Wednesday, April 05, 2006

‘The Odd Couple’

I don’t really understand why anybody would find it at all surprising that Kimora Lee and Russell Simmons have split. Russell, 48, and Kimora, 30, have been married since 1998 (they met in 1992 during New York Fashion Week), and have apparently been “separated for some time” though they continued to live under the same roof. (Of course, when your roof is over a ‘gazillion’ square foot mansion, it’s kind of easy to be ‘separated’).

Though they have constantly appeared together for charities and social events, have worked together as business partners, and seemed to have been a happy couple with two adorable daughters and a superficially enviable lifestyle, it has also been well documented that the two have different philosophies and different ways to view the world- especially when it comes to the material side of things. That Kimora Lee is the original ‘Material Girl’ is undeniable and her shopping sprees and spending habits are the stuff of legends and folklore. On the other hand, notwithstanding his reputation as a “ladies man”, Russell is known to be more grounded, far more down to earth and homey, and is almost always photographed out and about in street friendly baseball caps and athletic gear.

As reported in WWD, “Despite Split, Simmonses Say Business as Usual”, April 3rd, “from the beginning, Russell and Kimora had their differences”, and according to www.fashionwatch.com/fashionnews, “most people just wondered why it took so long”. The pair appeared to be living separate lives for a very longtime”. But for me, the “Aha” moment when I just knew there was probably trouble brewing in paradise, and the writing was on the wall that this was not a marriage made in heaven, came on the evening of Friday, January 23, 2004, when I watched the 10 pm ABC News program hosted by John Stossel. Included was a segment entitled, “Lies, Myths and Downright Stupidity: John Stossel’s List of Popularly Reported Misconceptions”.

Myth #7 was “Money Can Buy Happiness” and two of the guests who were on board to set the record straight were none other than rapper Reverend Run and his brother hip hop promoter Russell Simmons. This struck me as particularly funny since his wife is known as the ‘reigning Queen of Conspicuous Consumption’ whose core happiness does not come from deep within her soul but from deep within the ‘sole’ of her countless Manolo Blahniks, or at the very least, from within the deep reaches of her huge walk in closets). But Russell knows better and as he admitted to John Stossel, “If I know 15 billionaires, I know 13 unhappy people.” Suffice it to say, the two happy ones he’s referring to are NOT Russell and Kimora Lee.

- Marilyn Kirschner

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