The family feud started in June 2023 after Ming Lee posted a tribute for her mom, Kimora Lee Simmons, on Father’s Day, subtly shading her father. (Kimora and Russell were married from 1998 to 2009 and welcomed Ming Lee and Aoki Lee in 2000 and 2002, respectively.)
Following the diss, Russell took to Instagram to share a cryptic quote implying that Kimora was the reason for his strained relationship with his two daughters.
“Stop telling fathers they should have fought harder to see their children and start asking mothers why he had to fight at all,” the message read.
The next day, Aoki Lee responded to the Def Jam founder’s claims by releasing a series of heated text messages and video chats — which have since been deleted — with her dad.
“My father is not well, for years, he needs help and won’t accept that he refuses to acknowledge he is not himself,” she captioned the now-deleted video. “He has threatened and bullied my sister, my grandma, he has harassed my grandma in the middle of the night in poor health, [and sent] a man to my sister’s apartment at 2 a.m. to scare her. He lashes out at ANYONE who does not say, ‘Ooh Russell everything is fine.’ Well it’s not fine.”
Kimora, for her part, came to her daughters’ defense as Aoki Lee accused the entrepreneur of verbal abuse.
“Leave my kids alone,” she fired back via her Instagram Story. “This narrative of attacking the only caregiver, the only parent in the home with the kids, the mom AND the kids for one’s own shortcomings and embarrassments is dead. Dead. Dead.”
The Baby Phat founder continued to call out her ex-husband while subtly referring to his several sexual misconduct allegations that came to light in 2018. (Russell, for his part, has denied the claims.)
“The same abusive ish. This is how you manouver [sic] with the world and women all around you. Your threats and lies and intimidation manouvers [sic] and tactics are sad. Stop it please. Your own flesh and blood? Enough is enough.”
After being called out by his daughters and ex-wife, Russell took to Instagram to publicly apologize to Ming Lee and Aoki Lee.
“God is testing you a little bit, it’s OK, be strong,” he penned. “They are called growing pains … as you know, we grow through adversity and struggle … you read my books and heard me preach your whole childhood … reach back to old lessons and remember to remember ‘smile and breathe’ ❤️ ‘smile and breathe’ … you are the watchers of this world … so let go … be at ease … God is driving and he is working on you ❤️. DEEPLY sorry for being frustrated and yelling … but know this … there are no conditions … for sure I love you guys more than I love myself.”
Keep scrolling to see a breakdown of Russell’s drama with his daughters: