of whatever it is you're trying to accomplish," the rapper explained. 

The rapper echoed similar comments back in 2010 when Nina interviewed him for Redbook. When asked if he would reward his kids for getting straight As in school, LL Cool J replied: "I expect you to get all As. Why would I get you a present?" Further shutting down the idea, the "I Need Love" rapper compared his comparisons between his and his kids' childhood. "I think it's obvious we grew up in different neighborhoods," he said before quipping he did not mind getting his kids ice cream for their good grades. 

Beyond LL Cool J and Simone Smith's decision to give their kids a normal life, the couple also made sure to instill good values in their brood. "I think my husband and I have always encouraged our children to be whoever they want. They can do whatever they want to make the world better. I tell them that they are not only beautiful, but they're also smart," Simone gushed to BET in 2023.