Meet ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star LL Cool J’s Family

by Suzanne Halliburton
Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

On NCIS: Los Angeles, LL Cool J’s character is a widower with two grown children. In real life, the actor/hip-hop star is a happily-married father and granddad.

You know Sam Hanna, the former Navy SEAL turned NCIS: Los Angeles special agent. He’s as adept at investigating cases at home and abroad.

But in LL Cool J’s non-fiction world, where he’s known as James Todd Smith, he’s been with Simone, his wife, since the mid-1980s. They met back home in Queens, N.Y. and dated for eight years before they were married in 1995.

The NCIS: Los Angeles star said he met Simone over Easter weekend in 1987. He was 19 when he had the chance encounter. During an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, LL Cool J said he was driving through the neighborhood in his mother’s car. He stopped to say hello to a friend. And that friend asked him if he wanted to meet his cousin.

The two have four children and only one is interested in the entertainment business. Their son, Najee, is the oldest. He’s a professional photographer. Oldest daughter Italia is a real estate agent. She also has two children. Samaria owns her own fashion label and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Nina, the youngest, is an R&B singer.

“After my experiences coming up, I’ve been a little uncomfortable with really putting a lot of pressure on my kids,” the NCIS: Los Angeles star told Oprah Winfrey.

“But I am a stickler for excellence and I’m not going to spoil you. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with helping your kids getting into position and stuff like that. But I want my kids to deserve and earn it, too, because this is a real-world, they’re real people and I’m a blue-collar guy at the end of the day. And I want them to understand that.”

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star Helped His Wife Sell Jewelry on HSN

Simone, besides raising her kids, also is a savvy businesswoman. Back in 2011, she established her own jewelry line. And LL Cool J even pulled double duty to help out his wife. He’d be on set for NCIS: Los Angeles. Then he’d appear on HSN to help Simone sell her jewelry. The genesis for the jewelry line was from Simone’s battle in 2004 with bone cancer. She had surgery on her right leg to replace part of her fibula. And the surgery tweaked the look of a lollipop leg tattoo. The signature piece of her jewelry line is a lollipop necklace.

Her business empire has expanded in the past decade. In 2018, she partnered with Mary J Blige for a jewelry line called Sister Love. She also launched a vegan nail polish line called SIS Luxe Lacquer.

NCIS: Los Angeles returns Sunday night with a new episode. And you can also check out HBO Max for coverage of LL Cool J’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The induction was on Oct. 30. And Simone posted several photos of the power couple on her Instagram page.