LL Cool J or “Ladies Love Cool James” is one of hip-hop’s longest-running successes

He signed to nascent hip-hop label Def Jam Records in 1984 and released his debut album, Radio, which was a major hit and earned him considerable praise. His second album, Bigger and Deffer, was also a major hit for its pop-rap crossover. 

This was just the start. The rapper achieved so much in his musical career and eventually turned to acting, appearing in movies like BAPS, Halloween H2O, and Any Given Sunday. And despite the fame and the notorious lifestyle of rappers, LL Cool J kept his personal life equally stable and prosperous. 

He has been happily married to Simone Smith since 1995, and they have four kids. Najee is their older son, and their three daughters are Italia Smith, 30, Samaria Leah Smith, 25, and Nina Simone Smith, 20. Out of all the kids, only Italia is married.

Here is a breakdown of Italia’s marriage and life. 

Italia Smith’s Marriage

On June 19, 2017, a day after father’s day, LL Cool J’s daughter, Italia, got married to her longtime boo, Lamar Cardinez, at the Sparkling Pointe Vineyards and Winery in Long Island. According to his LinkedIn, Cardinez is the Vice President at Blue Owl Capital. 

The event was a star-studded occasion and included the attendance of Grammy Award winners Mary J. Blige, Monica Brown, and actress Niecy Nash. 


A post shared by Niecy Nash (@niecynash1)

But before she walked down the aisle, her bridesmaid gave her a proper send-off. She and her bridal squad went to Miami for a fun-filled bachelor party that included yacht rides and pole dancing classes, which were all planned by her best friend, Tiffany Lighty. 

During the wedding, Italia donned a strapless Marie Antoinette-inspired lace ball gown, which sparkled in the gorgeous twinkling decor lights. For her reception, she changed into a pair of bedazzled sneaker wedges and a short tulle dress.

And to show a unified front, the entire Smith family was spotted with matching grillz. 

LL Cool J on His Daughter’s Marriage

A few weeks after the wedding, LL Cool J appeared for a red carpet event and was interviewed by Extra

The host asked him about the event. The rapper shared that he did not lose a daughter but gained a son over the summer, which was fun. He admitted that he was very emotional but tried his best not to show it and instead put that energy into giving his daughter the best wedding. 

Almost two years after the wedding, Italia and her husband welcomed a son, King James, in 2018 and a daughter in September 2020. LL Cool J, who became a grandfather, talked about his life as a father and new grandfather during his interview on Strahan, Sara, and Keke.

He shared that his grandkids called him “grand-man” and that if there was one parenting tip that his daughter could have picked up from him, it was that "anything was possible."

Italia and her husband recently celebrated their 4th anniversary and have been going strong still.