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Hip-hop couple Russell Simmons and Kimora split

Written by: Staff
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NEW YORK, Apr 1 (Reuters) Hip hop power couple Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons, a model and head of the Baby Phat fashion label, have separated after seven years of marriage, Russell Simmons' agent said.

''Kimora and I will remain committed parents and caring friends with great love and admiration for each other,'' Simmons, 48, said in a statement issued by his agent.

The statement said the couple, who have two daughters, had been separated for some time, although they had continued living under the same roof.

Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records, which produced many of the top names in hip hop, married Kimora Lee in 1998 after meeting her when she was modeling at New York Fashion Week.

The two are partners in various business ventures and Simmons -- whose empire ranges from music to fashion, yoga and beverages -- said they would still work together.

''We will ... continue to work side by side on a daily basis as partners in all of our businesses,'' he said.

Considered a hip-hop pioneer, he started Def Jam with Rick Rubin in Rubin's dorm room at New York University in 1984. Def Jam was the original home to some of the first mainstream rap stars: Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.

He sold Def Jam in 1999 for 0 million and it is now part of the Universal Music Group, part of French media conglomerate Vivendi Universal.

REUTERS SK RN0420

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