Kimora Lee Simmons addresses 21-year-old daughter’s brief romance with Vittorio Assaf, 65

Model Aoki Lee Simmons, 21, was pictured kissing Italian restaurateur Vittorio Assaf, 65, on vacation in St Barts

Meredith Clark
New York
Friday 10 May 2024 16:58 BST
Related: Aoki Lee Simmons, 21, and new boyfriend Vittorio Assaf, 65, pack on the PDA as they wrap up St. Barts vacation

Kimora Lee Simmons has broken her silence over her daughter Aoki Lee Simmons’ brief relationship with Vittorio Assaf.

The fashion designer, 49, spoke to TMZ about her 21-year-old daughter’s romance with the 65-year-old restaurateur. Simmons, who shares daughter Aoki and Ming Lee with ex husband Russell Simmons, told the outlet that she felt a “little embarrassed” when she saw photos of them kissing in April.

“She’s a young pretty girl,” the 49-year-old model said, before referring to the Serafina Restaurant Group founder as a “toad”.

“We don’t think that the toads that we may kiss is going to be broadcast,” Simmons continued, adding: “There’s definitely an age dynamic there.”

Although the mother of five noted that she felt “a little bit embarrassed” by her daughter’s PDA with Assaf, she maintained that “it is what it is” and expressed: “Mama’s got your back.”

The Harvard University graduate recently sparked romance rumours with the Italian businessman when they were photographed kissing on the Caribbean island of St Barts on 2 April. Aoki was seen wearing an olive green tribal-print bikini top and matching bikini bottoms, as Assaf snapped pictures of her on his phone. While the pair didn’t publicly address the relationship speculation at the time, the model later shared a cryptic post on her Instagram Story seemingly in response to the PDA photos.

“Err, well now I know why folks were calling me,” she wrote on 5 April after the photos went viral.

However, it was reported just one week after their St Barts trip that Aoki and Assaf had called it quits. “Not only is it ‘over’, it was never a thing,” a source told People on 9 April. “Aoki is learning to navigate her private life in a public sphere. And that can be difficult. However, Kimora was concerned to see her daughter in that kind of relationship due to what she herself went through.”

Aoki is the youngest daughter of Kimora Lee Simmons and Russell Simmons. She began modelling for her mother’s fashion label Baby Phat, before graduating from Harvard University when she was just 20 years old.

In addition to the model – who’s worked with major fashion brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, and Dolce and Gabbana – the former couple also share daughter Ming Lee, 24.

Meanwhile, Assaf is the founder of Serafina, a popular chain of Italian restaurants in New York City. He was previously married to model Charlotte Bonstrom before their split in 2021. They share two children together: son Vittorio, 21, and daughter Valentina, 17.

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